Design

Footwear designer

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

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 variable

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

2%
Future employment

There will be 2% more Footwear designer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • creating 'one off' designs (haute couture)
  • basing your designs on a theme for the coming season (ready-to-wear, high street)
  • using computer aided design (CAD) software, graphics packages and traditional hand-drawing techniques to create your designs
  • researching design ideas
  • following a brief
  • adapting existing designs
  • working closely with the design team
  • producing samples before agreeing the final design
  • sending technical instructions to the manufacturers to produce the final product

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 an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles, specialising in footwear.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced 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 get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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