Top 6 Essentials When Designing Footwear

Everyone has their own process when designing, some need to be surrounded by like-minded creatives, others prefer solitude. Whatever your creative process is though, here are a few essentials (in my opinion at least), that will help you create at your best –

1. Music


Good music is essential to get my creative juices flowing and start to hash out ideas and concepts. There’s also nothing more distracting then having to search for good music in the middle of a creative stretch. Whatever your taste is, music can directly effect how you design a shoe, whether you’re listening to some smooth jazz and creating some super comfy, luxurious casual shoes, or you’re listening to some hard core rap to design some super aggressive looking Basketball shoes.

Always one to help out, here’s a music playlist I put together earlier that might help you get in the swing of things today (you’re welcome) –


2. Coffee


I used to hate coffee. I’m British, I drink Tea…well…I used to, now I’m all about that coffee life. And not just your regular cup of joe, I mean that good, artisan type ish. Good coffee gets your mind right, a quick tip for an extra boost of cognitive clarity is to use butter in your coffee rather than milk as it releases the caffeine more steadily and gives you more of a steady dose.

3. Inspiration


However you get inspired; websites, books, music, travel – it’s important to be able to lock those inspirations down so that you can call on them later. I use a combination of taking pictures of pretty much everything I see on my iPhone (which clothing store’s LOVE, btw), and jotting down notes and sketches in my moleskin. Then when I’m working on my designs later I can either call on specific inspirations I noted, or just randomly look through images and notes that I might find interesting.

4. A Good Pen


Of all the pens I’ve used, I still find just a normal ball point BIC to be the best for me. No matter what it is though, make sure it’s always filled and somewhere easy to access, you never know when inspiration will hit.

5. Great Working Environment


Having a space that inspires and allows you to fully immerse yourself in your process is obviously important. It doesn’t have to look as clean, dope and Scandinavian as the pic above, but it does have to be able to house everything you need so you don’t have to get off of your ass in the middle of a rendering. I only say that because if you’re like me, you’ll get up and then find something else that catches your attention, and rather then finishing up your concept you wind up outside talking to a neighbor about how you have the DOPEST idea for a new umbrella or something.

6. Time


Probably the most important thing on this list. I’m not just talking about making sure you spend enough time on something (I would hope thats obvious…though not always an option if you work for a large company), I’m also talking about NOT spending too much time on something. It’s a total balancing act, make sure you put in the time, but also know when it’s time to move on.


Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks |

Start the conversation