CATEGORY: 3D modeling

Grasshopper for Footwear

Learn the basics of doing parametric generative design for footwear, so you can automate design processes and create complex structures and textures that you could not make any other way.

This course is always open for registration. You can start any time you like. If you have any questions, you can post them on the course community page or request a live session with your instructor.

Please note: you will need to have finished our Rhino course - or have proven prior knowledge of Rhino - before you can enter this course!
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open your mind

What is Grasshopper and why would I want to learn that?

Grasshopper is a visual programming language that runs inside Rhino and it is mainly used to create generative algorithms. This means that rather than creating a single shoe design, like you would in most 3D design programs, you are programming a system that creates a series of 3D designs, based upon the input of data. This opens up a whole new array of possibilities for designers, but it is also a very different way of thinking, which is much more mathematical than what most designers are used to.
Getting your head around this way of thinking is generally the biggest hurdle for those that are starting on Grasshopper and we will tell you upfront that it is not easy, but very rewarding once you are able to work this way.
Many designers would like to learn Grasshopper to create the complex 3D lattices that they know from brands like Adidas Futurecraft, and we will indeed cover how to make those, but we will also look at Grasshopper in a broader perspective, teaching you how it could function as a system to automate and customize footwear design in general.

the future is generative

Why create only one design at a time if you could design a system that generates many...

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  • 8 modules
  • 30 video classes (> 8 hrs)
  • 5 recorded webinars (> 8 hrs)
  • multiple downloadable grasshopper definitions per module
  • 2 ebooks
  • optional one-on-one live sessions
  • 1 certification
  • access for 12 months

Course Format

This course consist of 4 modules with short videos that you can follow on your own, as well as 5 longer webinars of about 2 hours each, which dig deeper into certain algorithms. You receive all the definitions that Lorenzo is creating in the course. The idea is that you will recreate them by yourself and play around with them. 

This course covers several basic to intermediate operations in Grasshopper that are specifically relevant to footwear designers. After this course you will be able to make lattice and voronoid structures, for instance for midsoles, and you will have a general understanding of how Grasshopper could automate custom footwear design. 

Grasshopper is a steep learning curve, so we encourage you to ask questions on the course community page. You can also request an optional live class with Lorenzo if you have several questions that you would like to have answered.

You will receive a certificate of completion of the course once you have sent in your completed exercises. Since this is a course for professionals, you will not receive any academic credits for it though.

Course Audience

This course is meant for footwear designers and developers that want to further their skills in parametric, generative design and have already finished our 3D Footwear Modeling in Rhino course. If you did not follow that course, but already learned Rhino somewhere else, then please email us before you enroll, so we can verify that you have the right entry level for this course. You should basically be able to model a full shoe in Rhino before you enter this course.


For this course you will have to have finished our 3D Footwear Modeling in Rhino course or have learnt Rhino somewhere else. 

We also assume you have Rhino 7 (or 6) installed, so Grasshopper is fully integrated. You can download a free trial for 90 days, which should have you covered for both our 3D Footwear Modeling in Rhino course as well as this Grasshopper course.

Grasshopper works on both PC and Mac, however, many plugins that are very useful in Grasshopper are not available for Mac. Generally, if you want to really specialize in 3D design and generative design, we advise Mac users to switch to PC. Even Lorenzo has had to do that recently; it is not a bad as you think ;-)


Lorenzo Masini

Industrial product designer
The course is developed and taught by Lorenzo Masini who has also been teaching the offline courses in Rhino and Grasshopper for The Footwearists for the past 5 years. Lorenzo is an independent product designer based in Florence, Italy, working in numerous roles such as product, exhibition and interior design, product engineering and idea creation.

Because of this broad experience in all kinds of computational design and 3D design, he was asked by SLEM - the institute from which The Footwearists were born - to teach 3D design specifically for footwear, which he has been doing for them ever since. With utmost patience he helps students navigate through any software easily, focusing on what they really need, and helping them to understand how to solve digital design challenges in multiple ways.

When Lorenzo is not designing, he is rapping as part of Cronofillers, a group of talented Italian rappers that comment on the state of our society. Lorenzo just finished a post graduate course in Advanced Robotics in Barcelona, since he is aiming to bring back high-tech manufacturing of design to Italy. He is based in Florence.


I took 3 online courses at Footwearology: "Making: The Future of Footwear", 3D Footwear Design in Rhino and Grasshopper for Footwear. 

I think the most valuable thing is the Footwearology community: here you find people from all over the world and they have different backgrounds and knowledge. So when I have a question about footwear, once I post this to the community, not only Footwearology teachers, but also other participants, who have a different background, will answer and offer worthful information to me.
The education program you have is second to none. Wish I could take it all in. I loved the Grasshopper course in NYC, thanks so much to you and Lorenzo!
Senior Manager Virtual Product Creation at Reebok
I took almost all courses of Footwearology in order to gather the knowledge I need to build my business in performance footwear that is made to size, using automated design and manufacturing systems. 

For instance, Professional Sole Design gave me the background as to where the industry is coming from, whereas the Grasshopper class is offering me a way to automate everything that is going on. So I can now automate my designs for change, which is very important to be able to fit people's feet.
Carol McDonald
OWNER OF GNEISS CONCEPTS and Co-Chair, 3D Body Processing at IEEE Standards Association 
class overview

Course Contents

take a sneak peek


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Each class is split in short sections, so you can easily find specific commands that you want to review again. In this example you see how you can make a simple algorithm to create a 3D Matrix. It illustrates very well the way of working in Grasshopper, as well as what you can do with it.
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