What is a Sketch & How Does it Shape the Shoe Industry?

What is a Sketch & How Does it Shape the Shoe Industry?

Shoes might seem like a relatively simple invention, but their production process is anything but that! You see, depending on the type of shoe, the production methods and time can vary considerably. Shoe designing and production can involve 70 to even 390 steps. And of course, while the shoe industry has come a long way today, the first step is still creating a shoe sketch. This is followed by creating a last or mould as per the required shape and size for both the right and left foot. And then, stamping, sewing, and finally assembling, gives you the final product- a shoe!

What is a Shoe Sketch?

A shoe sketch is basically a diagrammatical depiction of what the shoe is supposed to look like- its design, to put it simply. This is the creative part and requires loads of input from your creative side, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Both digital and hand-drawn sketches can be utilized for making shoes so long as they are compatible with the production process. Usually, an initial shoe sketch is made and then refined to make it technically correct as per the manufacturing process. Designers tend to sketch the shoe from multiple angles to ensure a smooth transition from sketch to the shoe. Hence, these are probably the most important part of the shoemaking process because you really can't start without a sketch.

Big Companies Often Reuse Old Sketches

Speaking of shoe sketches, most shoes tend to look quite similar to each other. After all, they’re all made to adorn the same model- feet. Therefore, it’s only natural that shoes are a lot similar in their make and sketches. Thus, many companies have used this to their advantage by using old sketches of shoes from the 90s.


Because it’s easy. You can get ready-made sketches that you can modify to make them look slightly different and call it a new design- it cuts your effort in half and most people (especially the common man) won’t even be able to tell!

And even big companies tend to use this tactic to design their shoes instead of starting from scratch. It helps them create more designs and make more shoes in a relatively limited amount of time. However, this also means that they are probably not giving their client their “all”. But it works, right? Yes, and that’s why they do it!

What’s the Takeaway?

Shoes are made from sketches that dictate the design of the shoe- from its shape to the rhinestones placed on its surface. However, since sketches for the same type of shoe are quite similar, they can and are often reused with major to minor modifications. This is really common in the shoe industry and even big companies don’t shy away from this trick since it helps cut their workload greatly. They can simply use an old sketch as a template and transform it into “new” designs.

Nevertheless, while it works for big brands, emerging shoe brands will definitely need to put in the extra time and effort to come up with new and authentic shoe designs for their customers- that’s how they can appeal to their target audience and make a name for themselves. However, ironically, once they become a “big company” themselves, they’ll probably also just resort to using old sketches.

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