How to Become a Business Development Manager in Footwear

Business Development Managers must exercise in-depth knowledge of the brand partner's business practices including building strong business relationships as a strategic partner and brand ambassador.

Career Profile, Salary, & Job Outlook —

What does a Business Development Manager do?

Footwear Business Development Manager or Brand Energy Developer manages the conversion of an existing sneaker model into a customized new model. They primarily do this for partnerships, energy, or partnership launches. In addition, they propose material, component, and construction options to the Energy team. These new options must meet key aesthetic, feature, and product performance goals. Brand Energy Developers engage in all phases of the product development process. This role ensures the overall completion of projects, including its mass-production capability, testing, and analysis. All of their projects must meet design intent as well as performance, costing, and sustainability goals.

How much does a Business Development Manager make?

According to Comparably, Footwear Business Development Managers make a national average of $84,000 or $40.38 an hour in 2021. In general, entry-level footwear business development associates make around $67,200 annually, with senior-level business development managers making $130,410 a year.

What impact does this career have towards the sneaker industry?

Footwear Business Development Managers push a sneaker company forward through how it builds and manages relationships, partnerships, and talent. The collaborations they form allow sales to ripple from the energy sneaker but onto their legacy and inline sneakers.

What is the job outlook for a Business Development Manager?

By 2022, there is a projected volume growth of 4.0% in the footwear market. During the 2018-2028 decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth in the fashion design industry (including Footwear Development Managers) to grow one percent. (

How to kick-off your career:

  • Begin to build relationships with other creatives, or those who work in your favorite companies.
  • Understand the sneaker production process.
  • Download the Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide to learn more about your career path.
  • Take Parsons’ Sneaker Essentials online course featuring Complex and other industry experts.
Learn about business development managers in footwear

Learn from:
Gregg Woodcock
Sneaker Essentials contributor, FIT Faculty

Designer Credits: Mossimo, FILA, FUBU, Phat Farm, Diane von Furstenberg, and Diddy’s footwear operation

Related Careers:

Women’s Footwear Designer | Men’s Footwear Designer | Kid’s Footwear Designer | Footwear Graphic Designer | Materials Designer | Creative Director, Footwear | Design Engineer | Color Designer | Athletic Footwear Designer | Sneaker Customizer | CAD Engineer, Footwear | Pattern Master

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