footwear concept design process

I get a lot of emails about interest in the footwear design process. Most commonly, it is requests to share the sketches, drawings and concept design process. Here are a few pages from my portfolio that cover this process. These sketches help illustrate the concept design process from inspiration to idea exploration to technical design and specification.

These examples are from my design of the hummel 9.1, from the 2005 Indoor Collection.

More pics after the Read More link below.



The first step of the concept design process is inspiration and general design direction. In this case, a lot of inspiration came from the unique Scandinavian aspect of the hummel brand. Looking at the combination of Scandinavian modernism, technology and design found in places like Volvo car design, Stelton tableware, and Arne Jacobsen furniture, a clean, refined aesthetic was developed with formal cues between organic and geometric.

Initially, concept design explored a wide variety of solutions, looking at branding, overall pattern resolution and functional characteristics and features.

Once a general aesthetic direction was developed, further exploration was done in functional and feature-based systems. Working with professional players and teams, areas of focus in cushioning, support and durability were identified.

Here, technical specifications, construction and details are worked out, as well as material and colorway options. These clearly labelled drawings help communicate design intent to the factory for development of samples.

Outsole technical design and the final product.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you so much for posting this. It's always so interesting to see the process of how things are made. Particularly if they involve amazing sketches by someone obviously talented and really good at what they do.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are some really great images. I am trying to learn more about footwear design, development and manufacturing. Is there any way that I could get larger images to be able to read the call outs on your technical drawings? I feel like that could provide useful information.

Thanks and keep up the awesome work! You are one of the few sources on footwear design that I have found.


2:16 PM  
Blogger The Directive Collective said...

you can download a PDF of my portfolio at which includes the pages above in larger sized and resolution.

as well, i do actually plan on making a First Pullover book containing much of the process, production and development. Just need to find some free time to get to it!


3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, i am so luck that i found this site today, because i have been very interested in designing footwares. also, i want to ask you that what did you have to study to get into this career, is it indutrial design? thanks

2:33 AM  
Blogger Ann W. said...

Great site... it's great what you, I would love to see more of your designs. I've got a blog in spanish about fashion, and if you don't mind i might be linking back to you and showing off some of your designs (of course, saying you're the author).
Keep up the good work...

10:33 AM  
Blogger The Directive Collective said...

no prob! feel free, and if you need any more info, lemme know.


9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome work, Thanks for the insight. I am a product design student in my final year who is currently doing my major project on
urban footwear from a sustainable angle,great to see ones concepts from the industry.I have a question what method do you guys use for development stage i.e sketch models/mock-ups?


4:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really helpful and practical.
I am interested in designing and manufacturing shoes and I was wondering what studies you have undertaken?

also has the "First Pullover book" you were talking about been published?

3:11 AM  
Blogger The Directive Collective said...

my background in Industrial Design, as are many footwear designers, especially in athletic footwear.


5:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So how does one go from the drawing to the actual production of the shoe?

9:59 AM  
Blogger Lola B said...

Hello, my name is Meeka, and I love your work. I am an aspiring shoe designer looking for a technical designer to allow me to bring my designs to sample stage. Please HELP! Thanks

2:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great resource for anyone interested in shoe design. Thank You so much for sharing this with the world.
Im trying to figure out how to make some models I designed. Im actualy a young fashion designer for female clothing, no knowlege what so ever in the production of the shoes. Mainly its about designing wierd soles.... can you help point me what I need to know?

8:37 PM  
Blogger Richard Kuchinsky said...

Not quite sure what you are looking for. There are a lot of other posts here that cover outsoles and other areas. I don't have any resources for fashion (women's) footwear.


6:06 PM  

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