How To Become A Quality Control Specialist in Footwear

Footwear Quality Control Specialists inspect the sneaker construction of a final product before sending it out to retailers. They also ensure correct seller-provided information matches the sneaker sample or listing.

Career Profile, Salary & Job Outlook —

What does a Quality Control Specialist do?

Footwear Quality Control Specialists inspect the sneaker construction of a final product before sending it out to retailers. They have high attention to detail and follow the production specifications and match the approved confirmation sample. Moreover, this role ensures there are no major functional defects, cosmetic defects, production mistakes, or workmanship issues that cannot be properly repaired. Another type of QC inspector is someone who works for resale platforms like StockX or GOAT, ensuring the quality of the sneaker is sellable (i.e. brand new, like new) and that its description matches the listing.

How much does this specialist make?

According to ZipRecruiter, Footwear Quality Control Specialists make a national average of $38,497 annually or $17 an hour in 2021. In general, entry-level specialists make around $20,000 annually, with senior-level positions making $64,000 a year.

What impact does this career have towards the sneaker industry?

Footwear Quality Control Specialists ensure correct seller-provided information matches the sneaker sample or listing. They work to protect both the resellers, buyers, and seller platform to ensure the sale of the sneaker is legitimate — sealing the user experience as a whole.

What is the job outlook for a Quality Control Specialist?

By 2022, there is a projected volume growth of 4.0% in the footwear market. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for inspectors (including a Quality Control Specialist) is projected to decline twelve percent during the 2020-2030 decade (www.bls.gov). Despite the decline in employment, about 54,900 openings exist for inspectors each year.

How to kick-off your career:

  • Research and watch Footwear assembly videos on YouTube.
  • Understand sneaker anatomy and sneaker production.
  • Absorb and be able to identify design details of sneaker models.
  • Download our Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide to understand the pathway into this career.
  • Explore our Sneaker Essentials online course to understand the Manufacturing & Production process.
Kyle Riggle, industry expert with experience in factory operative positions, quality control

Learn from:
Kyle Riggle
Sneaker Essentials contributor

Experiences: Shopify, UBIQ, YEEZY, Garrixon, SNIPES, The Shoe Surgeon

Related Careers:

Footwear Product Tester | Pattern Master | Machine Operator | Footwear Factory Operative | Sample Coordinator | Product Manager

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