How to Draw Shoe Designs
There is no right way or wrong way to draw shoe designs. Every shoe designer will have a different way to put the shoe design down on paper. The goal of a shoe drawing is to communicate your idea for how the shoe will look or work. As a shoe designer, your drawings can fulfill different purposes. Is it a styling drawing for a high fashion shoe? This drawing would be all about the colors and material with little attention to the exact proportion or construction details.
If you are working on a high-tech running shoe, outdoor shoe, or skate shoe, your drawing will need to be more accurate to describe the technical details. An accurate, well-proportioned shoe drawing, can save you some future headaches.
So, how to get started drawing shoe designs? We are in the modern computer age but even today most shoe designers will start with a pen and pencil. I have found a small stack of thin 8.5″ by 11″ paper is a great place to start. Thin paper, so you can see your underlay and a small metal clip to hold the sheets together as you sketch. Whatever pencil you like, I like to use both wooden and mechanical depending on what I’m doing. I will often start with the mechanical pencil to draw lighter lines, then darken in the shoe design with the fat, wooden pencil, once I’m more confident with the design.
You may also want a set of French curves to make flowing smooth lines, and a circle or oval template for other details such as eyelets or logos. You can make a template of your company’s logo to speed up sketching.
Setting aside the fashion shoe drawing style, I want to show you how to draw a more technical shoe. First, you need to start with a well-proportioned side profile. Go online, grab a magazine or catalog, measure or eyeball a shoe you have on hand. Use your phone camera or whatever camera you have to get a good side profile. Many times I’ve seen a young designer show a great looking, dynamic drawing, that looks nothing like a real shoe. How sad they are when the samples come back and they look nothing like that fantastic drawing.
I take my side profile and clip it into my drawing pad under the first page then go to work. At this point, go fast, break the design down into parts if it helps you: toe cap, side panel, eyestay, heel counter. Each page should take just 5 minutes. I will darken in the parts I like, then pull a page from the bottom of the stack and draw in new ideas for the parts I do not like. In an hour you can make 10 pages, lay them out, then recombine the elements you like again.
From here I will make one drawing, darken the lines, then take a photo or scan it to pull the lines into Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is the drawing program of choice. Once you have the drawing converted into a live vector format it’s easy to adjust lines, pull, bend, and tweak outsole lines.
Add colors, textures, and logo details to make your shoes come to life.
You can learn more shoe drawing tips and techniques in our book How Shoes are Made
Learn more about making shoes:Do you want to learn how big brands make shoes? Now you can! How Shoes are Made will show you how modern shoes come to life! More than just a tour through a sneaker factory and more than your average shoe making book! From drawing shoe designs to sample development and footwear manufacturing, you will learn how it is all done. Written by veteran shoemaking pros, How Shoes are Made will give you a look inside the REAL world of shoe design, development, and mass production. 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings. 26 chapters explaining shoe design, footwear pattern making, sample development, footwear materials selection, upper stitching, outsole and tooling design, shoe lasts, shoe costing, quality inspections, starting you own shoe brand, and much more! A must read for young shoe designers, sneaker heads, or any footwear fanatic! Over 2500 copies sold! Read in 60 Countries! See Preview Video On YouTube
Print Edition Now Available!
Table of Contents:The Design Process, Shoe Development, Shoe Patterns, Shoe Specifications, Outsole Tooling, Development Process, Pre-Production, Material Preparation, Stitching Operations, Rubber Pressing, EVA Forming, The Assembly Line, The Shoe Last, Footwear Costing, Importing Shoes, Shoe Logo Design, Leather for Shoes, Textiles for Shoes ,Synthetics for Shoes, Foam for Shoes, Know Your Footbeds, Material Suppliers, Shoe Designers Tools, Jobs in the Shoe Trade ,Quality Control, Starting a Shoe Company, Life at a Shoe Factory, Shoe Making Dictionary
If you want to learn more, check out our new books.
Print Editions and Instant Downloads Available Now!
E-Book edition 220 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!
E-Book edition 170 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!
Now enjoy the double download of two Sneaker Factory books.
Print Edition, 250 Pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.
Print Edition, 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.
A must have for anyone serious about launching a new footwear company!
E-Book edition 170 pages. Profit margin and Size run calculators. Download Now!
Download Edition + Paper Pattern + Blue Prints and Spec sheets
Start-up Pack is all you need to get your own shoe business started.
Print Edition + Paper Pattern + Blue Prints and Spec sheets
A complete technical specification, drawings, blueprint, pattern and spec.
Computer cut shoe pattern for a classic jogger. Factory Blue Print included.
Entire pattern size run for the Arris classic trainer, Men’s US 7-13 (Euro 39-47)
24 inch tape specifically designed for measuring shoe lasts.
Ready to Print! Men's size 9 last. The .STL file can be scaled in X, Y and Z.
Great for checking leathers and synthetic materials. Features adjustable dial.