How to Design Your Own Shoe Sole

by Mercedes Valladares; Updated September 26, 2017
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Christian Louboutin’s famed red shoe sole is a classic signature trait from the designer’s collection. Creating and designing a tailor-made shoe sole for your upcoming shoe collection will set your designs apart from the rest. The shoe’s overall design pattern are coordinated with the inner and outer sole design. Designer inner soles will often have a pattern print. Although leather and rubber are generally used for the outer shoe sole, the heel type and size is an integral trait of the overall sole design and generally dictates the type of sole material needed to create the shoe.

Items you will need

  • Shoe sole outline
  • Sketch pad
  • Drafting paper (optional)
  • H pencil
  • Shoe sole template
  • Shoe sole pattern print
  • Shoe sole surface (i.e. leather or rubber)
  • Shoe sole color story
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Watercolor pens
  • Felt tip pens
  • Swatches
  • Leather shears
  • Scissors
Step 1

Draw the outline of your sole in your sketch pad or drafting paper with an H pencil, which is used to define lines. You will use this as a template to design different versions of your shoe sole design.

Step 2

Choose the type of heel you want for your shoe sole. This will impact the shoe design. For instance, if your shoe has a stiletto heel tip, the sole will be naturally arched. A chunky loafer heel, with a 1- to 2- inch heel height, will have less of an arch and will also take up more space at the heel area than the stiletto tip.

Step 3

Choose a pattern print for your inner sole. Although this is optional, incorporating a logo driven print as a signature trait is an effective marketing tool for creating a brand. Work with your shoe factory when selecting the surface. It is important that any print coloring used to make the inner sole pattern does not rub off onto socks or hosiery with perspiration.

Step 4

Choose the texture surface for your shoe sole such as leather or rubber. This will depend on the look of the overall shoe style. For example, if you have chosen a sporty shoe, you will most likely have a rubber sole with front traction grip grooves. Kitten heel mules with leather soles will often have front toe traction grooves to avoid slipping when walking.

Step 5

Choose the color of your shoe sole. If you will be making the shoe sole color as part of your signature trait, it is important to select a hue which will work with a variety of shoe designs. Take time with this selection process.

Keep in mind that manufacturing high volume customized shoe soles, which need to be cut in a variety of sole shapes, will increase your budget significantly.

Step 6

Color in your shoe design as well as the sole design with your colored pencils or markers. If your shoe design and sole are monotone hues, use soft watercolor pens to color the overall shoe and then incorporate a felt tip pen to detail the shoe as well as the inner and outer shoe sole design.

Step 7

Cut swatches of all materials being used for the shoe as well as shoe sole prior to contacting any factories. Use leather shears or scissors to cut the swatches according to the material type.

Tips

  • Browse through shoe departments and study the inner and outer shoe soles as well as the overall design.

References

  • “Essential Fashion Illustration;” Maite Lafuente; 2005

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images