Footwear Design, Product Development and Manufacturing Process

Footwear refers the garments that are worn on the feet for several purposes, such as adornment and protecting the feet against the environment. Footwear in the manner of shoes therefore primarily serves the purpose to ease locomotion and prevent injuries. It is the largest category of fashion accessories including different types of socks, stockings, boots, and shoes. Footwear industry is one of the foremost innovators in the textile and clothing sector and has been a launch pad for many new ideas and concepts in material and product design.

Different types of footwear
Fig: Different types of footwear

Different Types of Footwear:

Shoes and boots:
Shoes and boots are considered a fashion add-on. Like handbags and purses, many women attempt to coordinate their shoes, especially for work, with the rest of their ensemble.

Shoe is an outer covering for the foot, usually of leather with a stiff or thick sole and heel, and generally (distinguishing it from a boot) reaching no higher than the ankle. It helps to protect and comfort the human foot. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration and fashion.

Fig: Shoes

A boot is a special type of shoe which covers the foot and the ankle and extends up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece.

Fig: Boots

Different Types of Shoes and Boots:

Men’s shoes:

  1. Oxfords
  2. Loafers
  3. Cap-toes
  4. Monk straps

Men’s boots:

  1. Chukka boots
  2. Cowboy boots
  3. Platform boots
  4. Motorcycle boots
  5. Dress boots

Thigh-high boots, women’s shoes

  1. High-heeled footwear

Types of heels found on high-heeled footwear include:

  1. Cone
  2. Kitten
  3. Prism
  4. Puppy
  5. Spool or Louis
  6. Stiletto
  7. Wedge
  8. Mule
  9. Slingback
  10. Ballet flats or dolly shoes
  11. Court shoe or pump

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Women’s boots:

  1. Booties
  2. Ankle boots
  3. Flat boots
  4. Knee-high boots
  5. Rain boots

Footwear Design, Product Development and Manufacturing Process:
Shoe designers need to study current fashion trends so that the shoes coordinate well with the apparel. Style, size, and fit characteristics that will make up the finished shoe are important.

footwear making
Fig: Footwear making

Pattern-making: A shoe consists of a number of different parts, each of which must be made into a perfectly accurate pattern to ensure a problem-free final product. The patterns may be created by using different methods.

Die manufacturing: Cutting dies are prepared to cut several layers of material to make the shoe. Sharp steel strips are bent around the various paper patterns to form individual dies for each part of the shoe.

Cutting: After manufacturing the dies, they are used to cut the materials. The dies are first placed over the materials and then pressed to cut through a number of layers.

Fitting or stitching: A number of individual operations are performed in the fitting room where all individual parts are sewn together.

Lasting: The fitted upper is pulled over the last in a series of operations that make the upper conform to shape of the last. Different lasting techniques can be adopted depending upon quality, appearance, and function of shoe required.

Assembling the remaining components: After the upper is assembled and lasted, various parts/components such as counters, stiffening materials, sock linings, outsoles, shanks, and heels are assembled.

Bottoming: In the bottoming room, the lasted upper receives shanks and fillers. It is prepared for the outsole to be permanently attached to the upper of the shoe. After this, heels are nailed through the insole for strength, which completes the shoe.

Finishing: Various finishing operations are performed on a shoe before it is sent to the packing room to be shipped to retailers. After the product is considered to be ready for the final delivery to the customer, it is boxed and sent either to a warehouse for storage or directly to the purchaser.

A sock is a piece of clothing worn on the feet and often covering the ankle or some part of the calf. Some type of shoe or boot is typically worn over socks. Socks are manufactured in a variety of lengths. Bare or ankle socks extend to the ankle or lower and are often worn casually or for athletic use. Bare socks are designed to create the look of bare feet when worn with shoes. Knee-high socks are sometimes associated with formal dress or as part of a uniform, such as in sports or as part of a school’s dress code.

Fig: Socks

A stocking is a close-fitting, elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg. Stockings vary in color, design, and transparency. It is a women’s garment, typically made of translucent nylon or silk.

Fig: Stockings

Tips for Choosing the Right Footwear:
There are two key factors to consider when buying a pair of shoes:

  1. Choose a shoe with a solid construction that provides all the support that customers need and
  2. Make sure the shoe fits well.


  1. Garment Manufacturing Technology Edited by Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye
  2. Textiles in Sport Edited by R. Shishoo
  3. Handbook of Footwear Design and Manufacture Edited by A. Luximon
  4. The Science of Footwear By Ravindra S. Goonetilleke

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