Key facts

Entry requirements

112 or DMM

Additional entry requirements apply to this course Full entry requirements

UCAS code

WWF7

Institution code

D26

Duration

3 yrs full-time

Three years full-time, four years full-time with a placement. Six years part-time.

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

Entry requirements

112 or DMM

Additional entry requirements apply to this course Full entry requirements

UCAS code

WWF7

Institution code

D26

Duration

3 yrs full-time

Three years full-time, four years full-time with a placement. Six years part-time

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

You will work directly with industry professionals and big brands to gain valuable insights into new products and technologies

With a heritage beginning more than 100 years ago, this course will help to equip you with the skills and experience to embed yourself in the footwear and fashion industry. Studying on the our Footwear Design degree, you will work directly with industry professionals and big brands to gain valuable insights into new products and technologies.

Throughout the course you'll develop your shoe design and technical skills, emphasising the crucial relationship between design and manufacture and the needs of the footwear industry. You can specialise in men’s, women’s, or children’s footwear as well as performance footwear, which is unique to a UK university.

You will develop drawing and illustration, bespoke biomechanics and model prototyping skills, along with the ability to present and communicate ideas and concepts to a professional standard. You will learn technical modern shoemaking skills and make a range of prototype shoes using our excellent specialist studio facilities, including 3D design equipment.

Block teaching designed around you

You deserve a positive teaching and learning experience, where you feel part of a supportive and nurturing community. That’s why most students will enjoy an innovative approach to learning using block teaching, where you will study one module at a time. You’ll benefit from regular assessments – rather than lots of exams at the end of the year – and a simple timetable that allows you to engage with your subject and enjoy other aspects of university life such as sports, societies, meeting friends and discovering your new city. By studying with the same peers and tutor for each block, you’ll build friendships and a sense of belonging. Read more about block teaching.

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What you will study

Block 1: Design Fundamentals

This module will introduce numerous visual styles and techniques to inform the design and development process.

The module will look at product illustration, mood board creation, schematic drawings, presentation techniques, material sourcing, design development process, fashion markets and range building. All of these areas will be taught and explored in a practical order so that each new skill will benefit from prior learning of previous skills.

Assessment: 70% research & development and 30% practical package

Block 2: Design Exploration

This module introduces pattern cutting for footwear design and the development of a variety of basic shoe styles into pattern form, using 2D and 3D translation techniques. The participation and completion of this module will enable you to acquire a comprehensive overview of footwear from initial design concept to finished product.

Practical techniques and skills will be developed, and work compiled into an in-depth technical reference file, providing both theoretical and practical underpinning of the design and manufacturing process.

In addition to the practical skills, you will explore critical studies through lectures, seminars, and tutorials, looking at research and resource method and introducing key designers of the fashion area.

Assessment: 60% technical enquiry and 30% practical application.

Block 3: Design Development

This module introduces the techniques, processes, and methods necessary to enable you to develop knowledge and skills in footwear manufacture. Further extending the skill acquisition for transition from design to prototype including pattern development, material selection and construction techniques.

Assessment:  60% design file and 40% practical resolution

Block 4: Design Communication

This module consolidates the learning from level 4, allowing you to use a range of design research and development skills in the creation of a design package. You are encouraged to use digital and traditional technologies to produce concepts and conclusions for relevant independently defined contexts. You will be introduced to a broader range of visual and technical communication approaches.

The practical content is further underpinned by theoretical content delivered by the Design Cultures department to contextualise current practice within an historical framework. Students will consider origins and influences - how traditions develop and evolve in response to social and political - as well as research methods, visual literacy, and the skills for academic writing.

Assessment: 50% concept package and 50% other coursework

Block 1: Bespoke Principles

This module will cover the elements of Bespoke, or made-to-measure footwear, as one of the oldest forms of manufactured footwear in existence. There will be practical demonstrations and speciality lectures to highlight the unique skills connected with Bespoke, Orthopaedic and Biomechanical Performance footwear production.

The module will enable and encourage, input and feedback to be given by external clients and practitioners, exposing your work to comment and analysis from professionals within the footwear industry. Where feasible, a visit to a relevant footwear production unit may take place.

Assessment: 60% development file and 40% bespoke package

Block 2: Design Concepts

This module is focused on the design development and communication of a range of footwear for a defined markets and sector areas. You will assume the role of the designer in developing a design project. Including the investigation of materials, components, and the effect of other consumer product areas on the design process.

Presentation skills will be reinforced with the input from CAD with new information being delivered via workshops and seminars with time allowed for you to explore these skills before developing them in order to answer the module brief.

In addition to the footwear briefs, you will explore critical studies through lectures, seminars and tutorials addressing clothing communication, society, and professional practice.

Design Cultures contextual teaching is included in this module. At Level 5 students engage with issues and debates including sustainability, gender, and cross-cultural awareness. You will research and explore relevant historical, theoretical, critical, and global concepts underpinning their understanding of contemporary issues in the fashion industry.

