A Guide to Complete #SneakerSchool in 2 Months

When Yellowbrick students enroll in our Fashion Institute of Technology x Complex Sneaker Essentials online course, they’re given a year to complete #SneakerSchool. However, you can complete Sneaker Essentials in a fraction of the time. We’ve created a roadmap to help students finish the course over 45 hours in just two months.

Month 1, Week 1: 

Sneaker School

The Sneaker Essentials online course consists of seven modules. By focusing on one module per week, you can complete the course within eight weeks. The first module, Introduction To History And Culture, is an overview of the history of the sneaker and modern sneaker culture and an introduction of performance footwear. While 35 videos, three reading assignments, and two activities may sound like a lot of work, you can complete it all in eight hours. By dividing those eight hours into small chunks over a five-day week, the workload is more manageable.

While 35 videos, three reading assignments, and two activities may sound like a lot of work, you can complete it all in eight hours.

Day 1 (2 Hours):

Dedicate day one to watch the first 13 video lessons. After that, read the first article, "Sneakers Have Always Been Political Shoes," from The Atlantic. The piece explores vital socioeconomic and cultural milestones in sneaker history. Then, read "Material Matters: Fables Of The Forgotten," which surveys critical sneaker innovations and unique product milestones. 

Day 2 (2 Hours):

The second day is all about completing your first assignment! The activity, Building A Sneaker Portfolio, asks you to create an account on StockX, which allows students to track their sneaker portfolios. The purpose of this assignment is to enable students to showcase their style while providing context regarding the valuation of sneakers.

Nike SB Dunk x Civilist

Day 3 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

On day three, queue up videos 14 through 30. These lessons feature Gregg Woodcock and Frank Zambrelli from FIT and Complex's Matthew Welty and Brendan Dunne. Topics include the rise of famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and the influence of athletes on sneaker technology.

Day 4 (45 Minutes): 

Watch the final four video lessons of module one and then complete the third reading, "Confessions of a Sneaker Addict." Written initially for Source Magazine, the essay has been dubbed "the first piece of sneaker journalism" by Sole Collector.

Day 5 (2 Hours): 

You made it to the end of the first week and the last activity of module one, "What's Your Grail?" This activity tasks students with telling the story of their favorite sneaker and is an introduction to sneaker advertising and marketing.

Student studying

Month 1, Week 2: 

Week two focuses on the second module, Sneaker Design. This module takes through the creative process, from sketching to prototyping. Students learn about the importance of striking a balance between branding and performance.

Day 1 (1 hr 30 Minutes): 

Start week two with videos one through 13. These lessons cover the design brief and the design calendar. After completing the videos, there is written coursework for students to read. "6 Must-Know Tips For New & Aspiring Shoe Designers" offers expert tips from industry professionals for aspiring sneaker designers. 

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

The first activity of module two and the primary focus for the second day is Creating a Mood Board. #SneakerSchool students pull inspiration to create mood boards that document and communicate their design ideas to others. 

Day 3 (1 Hour and 30 Minutes): 

On day three, watch video lessons 14 through 28. During this section, students will learn about sneaker structure, the ergonomics of design, and the importance of the tech pack.

Day 4 (1 Hour): 

Similar to day three, the itinerary for the fourth day of module two is watching videos 29 through 39 with lessons on sneaker sketching, logo application, and branding.

Day 5 (2 Hours): 

Students will use their newly-acquired design knowledge for the final day of week two to complete the second assignment. Designing A Pair of Sneakers is an activity that asks students to sketch their ideas for three sneaker silhouettes. 

Month 1, Week 3:

Week three requires less time than the previous two. Students work in 30 minutes bursts each day, requiring a commitment of two and a half hours total. During this week, the focus turns to module three, Sneaker Manufacturing and Production.

Sneaker Manufacturing

Day 1 (30 Minutes): 

Ease into the week by watching lessons one and two. The videos introduce students to members of the production team and the manufacturing and production process. Afterward, complete your next reading assignment, "Ways to Develop and Support a Sustainable Footwear Industry," which addresses the growing level of awareness around eco-consciousness in manufacturing.

Day 2 (30 Minutes): 

Videos three through seven guides students through creating product samples and beginning the journey of assembling shoes.

Day 3 (30 Minutes): 

In the first virtual tour of the course, students walk through Brooklyn Shoe Factory in Hoboken, New Jersey. Co-founder Rebecca Heykes explains key components, machinery, and equipment necessary to manufacturing.

Day 4 (30 Minutes):

The next set of videos, eight through 12, is all about the outsole. Students are taught about sole application, engineering, and the benefits of a vulcanized sole and a cupped sole.

Day 5 (30 Minutes): 

The final set of videos, 13 through 20, discusses the final steps of sneaker assemblage and the importance of quality control. Students are also treated to a tour of UBIQLAB in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, led by Brand Director Kyle Riggle.

