Learn how to design professional outsoles and midsoles for performance and fashion footwear that can be manufactured within your desired budget and footprint. We have now opened this course permanently for registration. You can watch the videos at your own pace and every month we will have a scheduled live class, during which Defne will review your designs.
The first edition of this course was fully booked with high level professionals! We only have 20 spots available at any time, because your receive a lot of personal mentoring in this course. If the course is fully booked, then you will have to wait until someone has finished. In that case, we will put you on a waiting list. We currently have a few spots available for this course!
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This course is taught by:
I am a sole design expert and footwear designer based in Milan. I came to Milan from Istanbul in 2001 after winning the scholarship competition of Domus Academy. I graduated from Domus with a Masters degree in Fashion Design and Marketing.
After several years of freelancing in apparel, I was invited into the Vibram design team where I worked for 12 years designing soles for the fashion and outdoor market with a vast number of brands.
Since 2017 I have been working as a freelance designer and consultant on the outdoor-active footwear and soles market with my own company DYDesign. I work with sole suppliers and footwear brands from around the world.
I have also been teaching sole design since 2015 in IED -Moda in Milan.
As a designer my curiosity and my passion are my major drives. My job is my playground, and I love to share it with others, which is why I am very excited to join The Footwearists to train other footwear professionals in sole design.
What is this course about?
This course covers all the ins and outs of how to design shoe bottoms (sets of midsoles and outsoles), including materials, prototyping, molding technologies, finishes etc. Once you have finished this course, you can:
Understand and recognize what really makes a great sole!
Identify the ideal sole material and construction for your price target and desired level of sustainability
Engage in a professional conversation with sole mold makers
Read a technical blueprint of a sole and know how to give the right corrections
Create functional sole treds for outdoor and indoor performance sports footwear
Create fashion soles and heels with an eye for detail and sophisticated textures
Understand how the upper and sole can be joined, both in design and construction
Recognize and prevent the most common mistakes in sole design and construction
Who is this course for?
This course is for professional shoe designers that want to increase their skills and knowledge of outsole and midsole design - both for performance and fashion footwear - or might even want to specialize in sole design.
Please note: this is NOT a course for absolute beginners! We are assuming that you are already a professional shoe designer, so we are not teaching any basic sketching or how to colour your designs.
Also please note that this is NOT a course about 3D design of soles. This course focuses on the entire process of sole design and prototyping and you will be asked to make designs, but all sketching is done by hand and in Illustrator. You do not really need to know Illustrator for this course, but we do assume that as a professional designer you can work with software like this.
This course is an ideal combination with our 3D footwear design in Rhino course. This way you understand how to design soles AND you can render your designs in 3D!
We offer an attractive package price with the Rhino training, which you find on the top of the page. You can find more info about the 3D Footwear Design in Rhino course here.
What is the course format?
This course is very hands on and pragmatic. In all her classes Defne actively demonstrates how she designs soles and shares examples from her rich experience.
The course starts with a few classes that take you through all aspects of sole manufacturing and design. After that, you will get to design soles yourself, mentored by Defne. This is why the number of students for this course is limited to 20, so we can give everyone personal attention
You will learn how to create a functional (outdoor) performance sole, a fashion sneaker sole and a high heel.
Classes consist of clear videos that you can follow at your own pace, including several classes where Defne demonstrates how she designs a sole. You will be challenged to design two soles by yourself: one performance outdoor sole and one fashion sneaker sole.
Defne will give one live class each month to review the soles you handed in. You can also just join the live class to see the work of others being reviewed, which is also always very helpful. The live classes take place every last Monday of the month at 8pm CET, 2pm EST and 11am PST. If you want your designs reviewed in the live class, then please hand them in on the Saturday before, so Defne can prepare. The live classes will be recorded and uploaded to the class list as well.
What is included in the course price?
The course price includes a one-year access to all videos and recordings of the live classes. You will also receive all necessary files that are needed to complete your design assignments.
We expect that you will already have the necessary art supplies, such as professional sketching paper, pencils, markers, rulers and a measuring tape.
If you require a certificate of completion of this course, you must have successfully handed in both your design assignments.
After you have completed your design assignments, you will be able to still watch live classes - since you have access for one year - but you cannot hand in designs again. We want to make sure that each student receives personal attention during their course edition.
