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Footwear Product Developer

Handle the practical side of shoe design to create footwear that fits.

What does a Footwear Product Developer do?

A Footwear Product Developer focuses on the practical side of designing shoes. A new shoe style begins with a spark of an idea and a two-dimensional sketch, and your job as a Footwear Product Developer is to get the shoes to the point where people are actually buying and wearing them.

Whether your goal as a Footwear Product Developer is making hiking boots or wingtips, house slippers or stilettos, you’ll need to know what consumers want from the product. As you work with Shoe Designers to develop product lines, you’ll be the business-minded one: Your market research will tell you whether to run with the autumn-leaf-colored corduroy idea or the plaid wool kilt-inspired theme for your next line of sneakers.

Next, you move on to detailing every aspect of the shoe so that the manufacturers know what to do. You’ll turn the initial drawings into three-dimensional prototypes, and choose the actual materials to be used on the laces, soles, tongue, and eyelets of each shoe. You’ll research the costs of all of these parts, and have materials tested in a lab to ensure they’ll hold up in real life.

Then, in order to make sales, you’ll need much more than the shoes themselves. You have to think about things like packaging, advertising, and pricing. It’s a complex process, and while you don’t have to do all of the work yourself, you’ll make sure it all gets done on time. By the end of each project, you’ll be able to say you turned an abstract concept into something that walks around on the streets.