Month 1, Week 4: 

Week four is all about rest and reflection. Use this week to review the first three courses, refresh notes as needed, and check out other students’ assignment projects.

You’ve officially hit the halfway mark! This week is a bit more intensive, as most students will require 12 hours to complete coursework.

Month 2, Week 1: 

Sneaker School

You’ve officially hit the halfway mark! This week is a bit more intensive, as most students will require 12 hours to complete coursework. However, by sticking to our guide suggestions and breaking time into smaller blocks, 12 hours will be over before you know it.

Day 1 (2 Hours): 

We start the week with module four, Sneaker Distribution and Retail. Watch the first 12 videos to learn about trade shows, retail supply chains, and sneaker shopping. Then, complete your next activity. In this assignment, you'll revisit the portfolio you created on day two of week one to see how the sneakers you selected have changed in value.

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

On day two, watch videos 13 through 18. These lessons are about sneaker boutiques and their influence on sneaker culture. After watching these videos, there's a research activity, Exploring Unique Boutiques.

Day 3 (2 Hours): 

Day three continues with the subject of sneaker boutiques with video lessons 19 through 24 by highlighting several case studies of successful boutiques. Once the videos have been completed, there's an assignment, Planning Your Sneaker Boutique. This activity pushes students to conceptualize their boutiques and present their plans.

Day 4 (3 Hours): 

Videos 25 through 36 focus on sneaker drops and the ever-evolving resell market. The next assignment, Building Your Boutique, is a continuation of the previous day's activity. Students take their concepts to the next level during this exercise by designing the floor plan and themes.

Day 5 (3 Hours): 

On the final day of the week, wrap up module four by watching videos 37 through 41 to learn about engaging customers through boutique customization. Then complete the Sneaker Con virtual 360 tour. In your final assignment of this module, Marketing in a Consumer Show, students apply what they learned from the Sneaker Con tour to create their booth plan and vendor budget.

Sneaker Store

Month 2, Week 2: 

We've arrived at module five, Brand Strategy and Marketing. This module introduces students to core concepts of marketing and sales and teaches them to develop a brand identity that will connect with consumers. 

Day 1 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

Week one begins with the first 15 video lessons. In these videos, Jeron Smith from Curry 30 Inc. and Joe La Puma from Complex share lessons on brand identity and connecting with an audience.

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

On day two, you have your first activity, Brand Attributes. Students conceptualize the brand attributes and essence that will form the backbone of their sneaker brand.

Day 3 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

Watch videos 16 through 31 to learn about traditional marketing, digital marketing, and the value of endorsements. In addition, this section features a case study of Josh Luber on StockX Marketing.

Day 4 (2 Hours): 

Today's focus will be completing your next assignment, Creating a Customer Persona. In this activity, students identify and determine the characteristics of their target customers. They then create a persona document exploring and highlighting a set of general customer characteristics that will help them understand their target customer's wants, needs, and desires.

Day 5 (1 Hour):

Wind down the week with the final stretch of video lessons from module five, covering collaborations and nonprofit options in the sneaker industry.

Month 2, Week 3: 

This week, we step into the world of Sneaker Media with module six. Key concepts in this module include recognizing how media is used in product marketing and branding and building your digital brand in the sneaker world.

Day 1 (1 Hour): 

The first ten videos from module six that students watch on day one overview the evolution of sneaker media, from sneaker blogging to film and television.

Day 2 (1 Hour): 

The second day of the week features videos 11 through 21. These lessons cover the shift to online meme culture and social media’s impact on sneaker media.

Day 3 (30 Minutes): 

Take a break from video lessons with a couple of reading assignments. The first piece, “Creating Video Content for Social Media,” helps students understand the basics of the production process for social video formats.

Sneaker Media

The second reading, "The Basics of Smartphone Video Production," reapplies video production concepts through the accessibility of smartphones. 

Day 4 (30 Minutes): 

The final videos of module six, lessons 22 through 24, unites what students learned about video production to make an unboxing video. 

Day 5 (4 Hours): 

It’s time to complete your final assignment! Creating Sneaker Media is an assignment that asks students to apply the marketing principles they have learned along with the tips from experts to create a video that tells a story, promotes a product, and resonates with the sneaker audience.

Review material from courses three through six, refresh your notes, and be sure to check in on other students' final projects.

Month 2, Week 4: 

This week is another week of rest and reflection. Review material from courses three through six, refresh your notes, and be sure to check in on other students' final projects.

An additional module, Sneaker Law, features 20 short video lessons from Jared Goldstein and Kenneth Anand and can be completed in two hours.


Ready to take your career in a new direction? Head over to FIT x Complex Sneaker Essentials to learn more about the online course. You can also download our free Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide to explore which sneaker careers may be right for you.

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