Best Shoe Designing Colleges In The USA
Shoes were invented to only protect feet. Our distant ancestors living in cold regions wore shoes made of animal hide that also covered the calves. And those living in warmer areas wrapped palm leaves below their feet. Just like most things, shoe design has come a long way since then. We wear formal shoes or oxfords to formal events, boots or stilettos to less formal occasions, trainers for exercise, and pumps or sneakers to casual gatherings. So, we have a shoe for every occasion.
Although footwear designers are in high demand, it is difficult to break into the industry without formal education. That’s why you, as an aspiring shoe designer, should enroll in a formal shoe design program. Very few colleges or universities offer programs that are out-and-out shoe designing. You can consider apparel design or fashion design programs that cover shoe design in depth.
The best shoe designing colleges in the USA are:
- The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
The Footwear Design program at FIDM is part of the Fashion Design program. You will learn all you need to know about the footwear industry, everything from the design and fabrication of footwear to the business strategy, in the one year you invest in the program. You will learn to integrate creativity with technical skills to create shoe collections that will become a trend in domestic and global markets. You can comfortably grasp the vast knowledge the program instructors share with you. You also get the opportunity to learn from and network with geniuses from leading fashion brands such as Just Fab, Sam Edelman, Seychelles, Skechers, Sbicca, Steve Madden, and TOMS. Many graduates have been hired by these companies while others have gone on to launch their own footwear collections.
- Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
PNCA partnered with PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy to start its first program focused on shoe-making called Design Intensive. You can pursue one of the three tracks of this intensive program: Color & Material Design, Footwear Design, and Functional Apparel & Accessory Design. You will learn the complete design process right from conceptualization to development in the footwear design track. So, you will gain in-depth knowledge about the entire shoe designing process through the practical curriculum. Experts from some of the best footwear brands will be part of the process to guide and mentor you as you set on your journey to create extraordinary shoe designs. You’ll be excited to know that PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards is one of these experts!
- Woodbury University
Woodbury University is one of the universities in this list that does not offer a program solely dedicated to shoe designing. But you’ll learn a lot about shoe designing by pursuing its fashion design program. As a part of this program, you get to explore niche sections of the apparel industry that includes denim, shoes, lingerie, and women’s hats. Woodbury University has strong connections with several top-class brands such as BCBG, Kenneth Cole, Komarov, and Max Mara. Thanks to these associations, you may intern at some of the most prestigious fashion brands in the US. Woodbury students have designed outfits for members of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. The university has built many such connections with nearby businesses, making it convenient for students to find employment. That alone makes Woodburn University an excellent choice for an aspiring shoe design professional. This adds further to the reputation of the university’s fashion design program.
- The Fashion Institute of Technology
FIT offers a Bachelor’s program in Accessories Design and Associates programs that take a year or two to complete. Although these programs do not focus on shoe design, you can learn a great deal about it while also getting yourself a degree. As part of the program, you get to visit design studios and production facilities in one of the world’s major fashion destination hubs, New York City. You may get to intern at top brands that include Brown Show, Kenneth Cole, and Nine West. You also get to work on group projects and to take part in competitions. Its certificate program in Performance Athletic Footwear is only about shoe designing, albeit of the sports kind. You’ll be able to learn in great detail about the four essential components of shoe design, namely, ergonomics, materials, sketching, and drafting.