Since this is a course for professionals, you will make a lot of valuable new contacts for your network. On our community page you can share your experiences and questions. The teachers and management of the course will also share relevant news on the page.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The online course system automatically checks if a single account is used by multiple people and in case of any suspicion it will block access to the classes until further notice. If you want to follow this class with multiple people from one company, then we can give you an attractive package deal. Please contact us for that at email@example.com.
COURSE CONTENTS & DATES
Free trial class with Defne Yalkut
In this free trial class, Defne Yalkut teams up with Adrian Hernandez of Simplicity Works to talk about the contents of the Professional Sole Design Course and the future of sole design.
Class 1 - Sole Manufacturing
This class offers an overview of all aspects of sole manufacturing, from the invention of a sole unit to production. It covers the different sole types, materials for outsoles, midsoles and inserts, various types of molding technologies, upper and sole integration, as well as different finishes for soles, such as prints, lasered textures, inside transparent, metal and plastic parts, textile inserts etc. Defne will also address sustainability aspects, which are important in all classes.
Class 2 - How to read a sole
Now that you can identify various materials and constructions, it is time to learn all technical terms related to soles, including terminology such as gauges. From this moment on we will only speak using the right technical terms related to soles. Defne will show many examples of soles, explaining terminology and analyzing design, material and construction, including technical blueprints of soles. You will not be asked to make those, but you should be able to understand them very well.
In this class she will also explain the general rules to make functional and comfortable sole profiles for both performance and lifestyle sole types.
Class 3 - Soles for performance footwear
In this class we focus on the specific rules, challenges and cost aspects when designing soles for sports performance footwear. Defne will cover the following categories: - Running - Trekking/Trail Running - Basketball - Tennis - Soccer - Watersports Sandals - Winter boots (shells)
Class 4 - Designing a multi-material trekking sole
In this class Defne designs a multi-material trekking sole, from beginning to end, while recording the entire process on video. Of course some parts will be sped up in the video - otherwise it would take a whole day - but you get a full insight into the process, so you can then try it yourself. After this class you will be asked to design your own multi-material tracking sole, including all aspects that were covered in the course.
Class 5 - LIVE CLASS DESIGN CRITIQUE
In this live webinar Defne will discuss the designs for the trekking sole that everyone made for Class 4 and will give personal feedback to each participant. All work that was handed in will be analyzed so you can also learn from each other. This class is live, so students can ask questions about their own work or that of their fellow students. You will receive a link to join this class on Zoom; this is free conference software that works in any country, including China. The class will take place at 8pm CET (Milan time), so most timezones can join.
Class 6 - Fashion sneakers
In this class Defne will focus on soles for sneaker styles that are made for fashion purposes rather than for performance. The class will cover the following subjects:
-Major inventions and a brief history of sneakers
-Big volume and layered sneaker soles (analyzing, tips to save costs)
-Engineered sneaker soles
-Vulcanized sneakers (examples, analyzing), clean essential design soles
-Post molding applications on sneaker soles (spraying, painting, printing, film, lasering)
-Hot knife applications
-Sneaker sole design examples , conceptual designs (like Safa Sahin, Laceless design sketches) for inspiration
Class 7 - Designing a lifestyle fashion sneaker sole
Now you are ready for the next design assignment: creating a fashion sneaker sole. Defne will again demonstrate this first on video. She will choose a very elaborate, complicated design to really challenge you, for instance one that includes an injected EVA midsole, rubber outsole with pods, several surfaces or prints, TPU inserts etc. Again, after her demonstration, you will get two weeks to design your own fashion sneaker sole with an equal level of complexity, taking into account all aspects that were taught in the course, including sustainability and cost considerations
Class 8 - LIVE CLASS DESIGN CRITIQUE
This is again a live webinar on Monday evening at 8pm CET , where Defne will critique the fashion sneaker soles that everyone made for Class 7.
Class 9 - FASHION CASUAL SOLES
This class will focus on fashion casual soles and heels that are not meant for performance. Defne will discuss:
- Urban cupsoles (analysis of fashion and casual soles)
- Wedges and contemporary heels
- Big volume layered soles
- Sheet design----- Surface and pattern design
Class 10 - Talking to the experts
In this unique class Defne will interview the biggest experts in the sole design industry to hear their vision on how to best design soles, how they see the future of sole design, how they can be made more sustainable and so on. This is not a live webinar but a pre-recorded class since not all speakers can join at the same time and some are competitors. You can expect interviews with top designers and innovators from Fin Project, Vibram and Michelin soles and others.