Is my shoe design ready for production?

Is my shoe design ready for production?

The answer is “NO!”  Your shoe design is NOT ready for production. Once you have a beautiful shoe design on paper it’s time to think about the details needed to start the DEVELOPMENT process for your shoe.

Shoe Design vs Shoe Development

Shoe development is the transformation of your drawings into a real specification the factory will use to make your design. There are many questions you need to answer to complete your design. These are the extra details that don’t show in a shoe design drawing, but will define the real character of your shoe.  The shoe design details will determine the price of your your shoe. The same design can be made for $79.00 retail or $159.00 retail depending on the material specifications. The material questions would generally be asked before the shoes are designed, and often they are answered by the (PLM) product line manager not the designer.

Shoe Design Questions

1.  Do I want my shoe design to be Sleek or Puffy?
The thickness of the collar foam and tongue foam can be 10mm, 30mm, or more. The padding for your shoe can be zero for a super sleek look.
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2.  Do I want my shoe to be stiff, crisp, and refined or designed to be soft, flexible, and casual? The shoe can be board lasted for a firm feel or Strobel lasted for flexibility.  Firm midsole 55˚ EVA foam or cushy soft 35˚foam? The upper reinforcement can be thin and soft or firm and thick.  The heel counter and toe counters can be firm 2mm molded Syrlin, softer non-woven, or nothing.
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3. Do I want my shoe to break-in and show wear? Plastic coated action leather will keep you sneakers white or black forever, a waxy pull up leather will show creases and scuffs.  Smooth leather or textured leather?   Washed canvas or waxed?  Natural or synthetic looking materials?

4. Do I want my shoe to be ultra light? The outsole can be an all EVA foam with no rubber but at the cost of durability.

5. Is my shoe a functional sporting shoe or a fashion shoe? These are built differently!
A casual shoe may lack support and fit loosely while a performance shoe must fit well and be supportive.

6. How much do I want this shoe to cost? Suede leather or action leather (fake full grain) cost US$1.20 per square foot, nu-buck leather can cost $3.00 per sq/ft, and fancy full grain leather costs $4.00 to $10.00 per sq/ft. or more depending on grade, thickness, and quality.

7.  Do I want my shoe to have fabric lining inside or leather?  Smooth Lycra or terry cloth for a sporty gripping feel?

8.  Depending on the cost of the shoe, I need to consider the footbed type. Die cut EVA, or PU foam?  Lightweight molded EVA footbeds are heavier but very plush. There are many options for footbed designs, single layer to triple density with gel or die cut EVA with a latex wedge.  Prices range from US$.50 for a simple EVA die cut to over $4.00 for a molded PU footbed with plastic inserts.

If you can answer these questions in detail your design can really come to life!

Shoe Material Design Guide

Shoe Material Design Guide
Shoe Material Design Guide

We have written an entire book dedicated to footwear materials. Each chapter covers a specific shoe material type. You will learn how each material is made, the options available, and how to specify the material correctly. We have information on shoe leather, textiles, synthetics, shoelaces, glue, reinforcements, hardware, logos, midsoles, outsoles, and more!

We have included annotated cross sections of over 30 different shoe types. You can see exactly how each material is used inside real production shoes. Look inside basketball shoes, running shoes, track spikes, hiking boots, work boots, high heels, cowboy boots and many more!  Check it out!

Learn more about making 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!
Ready for Download Now! Edición española See Preview Video On YouTube

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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

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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!