Trades & Services

Shoe/Footwear Maker

Shoemakers or footwear makers design and make shoes using specialist tools and machinery.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Shoe/Footwear Maker do?

Shoemakers or footwear makers design and make shoes using specialist tools and machinery.

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Work activities

As a footwear maker, you would:

  • create patterns for new shoe styles
  • use patterns to create outlines on leather or fabric
  • cut materials using hand or machine tools
  • dye, stain or stamp fabric or leather to create special effects
  • join shoe uppers to soles using sewing techniques, injection moulding, glues or rivets
  • add trims or decorations to finish shoes
  • work with production machinery for mass-produced items or use hand tools for made-to-measure orders.
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Key skills and interests

To become a footwear maker, you would need:

  • good eyesight and normal colour vision
  • good accuracy and hand-eye coordination
  • an ability to concentrate
  • an awareness of health and safety.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a footwear maker in a factory environment, you would work a standard number of hours per week. As a self-employed shoemaker, you would usually work a standard number of hours, which may be when a retail premise is open, but you may also work longer hours when deadlines need to be met.

Conditions

Footwear makers who make mass-produced goods work in factories. Shoemakers who make made-to-measure shoes work in studios and workshops. These shoemakers are usually self-employed, and may design as well as make shoes.

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How to become an Shoe/Footwear Maker?

Entry Level Education

No formal qualifications are required to work as footwear maker in a factory or production environment. You would get some training on the job.

You can also become a footwear maker through a traineeship in Footwear Production, Footwear Production (Intermediate/Multiple or Complex Processes) or Custom-made Footwear. Generally, employers would require a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Opportunities for footwear makers, especially in production environments, are declining.

Most mass-production footwear manufacturing has been moved to lower-cost countries. The increasing mass production of shoes has led to consumers buying more of these readily available goods.

Some opportunities still exist for bespoke footwear makers, including those who make special shoes for people with foot problems or physical disabilities.

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