How to Draw Shoes

How to Draw Shoe Designs

You can draw shoes
How to draw shoes -how to design shoes for Nike

To be a shoe designer for Nike or any other shoes company you must know how to draw shoes!  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, sneaker 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 and your pattern maker some future headaches.

Learn how to design shoes!

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.

The basic tools to help speed up your shoe drawing work how to draw shoes How to design shoes
The basic tools to help speed up your shoe drawing work

How to design sneakers

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.

How to sketch shoes

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.

DIY you can draw shoes How To Make SneakersDo you want to learn how to design shoes of Nike?  Do you want to design fashion shoes or tennis shoes?
You can learn more shoe drawing tips and techniques in our book How Shoes are Made

learn how to make shoes:

Footwear design book Free PFD Shoe Design Book Download जूते कैसे बनते हैंDo 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!  This is the perfect Shoe design a handbook for footwear designers.  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. This book teaches shoe making for beginners and students. 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, pattern making and much more!  A must-read for young shoe designers, sneakerheads, or any footwear fanatic! Secure payments Visa, MasterCard & PayPal. Over 3500 copies sold! Read in over 60 countries!
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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!

Shoemaking Books / Go to Shoemaking Tools

E-Book edition 220 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

E-Book edition 195 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

E-Book edition 170 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

Print Edition, 250 Pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.

Print edition 330 color photos,  28 Chapters, 195 Pages order today!

Print Edition, 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.

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Shoe Designers

Two softcover books, paper pattern and Blue Print. Free downloads included!

Two PFD E-books, paper pattern and Blue Print. Download Now!

The triple download of all three Sneaker Factory publications.

Start-up your Own Shoe Company

E-Book edition 170 pages. Profit margin and Size run calculators. Download Now!

A must have for anyone serious about launching a new footwear company!

A must have for anyone serious about launching a new footwear company!