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Design

Footwear designer

Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for men's, women's and children's footwear.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; attending events or appointments

0.5%
Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Footwear designer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You could create exclusive 'one off' haute couture designs or ready-to-wear, high street pieces. You will typically:

  • research design ideas, materials and fashion trends
  • use computer aided design (CAD) and traditional hand-drawing techniques
  • create your own original designs or adapt existing ones
  • oversee the development of product samples and prototypes
  • present your ideas to the design team
  • be aware of costs and timescales for production
  • develop technical specifications to help the manufacturer produce your design
  • check the quality of finished products and suggest design changes when there are problems

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, from home or in a workshop.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You could do a degree or postgraduate qualification in footwear design, or a fashion design qualification that includes footwear.

You should look for courses that teach both the design and technical skills needed by the industry.

The British Fashion Council is a good place to start looking for courses.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a fashion and textiles product technologist higher apprenticeship.

This typically takes 22 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start as a design assistant in a studio and learn on the job. With further training, you could begin to produce your own designs.

More information

Career tips

It's very important to put together a portfolio of work that you can take to interviews. This should include designs, technical drawings and mood boards to show your creative talents.

Further information

You can find more details on careers in footwear design and production from UKFT Futures.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience within a company, you could progress to senior designer, design director or head of department.

You could also become a freelance designer, employed by companies to work on specific projects, or become self-employed and launch your own collection.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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