Profession footwear product developer

Footwear product developers provide interface between design and production. They engineer the footwear prototypes previously created by designers. They select, design or re-design lasts and footwear components, make patterns for uppers, linings and bottom components, and produce technical drawings for a various range of tools (e.g. cutting dies, mould, etc.). They also produce and evaluate footwear prototypes, grade and produce sizing samples, perform required tests for samples and confirm the customer’s qualitative and pricing constraints.

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Personality Type

  • Realistic / Investigative
  • Enterprising / Realistic
  • Realistic / Conventional

Knowledge

  • Time management

    The practices concerning the conscious planning and controlling of the amount of time spent on executing certain tasks to improve efficiency and productivity.

  • Ergonomics in footwear and leather goods design

    The principles used in the design of various styles of footwear and leather goods for the correct anatomic and ergonomic proportions and measurements.

  • Footwear manufacturing technology

    Footwear processes technology and machinery involved. The footwear manufacturing starts in the cutting/clicking room , cutting the uppers and bottom components. The upper components are joined together in the closing room by following a precise order of specific operations: skiving, folding, sewing etc. The closed upper, the insole and other bottom components are brought together in the assembling room, where the main operations are lasting and soling. The process ends with finishing operations in the finishing and packing room.

  • CAD for footwear

    The architecture and functionality of 2D and 3D computer assisted design software systems for footwear.

  • Footwear and leather goods marketing planning

    The principles and methods used in creating a marketing plan and how a company can best position itself compared to its competitors, taking into account the specifities of the footwear and leather goods market. 

  • Footwear components

    Footwear components both for uppers (vamps, quarters, linings, stiffeners, toe puffs etc.) and bottoms (soles, heels, insoles etc.). Ecological concerns and the importance of recycling. Selection of suitable materials and components based on their influence on the footwear style and characteristics, properties and manufacturability. Procedures and methods in chemical and mechanical processing of leather and non-leather materials.

  • Pattern grading

    Know about cutting patterns accurately and grading the patterns to obtain the size series in case of mass production. Know how to mark notches, holes, seam allowances, and other technical specifications. Make adjustments and obtain the final patterns for cutting in order to compensate any identified problems during sampling.

  • Footwear materials

    The characteristics, components, advantages and limitations of a wide range of materials used in footwear production: leather, leather substitutes (synthetics or artificial materials), textile, plastic, rubber etc. 

  • Footwear quality

    Quality specifications of materials, processes and final products, the most common defects in footwear, quick tests procedures, laboratory tests procedures and standards, adequate equipment for quality checks. Quality assurance of footwear production processes and fundamental concepts on quality including footwear quality framework and standards.

  • Footwear creation process

    Footwear creation projects starting from inspiration to technical design and manufacturing by following several stages. Latest trends in footwear materials, components, processes, and concepts.

Skills

  • Use communication techniques

    Apply techniques of communication which allow interlocutors to better understand each other and communicate accurately in the transmission of messages.

  • Implement footwear marketing plan

    Implement marketing plans according to company specifications, complying with market demand.

  • Apply development process to footwear design

    Be able to understand the needs of the consumer and analyse the fashion trends. Be able to innovate and develop the footwear concepts from an aesthetic, functional and technological point of view by using a wide range of methods and techniques, selecting materials, components and suitable technologies, adapting new concepts to manufacturing requirements and transforming the new ideas into marketable and sustainable products for mass or customised production. Be able to visually communicate the new ideas and designs.

  • Use CAD for soles

    Digitise and scan the lasts. Work with files in various CAD systems. Produce 3D models of soles and create 2D computer aided designs. Grade and obtain the size series. Prepare technical specifications for manufacturing. Produce 2D and 3D computer aided engineering designs and technical drawings of moulds for vulcanised and injected soles. Export the files of the virtual models to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.

  • Prepare footwear samples

    Create, test and verify prototypes or samples of footwear against a predefined set of criteria throughout all stages of the manufacturing process. Revise the initial design concepts and implement technical improvements.

  • Use IT tools

    Application of computers, computer networks and other information technologies and equipment to storing, retrieving, transmitting and manipulating data, in the context of a business or enterprise.

