Shoe Design Courses and Classes Overview

Shoe design courses cover topics ranging from sketching and patternmaking to sewing. These fashion-related courses are normally completed as part of a full certificate or degree program.

Essential Information

Students taking shoe design courses may be enrolled in associate, bachelor's or master's degree programs or certificate programs. These courses are most often part of accessory design or fashion programs and may be core courses or electives, depending on the focus of the degree or certificate program. Many of these programs prepare students to not only design shoes but also design handbags, belts and clothing. Such coursework is hands-on and involves creating various fashion projects. An internship or final product design project may be required for graduation.

Overview of Shoe Design

Sample shoe design courses taken in a certificate or degree program are described in detail below.

Footwear Design

Aspiring shoe designers begin their studies with this required course. This class teaches students how shoe styles and trends have evolved, including those found in both historic and contemporary periods. Coursework includes an introduction to basic sketching, patternmaking and shoe construction. It also prepares students for the hands-on design work required in subsequent classes.


In this intermediate course, footwear designers learn how to commit their shoe design ideas to paper. In order to create useful sketches, students learn how to draw proper proportions and acquire skills in technical drawing and rendering. Students may also be introduced to computer-aided design applications.


Using their design and sketching skills, students learn how to translate those 2-dimensional images to 3-dimensional finished shoes. In accordance with industry standards, students construct sketch-based patterns. Through hands-on studio work, they also have the opportunity to develop computer-aided and manual drafting skills.


Students in this class learn to machine sew samples based on sketches and patterns. With hands-on lab opportunities to use industrial sewing machines, students gain practice with different kinds of footwear materials and develop shoe construction skills. Students often work on shoe assembly projects based on their own sketches.

Shoe Design Business

Shoe design students typically take a business course late in their academic program. Topics include general product development and industry workflow. Students also learn sales and marketing as they relate to shoe design.

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