Introduction to Footwear Design 2

This is the final product that we created after 6 days. Ignore the ugly masking tapes, this is not even the real shoe, it's just a sample prototype!

This is the final product that we created after 6 days. Ignore the ugly masking tapes, this is not even the real shoe, it's just a sample prototype!

For the last 6 days, we have been on course to educate ourselves more about footwear and how to design and make them. This is a course conducted by Bronx Design and Creative Centre at Tai Seng Road.  I must say that designing footwear is definitely more challenging than we thought. I mean, isn't shoes just shoes? What's the great deal? 

After the first day, our mind was literally blown away by the amount of effort and detail that goes into every single pair of shoe. For example, for an average pair of shoe, the number of unique processes required to manufacture it is about 200. Can you imagine? 200 different actions required just to produce a single pair of shoe. And most of the time, these 200 actions are done by easily more than 50 people in a production line. The number of things that can go wrong in these 200 steps is a lot. 

This is not even taking into account the design process yet, which is where it all begins. The drawings, the materials sourcing, the suitable combination of materials, what material to use for the external surface (also known as the Shoe Upper) and the internal surface (also known as the Shoe Lining) etc.. You get the idea. And footwear design is slightly different from fashion apparels, because slight discrepancy in design or production can actually cause pain and discomfort because it's something we put a lot of our skin and weight on every day. So, we have new found deep respect for all footwear designers out there after attending this course. 

Here are some pictures we've taken to document the whole process of footwear design and production.

The Making Process

Every piece of footwear first comes from a Shoe Last that looks like this. It's usually made of wood or plastic. 

Every piece of footwear first comes from a Shoe Last that looks like this. It's usually made of wood or plastic. 

From the Last, we will stick masking tape on it and cut out the shape on a piece of cardboard (the further piece of the right). Then we start drawing our designs on that cardboard, and cut them into individual pieces to be joined later.

From the Last, we will stick masking tape on it and cut out the shape on a piece of cardboard (the further piece of the right). Then we start drawing our designs on that cardboard, and cut them into individual pieces to be joined later.

Cutting out the pattern on a piece of mesh material that makes up the inner lining of the shoe.

Cutting out the pattern on a piece of mesh material that makes up the inner lining of the shoe.

After the materials are cut, the next step is to last them (stretch and secure) onto the Shoe Last. 

After the materials are cut, the next step is to last them (stretch and secure) onto the Shoe Last. 

After that, the bottom outsole is attached to it to make up the complete prototype. 

After that, the bottom outsole is attached to it to make up the complete prototype. 

Well, all that is just the manual process. It is what shoe craftsmen do if you hire them and make a custom hand-made shoe, which will probably take about 2 days. Most footwear these days are all made by machines. Here are some the photos of the machines that are used. 

After this course, we are confident in providing you recommendations on the specific footwear you should be wearing for your particular use, purpose and budget. If you are interested to do custom-made footwear, you can also give us a call so we can understand what you are looking for. We will be working closely with Bronx and their designers so as to deliver a pair of shoes that is unique just for you. And these will be made in Singapore!

If you are interested to sign up for this course, feel free to contact Bronx Design Centre.

Feel free to leave your comments or questions below, we'll be happy to answer them!