How to Become a Shoe Designer

Schools That Offer Courses in Shoe Design

Think you'd like to design shoes for a living? While there aren't a lot of colleges and universities that offer specific and comprehensive training in footwear design, there are some. Most of these schools also offer degrees and courses in other aspects of accessory and fashion design.

If you're looking for something a little less formal, you could try a weekend or short-term workshop devoted to the craft of shoemaking before committing to one of the longer programs listed below.

Istituto Europeo di Design

With locations in Italy and Spain, this institute offers several other fashion design courses. They offer a 3-month Continuing Study Programme in Footwear Design. Students learn about technical, industrial and patterning projects and at graduation are qualified to develop footwear collections for their own brand or other companies. They also offer a 9-month Master of Fashion Accessories Design course developing skills to be part of a design team for jewelry, handbags, and footwear. Other courses and offerings may be posted. Search for footwear to see what is available. However, instruction for these courses will be in Spanish or Italian rather than English.
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The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

With several locations in California, The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising offers advanced study in Footwear Design as part of its Fashion Design program. FIDM's Footwear Design program is small and extremely focused. You won't be learning about how to make handbags or other accessories, but you will be taught every aspect of the footwear industry during the course of this one year program.
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Located in Florence, Italy, Polimoda offers three levels of instruction in footwear design, with courses taught in English. The introductory course is a  1-month Fashion Shoes & Bags course available seasonally, which they say is an excellent initial stage of preparation for the fashion and design business. Students may prefer to dive into the 3-year intensive Leather Technology - Design Footwear and Accessories program with a three-month internship for European students. Students learn all aspects of the footwear industry, including shoe history and popular shoemaking software. Enrollment is offered to high school graduates, and class size is limited to 25 students. Another offering is a 9-month master’s degree in Shoe & Bag Collection Design.
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London College of Fashion

The London College of Fashion offers several long and short courses in footwear design and shoemaking, including an intensive six-week program called "Footwear Summer School." They also have online short courses, including in footwear fashion drawing and illustration.
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De Montfort University

Located in Leicester, England, De Monfort University is the only Single Honors Footwear Design course in the UK and offers work placement opportunities for students.
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The Fashion Institute of Technology

Occupying an entire city block, FIT is located in Manhattan, New York and offers one and two-year associates degrees, as well as a bachelor's degree in Accessories Design. In addition to learning shoe design and making skills, students also learn about belts, handbags, and hats as part of these degree programs. They also have a course in Performance Athletic Footwear.
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