Assessment: 50% concept development and 50% other coursework

Block 3: Design Innovations

This module is focused on the design development, resolution and communication of a range of footwear for a specific athletic and performance market context. Providing you with an experience of design for increasingly diverse market sectors and a more comprehensive understanding of industry standards and requirements.

There will be opportunities to explore the design and technical process in increasing depth, whilst there will be further theoretical underpinning through lectures and seminars on Biomechanics. The module will enable input and feedback to be given by external clients and practitioners, exposing your work to comment and analysis from professionals in the footwear industry.

Assessment: 80% design enquiry and 20% design presentation

Block 4: Concept Realisation

This module is focused on advancing your design development, resolution, and communication skills via a self-initiated project. You will undertake an investigation of a defined market and context of your own preference. Establishing a platform for more in-depth research and development of design methodologies, technical processes, materials, and design communication.

There will be opportunities to undertake workshops in advanced 3D and digital production. Providing you with a broader awareness of innovative design and development practice.

Assessment: 70% design investigation and 30% design resolution

Block 1: Conceptual Inquiry

This module focuses on expanding your conceptual thinking, research, creative and technical skills, whilst providing a platform for the strengthening of a personal design direction.

A specific project brief will set, establishing a platform for a body visual research to be produced leading to a personal interpretation. Through considered investigation and analysis you will develop your ideas through advancing technical experimentation in a range of processes. Access is provided to a broad range of practical and digital production workshops, establishing an increasingly independent learning experience.

Assessment: 60% research & development and 40% coursework

Block 2: Creative Realisation

This module focuses on advancing your research, creative and technical skills, whilst providing the opportunity to strengthen your personal design direction.

The project design brief will be co-created by the staff and you through negotiation, establishing a platform for a body of visual and technical research to be produced.

Thorough investigation and analysis allows you to develop your ideas through advancing technical experimentation in a range of processes and materials. You will be encouraged to compete in both national and global design awards which will further expose your work in the wider context.

Assessment: 70% research & development and 30% coursework

Block 3 and Block 4: Design Resolution

This module focuses on resolving your personal design direction by providing an opportunity to advance your independent research, creative and technical methods.

The project design brief will be co-created by the staff and you through negotiation, establishing a platform for a body of individually focused visual and technical research to be produced. Through thorough investigation and analysis, you will develop your ideas by advancing your technical experimentation in a variety of processes and materials. Access is provided to a broad range of practical and digital production workshops, establishing an increasingly independent learning experience. This will be further underpinned by teaching and support from the Design Cultures department.

For Design Cultures, you will consolidate your skills of research, organization, critical analysis, and communication in order to develop and agree a self-directed title for an extended essay or alternative assessment. A link between the written assignment and studio projects is encouraged to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory and personal design practice.

Assessment: 75% design development & resolutions and 25% essay

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

Structure

The focus of your first year will be to ‘Investigate’ through a grounding in research, concept development, 2D illustration, basic technical skills and design development. The second year aims to ‘Develop’ your skills and knowledge, building on the foundation gained in the first year. Your third year will ‘Consolidate’ your learning by bringing together all the skills you have learnt into a final product that reflects your chosen area of focus and individual design aesthetic.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical studio sessions, tutorials, workshops and self-directed study. The assessments are designed to build on each other as you progress in your studies and you will have opportunities to receive feedback on your work throughout your learning journey.

You are encouraged to enter national and international competitions including the Moda competition, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Footwear awards, the Worshipful Company of Patternmakers Orthopaedic awards and the CIONE biomechanical award. Our students have had numerous competition successes with recent prizes at Graduate Fashion Week, Fashanne and the Drapers Footwear Awards.

Contact hours

In your first year you will normally attend around 15 hours of timetabled taught sessions (lectures and tutorials) each week, and we expect you to undertake at least 24 further hours of independent study to complete project work and research.

Footwear Design in the spotlight

Student work

More from our students

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Our facilities

We offer specialised resources tailored to the needs of our footwear design students. Our well-equipped, open-plan studio provides an inspirational teaching space for footwear design skills and illustration, and a study area for creativity that is bathed in natural light. We have specialist cutting tables, and a range of specialist tools for pattern making, as well as access to digital design software and 3D printing tools that will help you create and develop your digital portfolio.

Footwear Workshops

From 3D Printing to post-machines, we have a range of facilities to support you.

Footwear Workshops

Vijay Patel Building

It is a major landmark on the De Montfort University campus and provides students and staff with the space and resources they need to thrive.

Explore the Vijay Patel

Our expertise

Profile picture for Nanette Westberg-Brown

Nanette Westberg-Brown

Programme Leader

Nanette brings a wealth of experience and technical knowledge in women's footwear and a strong commitment to education. She is dedicated to preparing students for their future careers and nurturing valuable industry connections.

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Jonathan Morss

Senior Lecturer in Footwear Design

Jonathan is recognised for his expertise in Footwear Design and successful entrepreneurial ventures. His career includes designing at Nike and Adidas.

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Phil Stewart

Senior Lecturer in Footwear Design

Phil is a highly accomplished lecturer with expertise in pattern cutting, and manufacturing. He is honoured as one of the ‘Footwear50’ by the prestigious British Footwear Association.