  • Develop footwear collection

    Transform footwear design ideas and concepts into prototypes and, finally, a collection. Analyse and check the designs from various angles like functionality, aesthetics, comfort, performance and manufacturability. Manage the development process of all the footwear prototypes in order to meet the customer’s needs and to properly balance quality with production costs.

  • Apply fashion trends to footwear and leather goods

    Be able to stay up to date on the latest styles, attending fashion shows and review fashion/clothing magazines and manuals, analysing the past and present fashion trends in areas such as footwear, leather goods and clothing market. Use analytical thinking and creative models to apply and to interpret in a systematic way the upcoming trends in terms of fashion and life styles.

  • Perform market research in footwear

    Perform market research on the company’s customers, selecting and applying the right marketing strategies for footwear industry. Apply the mix of marketing (product, prices, promotion, and distribution) to contextual conditions of the company. Forecast how various factors as environment, technological innovation, buying behaviour etc. influence the marketing and merchandising of the footwear produced by the company.

  • Distinguish accessories

    Distinguish accessories in order to determine differences among them. Evaluate accessories based on their characteristics and their application in wearing apparel manufacturing.

  • Distinguish fabrics

    Distinguish fabrics in order to determine differences among them. Evaluate fabrics based on their characteristics and their application in wearing apparel manufacturing.

  • Make technical drawings of fashion pieces

    Make technical drawings of wearing apparel, leather goods and footwear including both technical and engineering drawings. Use them to communicate or to convey design ideas and manufacturing details to pattern makers, technologists, toolmakers, and equipment producers or to other machine operators for sampling and production.

  • Create solutions to problems

    Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.

  • Create patterns for footwear

    Produce the mean form or shell, a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional shape of the last. Create scaled patterns for uppers and bottom components by manual methods from the designs.

  • Work in textile manufacturing teams

    Work harmoniously with colleagues in teams in the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.

  • Use CAD for heels

    Digitise and scan the lasts. Work with files in various CAD systems. Produce 3D models of heels and create 2D computer aided designs. Grade and obtain the size series. Prepare technical specifications for manufacturing. Produce 2D and 3D computer aided engineering designs and technical drawings of moulds for vulcanised and injected heels. Export the files of the virtual models to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.

  • Use CAD for lasts

    Be able to digitise and scan the lasts. Work with various 2D and 3D CAD systems and use the software to adopt and transform the shape of the lasts according to dimensional requirements of the customer. Making 2D templates for controlling the shape of the new last. Produce technical drawing and prepare technical specification sheets for manufacturing. Grade the last. Export the files of the virtual model to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.

  • Develop footwear and leather goods marketing plans

    Be able to develop marketing plans and provide directions for marketing strategies of the company, as well as be able to identify potential markets and to perform marketing activities to promote the footwear products of the company.

  • Create technical sketches for footwear

    Be able to use various sketching and drawing techniques, including artistic representation, by hand or by computer, being aware of proportion and perspective, to sketch and draw footwear, lasts, soles, heels etc., both as 2D flat designs or as 3D volumes. Be able to prepare specification sheets with details of materials, components and manufacturing requirements.

  • Reduce environmental impact of footwear manufacturing

    Assess the environmental impact of footwear manufacture and minimise environmental risks. Reduce environmentally harmful work practices in different stages of the footwear manufacturing.

  • Practice innovative thinking in the footwear and leather goods industries

    Innovate and create in the footwear and leather goods sector. Evaluate new ideas and concepts to turn them into marketable products. Use entrepreneurial thinking in all stages of the product and process development to identify new business opportunities for the targeted markets.

  • Communicate commercial and technical issues in foreign languages

    Speak one or more foreign languages in order to communicate commercial and technical issues with various suppliers and clients.

  • Create mood boards

    Create mood boards for fashion or interior design collections, gathering different sources of inspirations, sensations, trends, and textures, discussing with the people involved in the project to make sure that the shape, design, colours, and the global genre of the collections fit the order or the related artistic project.

Optional knowledge and skills

create 3d cad footwear prototypes operate 2d cad for footwear pattern engineering manual cutting processes for leather

Common job titles

  • Product developer
  • Footwear material developer ii
  • Footwear developer
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  • Sr. project manager/developer, lifestyle
  • Sr. product developer, footwear innovation
  • Senior footwear product developer
  • Footwear developer, roxy