Are you ready to supercharge your footwear career? With our exclusive All Access Pass, you’ll unlock the full potential of Shoemakers Academy’s online courses. Gain complete access to our extensive catalog, featuring 125 shoemaking lessons and over 35 hours of expert video instruction from none other than “The Shoe Dog” himself. Grab the All Access Pass and fast-track your way to success in the dynamic world of footwear!

Free Shoemaking Resources

  • SELF-PACED online learning for FREE: Scroll down to see “Unit 1: Learning the Basics of Shoemaking,” and start now.
  • HANDS-ON  learning with our SHOEMAKING TEXTBOOKS: Softcover and PDF Ebook textbooks for all levels plus shoemaking lasts, outsoles, and other hard-to-find materials. Visit our SHOEMAKING SUPPLY STORE.
  • CORPORATE TRAINING for teams and individuals: Customizable for your team at your level. High-School, University, Individual, Start-Ups, Large or Small Corporate teams. We got you covered.
  • PRIVATE CONSULTING with “The Shoe Dog”: Personal, 1-on-1 sessions to get you there faster.

The Shoe Dog would like to give you a free lesson. Check out the starter course  Shoemaking for Brand Builders & Designers.

Welcome to the online shoe school

We have pulled together an online curriculum of shoemaking articles in a sequence that will take you from the basics of shoe design and shoemaking to advanced material selection topics. Step-by-step you will learn how to design shoes. This collection of articles teaches shoemaking for beginner students of the trade.

Learn how to make shoes with our free online course. You study the basics of shoe design and techniques for mass production. Get a firm grasp of shoemaking terminology, shoe patterns, and construction. Our shoe-making tutorials take just a few hours to read. Supplement your learning with our shoemaking books, materials, and virtual classes for aspiring shoe designers, material managers, brand managers, beginner patternmakers, and at-home shoemakers.

We have taken great care to make learning easy. Throughout our articles you will see shoemaking terms like “last” and “eyestay” highlighted in blue. Simply move your mouse over the highlighted terms to see the definitions. So easy! You can also see all the shoemaking terms together in our Shoe Terms Dictionary.

This course will cover the basics of shoe design and mass production techniques and give you a firm grasp of shoemaking terminology, shoe patterns, and construction. We cover how to design a sneaker tech pack like a professional. The second half is a footwear development class.

Jumpstart your career now. Let’s begin

Unit 1:  Learning the Basics of Shoemaking

In Unit 1 of our shoemaking course, you learn the step-by-step basics of shoemaking and construction. What shoe lasts are and how they determine the shape of your shoe. You will also learn about the parts of a shoe. If you want to learn how to make shoes…you are in the right place!

What does it take to make a sneaker?
How does a factory make shoes?
The shoe last
How Shoes are Made: the basics
Shoe parts diagram
Shoe pattern parts
Running shoe parts terminology
How a new shoe is made: shoe development process
How Shoes are Made video
How to become a shoe designer – 10 steps
Shoe terms dictionary

UNIT 2: Learning Shoe Construction Techniques

Now that you understand the basics, let’s move on to the details of shoe construction, shoe lasting, and what is inside the guts of your shoe. We will cover the two most popular styles of shoe construction: Cold Cement and Vulcanized construction.

Shoe lastingWhat’s inside shoes? Shoe reinforcements
Cold cement vs. vulcanized shoe construction
How Converse All-Stars are made: vulcanized process
How are Nike shoes are made: cold cement construction
Shoe outsole tooling
Shoe construction techniques
What is a fitting trial for shoes? 

UNIT 3: Learning How to Design Shoes

Once you have read through Units 1 and 2, you will have enough basic shoemaking knowledge to start designing your shoe projects. In Unit 3, you will learn how to design shoes. We will review how to go about drawing shoes and how to make shoe patterns.

The shoe design brief
How to draw shoes
Shoe patterns
Shoe designer vs. shoe pattern maker
How to become a shoe designer – 10 steps
What is a shoe pattern?
How to make a shoe pattern
How to design shoe outsole tooling – Part 1
A shoe designer’s tools
Shoe design: logos for shoes
How to make your shoe design a SLAM dunk.

UNIT 4:  How to Specify your Shoe Design

With your new design drawn up, let’s dig deeper and learn how to make a real factory-ready shoe specification sheet. A detailed shoe specification (called a spec sheet) will allow the shoe factory to create just what you are looking for. This footwear development class will teach you how to make your design “production” ready. This section of the shoemaking course will teach you the language and give you the tools to create a proper and professional shoe design specification sheet. You will learn how to design a sneaker tech pack.

Is my shoe design ready for production?
The shoe design specification drawing
How to make a shoe production specification
How to select footwear materials
The Designers Guide to Shoe Material Suppliers
How to spec shoe colors……the Pantone book!
Nike Air Jordan 1 design review: shoe edges
The designer’s guide to shoe leather
How to design shoes – synthetic leather
Textiles for shoe design
Shoe design: know your footbeds
The Designer’s Guide to Shoe Materials 

Unit 5: Start your own shoe business

Are you ready to start your own shoe business? Now it is time to dig deeper into the shoe business. We will help you answer these critical questions! Is shoemaking profitable? How much does it cost to start a shoe company? How do I manufacture my own sneakers? What is the profit margin on shoes? How much money do you need to start a shoe business?  How much should I charge for my shoes?

How much does it cost to make a sneaker?
Finding shoe agents and shoe development contracts
Can I start a shoe company?
How to Start a Shoe Brand
How to Start Your Own Shoe Company
Manufacturing and Importing Your Shoes
How to Build a Shoe Factory
Planning Your Shoe Manufacturing Business
How much does it cost to build a sneaker?
Business Plans for Start-Up Shoe Brands
Italian Quality Handmade Shoes in China
New brand story Nummulit – Urban Shoes with a Minimalist Sole
Make Your Shoe Design Factory Ready: Shoe Maker’s Pre-Flight Checklist

Unit 6: Keep Learning

There is always more to learn in the field of shoemaking. In this section of the course, we have a few more articles that will help you on your journey to becoming a real shoe pro.

Jobs in the shoe trades: working for a shoe brand
Download a shoe last for 3D printing
Can I get custom-made shoes? Yes!
How shoe lasts are made, by Tsubo
Shoemaking books on Amazon
Shoe design books are available on Amazon NOW!
Hand tools for shoemaking
How shoe lasts are made
How New Balance shoes are made
Design & Production of Sustainable Shoes

Online shoemaking course

Textbooks for Shoemakers

Every aspiring shoe designer and start-up brand should read this series. Available in full-color, printed softcover format or instant delivery with the PDF ebook format.

How Shoes are Made: Covers the basics of shoemaking, shoe design, and manufacturing. Everything you need to know if you are starting in a shoe design office. This is a shoe design handbook for footwear designers and also applicable for beginner shoemakers. Available in softcover or ebook / PDF format.

Footwear Pattern Making and Last Design: This book covers the craft of footwear pattern making, including a step-by-step guide to patternmaking for beginners. This book will show you how lasts are made, the shoe last design process, hidden geometry, special features, functions, and size grading principles.

Shoe Material Design Guide: This will complete your shoe design book library. This book is a masterclass dedicated entirely to the selection and sourcing of shoe materials—an ideal handbook for shoemakers, footwear designers, footwear developers, and shoe manufacturers.

How To Start Your Own Shoe Company: This book is written for shoe entrepreneurs new and old. Not just for shoe designers, How To Start Your Own Shoe Company is a perfect training aid for footwear product line managers and shoe company brand managersh