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Michaela Wilson-George

Technical Instructor in Footwear Design

Experienced Technical Instructor shaping future footwear designers with industry insights and technical expertise.

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Dr Elizabeth Lambourn

Professor of Material Histories

A broad background in Design History teaching. Her own research focuses on interactions between the Middle East and South Asia.

Awards, memberships and links

Ranked as one of the best fashion schools in the world for 2022 and 2023 (CEOWORLD, 2023) and in the top 10 in the UK for 'career after 15 months' (The Guardian University Guide 2022), our innovative and widely-respected courses help prepare students for fulfilling futures in this fast-paced industry.

Green Gown Award logo

Green Gown Award

The School of Fashion and Textiles won the Next Generation Learning and Skills Award in the Green Gowns Awards 2021 and received global recognition in the International Green Gown Awards 2022. These awards are the gold standard for sustainability in universities around the world and this puts DMU at the forefront of sustainable fashion and textiles education in the UK. Sustainability is at the heart of our curriculum and teaching, empowering our students to be agents of change within the industry.

UK Fashion and Textiles Association logo

UK Fashion and Textiles Association

We are members of the UK Fashion and Textiles Association which ensures our teaching stays up to date with the latest developments in the sector and provides valuable industry links that enhance our courses.

Logos for The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers

Cordwainers and Pattenmakers

The Footwear Design course at De Montfort University has a prolific history spanning many decades, producing hugely talented and successful graduates, and maintaining exceptional links within the industry with various individuals, brands and organisations. The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers both provide vital support to the course through their generous monetary funding, enabling us to recognise and honour student achievements within their studies with us.

Each year, The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers sponsor our Classic Bespoke Footwear Award, whilst the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers sponsor our Bespoke Orthopaedic Footwear Award. Both awards are part of our specialist Bespoke Principles module of study, which is one of the oldest forms of manufactured footwear, providing students with unique skills and hands-on training in the shoemaking techniques involved in producing Bespoke, Orthopaedic, and Biomechanical Performance footwear.

The continuing support of The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers for the Footwear Design Programme at De Montfort University is central to its success in preparing students for their future roles in industry. Their support provides encouragement and confidence as well as much needed opportunities to extend their study and skill.

What makes us special

3 students looking at a laptop in a soft study space.

Block learning

With Education 2030, you’ll learn in a focused ‘block’ teaching format, where you study one subject at a time instead of several at once. As a result, you will receive faster feedback through more regular assessment, have a more simplified timetable, and have a better study-life balance. That means more time to engage with your DMU community and other rewarding aspects of university life.

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DMU Global

DMU Global is the award-winning international experience programme for DMU students, aiming to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons.

Students on this course have been on DMU Global trips to shoe factories, tanneries and exhibitions in Italy, France and Spain. They have also visited to Copenhagen to explore sustainability in the fashion and textiles industry and travelled further afield to New York.

Where we could take you

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Placements to make you work-ready

Our Careers Team can help to hone your professional skills with mock interviews and practice aptitude tests, and an assigned personal tutor will support you throughout your placement.

Previous Footwear Design students have taken up placements at renowned brands such as Puma, Clarks and Lacoste.

SAM LILLEY - with Cordwainers Footwear Award

Your future career

Our graduates have forged successful careers within the footwear industry ranging from roles in design, technical product development, buying and marketing. They work for big brands internationally such as Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Sophia Webster, New Balance, Adidas, Nike, Lacoste, Kickers, Dr. Martens, Irregular Choice, Kurt Geiger, Dune, Office, Next and Foot Soldiers to name but a few.

Graduate Sam Lilley won top prize at the prestigious Cordwainers Footwear Awards 2022 in London and has landed a job with luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen.

Course specifications

Course title

Footwear Design

Award

BA (Hons)

UCAS code

WWF7

Institution code

D26

Study level

Undergraduate

Study mode

Full-time

Part-time

Start date

September 2024

Duration

Three years full-time, four years full-time with a placement. Six years part-time.

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds.

  • Art and Design Foundation or
  • 112 points from at least 2 A levels
  • BTEC Extended Diploma DMM
  • International Baccalaureate: 26+ Points or
  • T Levels Merit

Plus five GCSEs grades 9-4 including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above.

  • Pass Access with 30 Level 3 credits at Merit and GCSE English (Language or Literature) at grade 4 or above

We will normally require students to have had a break from full time education before undertaking the Access course.

  • We also accept the BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Interview and portfolio

Interview required: No

Portfolio required: Yes

Please see our portfolio advice page for full details.

Additional costs

Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs, which for this programme could include the following:

  • Art and design materials: £155 in your first year, rising to £200 in your second year and £275 in your third year to include your final major project. These costs may vary depending on what materials you choose to work in.
  • Specialist equipment: £100 in your first year to purchase footwear making tools
  • Specialist printing: £50 in your first year, rising to £100 in your second year and £150 in your third year.

There will also be a range of optional showcasing activities that will be available to you, the costs of which will vary depending on the opportunities you choose.