Shoe Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Shoe designers create patterns, choose materials and propose the overall look of footwear. Bachelors and masters programs in fashion design are the most commonly awarded degrees, but concentrations in shoe design or minors in accessory design are also typical.

How to Select a Shoe Design School

Students who would like to study shoe design can find relevant programs at colleges of art and design, fashion institutes and universities.

Consider the following when selecting a college or program:

  • Many programs offer elective courses or concentrations specific to shoe design and construction, others may offer an all-inclusive accessory design minor.
  • Colleges that offer accounting, product development, line building and management courses will help students interested in launching their own businesses after graduation.
  • Designers creating for a specific market, such as men, women or children's footwear, should seek schools with complimentary course offerings.
  • Choose programs that teach and utilize computer-aided design (CAD;) professional designers use this system in every aspect of shoe creation.
  • Hands-on experience is a crucial component to this specialization.
  • A college that provides internships and contacts with current business professionals can help entrepreneurial graduates make and distribute footwear.

Shoe Design Program Overviews

Associate's Degree in Fashion

A 2-year associate's degree program in fashion or accessories design may include coursework in shoe design. Relevant courses cover:

  • Materials
  • Sketching
  • Shoe pattern drafting
  • Computer-aided design
  • Footwear design and construction

These programs commonly lead to an Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion

Associate's degree credits may apply toward earning or serve as prerequisites for a bachelor's degree program in fashion design. Applicants may need to demonstrate proficiency in software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator or submit a portfolio. Qualifying students explore various areas of fashion and accessories design, such as:

  • Computer-aided design
  • Advanced footwear design
  • Portfolio development

Students typically graduate in four years. A senior project and internship may be required.

Ten Schools with Shoe Design Programs

College/University Institution Type
The New School 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Fashion Institute of Technology 4-year, Public
Woodbury University 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising 4-year, Private for-profit
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD) 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Kent State University 4-year, Public
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Pratt Institute 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Drexel University 4-year, Private not-for-profit

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