Footwear Design and Development Certificate is a 13-week professional certificate comprised of 3 courses that provide students with a comprehensive overview of the footwear industry while developing the necessary skills that lead to successful product design. Industry partners and instructors with extensive experience in design, materials, and production of footwear will provide key elements from concept through marketing in creating functional and fashionable shoes for contemporary consumers.
Who should earn this certificate?
- Clothing designers, merchandisers, shoe designers, and accessory designers who want to expand their understanding of shoe design, marketing and production
- Students and job seekers who want to update their portfolio to include provocative design boards using cutting-edge tools, materials and color development.
Learn about all phases of footwear design and production from introduction to design processes, to biomechanics, best practices, and trends and market analytics all lead to a holistic understanding of how the industry works. Upon completion of the certificate, students with design experience will have adapted their skill set to include a unique area of product design. Students without design experience will acquire an important foundation of the major components of shoe design, production and marketing.
The curriculum is designed to provide both fashion design students and those with no design experience with the fundamentals of shoe design and development.
FASH912 Footwear Product Development
Instructor: Elizabeth Brock-Jones
You’ll learn how footwear goes from Brief to Box while thinking about the development process through multiple different lenses, including fit, function, profitability, sustainability, manufacturability, delivering products on time, and on design. Understanding manufacturing processes, production pattern making, material usage and regulations, factory placement, sustainability and product costing analysis is imperative in making creative design decisions. This course will introduce shoe designers to key factors that have a direct impact on the production and distribution of footwear products. In 4 short weeks, you’ll have a comprehensive view of footwear development and the ability to think critically about development-related issues and solutions, and some tangible takeaways to improve your career interview portfolio. No prerequisites, software, digital or design skills are required.
- April 2 - 26, 2024 (Spring 2)
Instructor: Mike Friton
Students will focus on developing a solid foundation of shoe design ability, including shoe history, vocabulary, biomechanics, sketching, brief creation, material selection, pattern-making techniques and construction systems. You will create a digital footwear collection that will be critiqued by industry professionals, which could be used to build your portfolio. Students must have a basic understanding of design processes.
- October 3 - November 6, 2023 (Fall 1)
- April 30 - June 4, 2024 (Summer 1)
FASH930 Footwear Materials, Color and Trend Analysis
Instructor: Anna Marie Smith
This six-week course will combine the need to balance footwear design criteria of form, function and performance with forecasting ability and analysis.
Appropriate material choices for uppers and soles must reflect comprehensive research of consumer and end-use purposes to assure fit, shape, style and comfort. Costing and sourcing factors also play a pivotal role in selecting resources. This course will introduce students to a wide variety of upper and sole materials, their performance attributes, manufacturing best practices of these resources, and strategies for making wise choices. Additionally, the use and application of color will be examined through a global lens to evaluate the influence color is having on the rise of the contemporary shoe market.
In addition, this course is designed to enhance forecasting ability through a combination of “pulse point” research, analysis, and presentation so that the design approach can be tailored to market needs. Students will learn examining techniques for interpreting the social and cultural influences on footwear, which facilitates recognizing and predicting trends in the global market. Storytelling within the context of brand representation will be explored through marketing strategies such as; social media, special events, public relations and advertising. Market analysis will include understanding the consumer, the competition, and the retail landscape.
- November 7 - December 18, 2023 (Fall 1)
- June 5 – July 8, 2024 (Summer 1)
How to Register
Students can take just one course or as many as they would like. If you take all the courses, you can earn a non-credit certificate in Footwear Design & Development.
Students should have familiarity with using a computer and how to access Zoom. A high school diploma is required.
Admission documents are not required.
Pick Your Course & Pay
Choose your course below. Use the scroll bar to see all courses available. Then click to add a 1 beside the course(s) for which you want to sign up. Once you have chosen all the classes, click on the checkout button and add your payment information.
Ask about our Footwear Product Development & Product Management course scholarship opportunities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to apply.
