July 25, 2014

Effective approach to design successful footwear collection

Creating footwear collection is not an easy task as collection must have one common theme to unify it. To make this process easier, designers use one or more elements that are repeated in every model in the collection. 

It makes not only designer work easier but actually and more important it works better for costumes as well.
Repeated element makes it easy for them to focus on your line of products as they have a common theme. 

How to use design element in your footwear collection

Bad example in shoe designing
It’s something that in my opinion you shouldn’t do, and it’s copy and pastes design system. It’s used mostly in mass production when they have one element and it’s simply attached to their every model, wherever they find it appropriate (or not). Something like a button, a bow, buckle etc.


Creative footwear design approach

It’s always better to use creative approach using the element. It’s not that obvious to the customer and it gives you as a designer wide range of possibilities. Let me explain what I mean.


1. Design Element through the pattern

My favorite and most creative way. Here you will adjust the element that you want to create for the specific characteristics of this pattern model. For example:

Design element= butterfly

Footwear model= derby shoes

We will create quarters of derby shoes in a shape of butterfly wings. It will not change the main construction of derby shoes but will implement our element in this footwear model. 

2. Using design element details

Here you concentrate on one detail from the entire design element that will emphasize the same meaning as the element itself. It can be the texture or tracery of the same butterfly from our example. It expands your design options beyond your primary element.  

3. Color separation

Most simple and basic way to use element is if you will use different colors.

4. Different materials

If you will use a different combination of materials, you can make your shoes look different and it will help your element to stand out, even if it is made from the same color. If you want to get full understanding about all materials your can use in making you shoes, you must read this article: “How to make shoes-Materials”. Think what a wonderful combination it will be to use fabric and glossy leather or leather and transparent net.




Using same elements to create your footwear collection is not a secret and you must use it if don’t want to spend “years” to create your collection. Working with the main element in your collection will not limit you, but will make you concentrate on the idea in your design, helping you to maximize your creative potential.

If you want to learn more about shoemaking process, to learn about entire process of making shoes, you are welcome to read this articel:“How to make shoes”.


Was this post useful for you or you want to ask a question? I want to know what you think so write it in the comment below.  


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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Sveta,

    This is so helpful and express the fact that we need to think out of the box when we call ourself a designer. I am grateful for this once again.

  2. Sveta, yes a very insightful post. I have always had this basic type plan for my shoe line . I have had this idea, plan from the get go. I think I like design part more than making, although I haven’t really got in to the actual making yet like I would like to. I can even inter change my design to different styles such as both a flat and heel shoe.its just a matter of adding, or subtracting some elements to change the look of the shoe. This is one area of my shoe line that I feel truly confident in.

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