Athletic Footwear Designer

Athletic Footwear Designers are responsible for creating the layouts, models, and depictions of what will eventually emerge within the sneaker market.

How To Become An Athletic Footwear Designer

Career Profile, Salary & Job Outlook —

What does an Athletic Footwear Designer do?

Sneaker Designers or Athletic Footwear Designers are specialized shoe designers who primarily focus on sneaker design for an athletic function or lifestyle aesthetic. Athletic Footwear Designers are responsible for creating the layouts, models, and depictions of what will eventually emerge within the sneaker market. In addition to having an artistic flair for style and design, this shoe designer must also be conscious of the overall construction and structural integrity, comfort, and material efficiency of a sneaker. Primarily working with a team, this designer is responsible for concept creation, design research, comprehensive design rendering, and assessing new technologies in materials and textile processing.

How much does an Athletic Footwear Designer make?

According to Glassdoor, Footwear Designers make a national average of $74,414 annually or $35.78 an hour in 2021. In general, entry-level footwear designers make around $46,000 annually, with senior-level footwear designers making $112,000 a year.

What impact does this career have towards the sneaker industry?

Today, shoes play an important role in fashion. Sneaker Designers impact what the consumer markets will wear on their feet and play a larger role in footwear technology and sneaker trends. With the continued growth in streetwear, sneakers anchor themselves as a hallmark for collectors and aficionados, alike. Sneakers are notorious for extending themselves into secondary, resale markets that have generated above one billion dollars in 2020. Whether a product of storytelling between brand and collaborator, art & design, or a functional piece — sneakers embody a cultural point in time-related to fashion and trend.

What is the job outlook for an Athletic Footwear Designer?

The Footwear market is expected to show a volume growth of 4.0% in 2022. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in the fashion design industry (including athletic footwear designers) is projected to grow one percent during the 2018-2028 decade (www.bls.gov).

How to kick-off your career:

  • Stay up to date on sneaker releases pushing the capabilities of sports performance, materials, and technology.
  • Collect inspiration and create mood boards of your favorite sneaker lines.
  • Research sneaker designers that you admire.
  • Download our Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide to understand the pathway into this career.
  • Explore our Sneaker Essentials online course to understand the Design & Materials process.
Gregg Woodcock, athletic footwear designer

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:

Men’s Footwear Designer | Women’s Footwear Designer | Kid’s Footwear Designer | Footwear Graphic Designer | Product Line Manager | Materials Designer | Creative Director, Footwear | Design Engineer | Product Development Manager | Sneaker Customizer | Color Designer | Product Developer | CAD Engineer, Footwear | Pattern Master

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