We are happy to accommodate groups that would like to take this class or organizations that would like to be invoiced for the course. Email us at email@example.com.
About the instructors
Elizabeth Brock-Jones is currently Kids Innovation Director at Nike, where she’s worked for the past 9.5 years. During that time, she’s worked with Innovation, Nike Sportswear, Special Projects, Global Express lane and Fuel teams on projects that range from sandals, boots, ACG, running and the entire Off-White x Nike: The Ten collection. Elizabeth also teaches for the University of Oregon Sports Product Management Program based in Portland, OR, and Lasell University. Prior to starting at Nike, Elizabeth received her BS in Kinesiology from Iowa State, as well as an MS in Biomechanics from the University of Tennessee and an MBA in Sports Marketing from the University of Oregon.
After leaving Nike in 2009, Friton founded his own company, Friton Design. Friton Design is a creative incubator for innovative footwear design and product development. The mission is to leverage a passion for creativity in athletic shoe design to a broader spectrum of product development. Friton explores universal design principles and applies them innovatively to create radically different and uniquely functional new products.
Friton's extensive knowledge and hands-on expertise with high-quality demand products has been successfully applied to various goods and industries worldwide. In addition to his superior functionality expertise, he has experience in all facets of product design, product development, prototype making, pattern engineering and grading, CAD modeling, tech packs, small-scale local production, factory sourcing, and material sourcing.
Friton graduated from the University of Oregon with an anthropology degree. As a student at Oregon, he was a competitive runner and collaborated with the Co-Founder of Nike, Mr. Bill Bowerman, for 18 years.
Anna Marie Smith
Anna Smith's creative endeavors started at age two when she graffitied her name on the side of her mattress with a red Sanford permanent marker. She has been creating ever since. Smith is a cross-pollinator. Her creative and professional work over the last 22 years has connected/crossed many different artistic genres, encompassing more than these labels we give them: dance/movement arts, design, and visual art. Throughout, observer, educator, and maker have been constant.
Her background in dance performance and choreography taught her the importance of storytelling and she had a deep appreciation for the materials that created different shoes for different functions…eventually aiding her career transition to design. Smith received her Master's Degree in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University, where she focused on Human Factors and Ergonomics, experimented with Surface Pattern Design, and supplemented her education with footwear-specific programs at Pensole Academy.
Smith has spent the last decade as a Footwear Designer, Color Designer, Material & Trend Specialist, Graphic Designer, and Educator. As an Education Director, she spent 6 years focusing on community and industry partnerships, taught color/trend/merchandising, and developed/taught a personal branding & portfolio prep course incorporating Color, Trend, and Storytelling. Brands she has worked with: Keen Footwear, Olukai Footwear, MLab Collective, and Pensole Academy. Smith also teaches Industrial Design at James Madison University, both foundations/skills, and studio courses.
Do I need Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop before I start the certificate courses?
No, you don't need to purchase Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to take this course.
Can these classes be completed from a Chromebook?
Yes, these courses can be completed with a computer,/laptop, or Chromebook.
Will I need to purchase course materials and/or software for these classes?
It differs by class. The only class that requires a textbook is FASH912 Footwear Product Development. The FASH910 Shoe Design Basics has optional prototype material packets available for purchase at $50. For all other classes, you will not need to purchase any software and materials are provided.
Does the program require attendance to live synchronous meetings?
No, the live synchronous Zoom sessions are optional and can be recorded for those students with time zones and/or work schedules that preclude participation in the synchronous content.
Can I take one or two of the courses in the program or do I need to take all three courses?
You can take as many or as few of the courses as you would like. But the courses are complementary to each other and there is a full benefit to completing the entire program in order to earn the certificate and assess the varied career opportunities in the industry.
How long should I expect to spend doing coursework per week?
Each class is a bit different, but expect to spend on average about 5-6 hours per week attending or watching class sessions, readings and assignments