Obsessed with shoes? Turn your passion into a high-paying career by learning how to design high-performance footwear. Below is a list of reputable colleges that offer shoe design programs.

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)

Location: Portland, OR

Last year, PNCA partnered with PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy to offer its first-ever course on shoe creation. Called PNCA | PENSOLE, this accelerated course takes a hands-on approach to learning the craft of product development.

What makes it so great? The fact that representatives from some of the top footwear brands help mentor and guide students on their journey to creating their own unique shoes. Even cooler: PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards is one of the instructors.

“This intensive is one of a number of new design programs we have under development to expand options for our ambitious students, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with D’Wayne and all of the folks at Pensole,” said PNCA President Don Tuski.

Woodbury University
Location: Burbank, CA

Woodbury University’s fashion design program allows students the opportunity to explore niche markets within the apparel industry, including shoes, lingerie, millinery, and denim. Of special note is the university’s association with several high-end brands, including BCBG, Max Mara, Komarov, and Kenneth Cole. These working relationships allow students the chance to intern at some of the nation’s top-notch fashion brands.

Also of note: in the past, Woodbury students have designed outfits worn by musicians of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. The connections the university has built with local organizations and businesses make it a top pick for anyone interested in shoe design.

Fashion Institute of Technology

Location: New York, NY

Did you know that America’s performance athletics footwear business is a $17 billion industry? The recent uptick in demand for fashion-forward sneakers is what inspired the Fashion Institute of Technology to create a Performance Athletic Footwear Certificate Program. This nine-credit course touches on four key components of shoe design: ergonomics, materials, sketching, and drafting.

Although footwear designers are in high demand, the industry is difficult to break into without a formal education. That’s why it is highly recommended that aspiring shoe designers enroll in a program.

Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash

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