Bespoke footwear technicians perform activities in small production environments (e.g. workshops) where footwear is typically custom-made. They design, prepare, cut and sew, assemble and finish custom made footwear.
Includes people using e-commerce and customisation.
The following job titles also refer to bespoke footwear technician:
custom made footwear technician
customized footwear technician
customized shoe maker
customised shoe maker
A high school diploma is generally required to work as a bespoke footwear technician.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Bespoke footwear technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Bespoke footwear technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to bespoke footwear technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of bespoke footwear technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of bespoke footwear technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of bespoke footwear technician.
- Pattern grading: Know about cutting patterns accurately and grading the patterns to obtain the size series in case of mass production. Know how to mark notches, holes, seam allowances, and other technical specifications. Make adjustments and obtain the final patterns for cutting in order to compensate any identified problems during sampling.
- Footwear equipments: Functionality of the wide range of equipments and the basic rules of regular maintenance.
- Footwear materials: The characteristics, components, advantages and limitations of a wide range of materials used in footwear production: leather, leather substitutes (synthetics or artificial materials), textile, plastic, rubber etc.
- Footwear machinery: The functionality of the wide range of machines, and the basic rules of regular maintenance.
- Manual cutting processes for leather: Cutting rules, variance of the leather properties on its surface and elongation directions of the footwear pieces.
- Footwear manufacturing technology: Footwear processes technology and machinery involved. The footwear manufacturing starts in the cutting/clicking room , cutting the uppers and bottom components. The upper components are joined together in the closing room by following a precise order of specific operations: skiving, folding, sewing etc. The closed upper, the insole and other bottom components are brought together in the assembling room, where the main operations are lasting and soling. The process ends with finishing operations in the finishing and packing room.
- Footwear quality: Quality specifications of materials, processes and final products, the most common defects in footwear, quick tests procedures, laboratory tests procedures and standards, adequate equipment for quality checks. Quality assurance of footwear production processes and fundamental concepts on quality including footwear quality framework and standards.
- Footwear components: Footwear components both for uppers (vamps, quarters, linings, stiffeners, toe puffs etc.) and bottoms (soles, heels, insoles etc.). Ecological concerns and the importance of recycling. Selection of suitable materials and components based on their influence on the footwear style and characteristics, properties and manufacturability. Procedures and methods in chemical and mechanical processing of leather and non-leather materials.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of bespoke footwear technician.
- Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
- Create patterns for footwear: Produce the mean form or shell, a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional shape of the last. Create scaled patterns for uppers and bottom components by manual methods from the designs.
- Practice innovative thinking in the footwear and leather goods industries: Innovate and create in the footwear and leather goods sector. Evaluate new ideas and concepts to turn them into marketable products. Use entrepreneurial thinking in all stages of the product and process development to identify new business opportunities for the targeted markets.
- Apply basic rules of maintenance to leather goods and footwear machinery: Apply basic rules of maintenance and cleanliness on footwear and leather goods production equipment and machines that you operate.
- Create technical sketches for footwear: Be able to use various sketching and drawing techniques, including artistic representation, by hand or by computer, being aware of proportion and perspective, to sketch and draw footwear, lasts, soles, heels etc., both as 2D flat designs or as 3D volumes. Be able to prepare specification sheets with details of materials, components and manufacturing requirements.
- Apply footwear bottoms pre-assembling techniques: Split, scour surfaces, reduce sole edges, rough, brush, apply primings, halogenate the soles, degrease etc. Use both manual dexterity and machinery. When using machines, adjust their working parameters.
- Apply development process to footwear design: Understand the needs of the consumer and analyse the fashion trends. Innovate and develop the footwear concepts from an aesthetic, functional and technological point of view by using a wide range of methods and techniques, selecting materials, components and suitable technologies, adapting new concepts to manufacturing requirements and transforming the new ideas into marketable and sustainable products for mass or customised production. Communicate visually the new designs and ideas.
- Apply assembling techniques for cemented footwear construction: Be able to pull the uppers over the last and fix the lasting allowance on insole, manually or by special machines for forepart lasting, waist lasting, and seat lasting. Apart from the main group of lasting operations, the responsibilities of those assembling footwear cemented types may include the following: bottom cementing and sole cementing, heat setting, sole attaching and pressing, chilling, brushing and polishing, last slipping (before or after finishing operations) and heel attaching etc.
- Prepare footwear samples: Create, test and verify prototypes or samples of footwear against a predefined set of criteria throughout all stages of the manufacturing process. Revise the initial design concepts and implement technical improvements.
- Apply footwear uppers pre-assembling techniques: Prepare lasts and uppers, attach insole, insert stiffener and toe puffs, mould the upper on back part, and condition the uppers before lasting. Perform the above-mentioned operations both manually or by using machines. In case of using machines, adjust working parameters.
- Apply stitching techniques: Apply footwear and leather goods stitching techniques using the appropriate machines, needles, threads and other tools in order to obtain the required model and to comply with the sewing technical specifications.
- Perform manual cutting for footwear uppers: Check and complete cutting orders, select leather surfaces and classify cut pieces. Identify faults and defects on the leather surface. Recognise colours, shades and type of finishes. Use the following tools: knife, pattern templates, cutting board and marking needle.
- Apply fashion trends to footwear and leather goods: Be able to stay up to date on the latest styles, attending fashion shows and review fashion/clothing magazines and manuals, analysing the past and present fashion trends in areas such as footwear, leather goods and clothing market. Use analytical thinking and creative models to apply and to interpret in a systematic way the upcoming trends in terms of fashion and life styles.
- Apply pre-stitching techniques: Apply pre-stitching techniques to footwear and leather goods in order to reduce thickness, to reinforce, to mark the pieces, to decorate or to reinforce their edges or surfaces. Be able to operate various machinery for splitting, skiving, folding, stitch marking, stamping, press punching, perforating, embossing, gluing, uppers pre-forming, crimping etc. Be able to adjust the working parameters of the machinery.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of bespoke footwear technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Footwear and leather goods marketing planning: The principles and methods used in creating a marketing plan and how a company can best position itself compared to its competitors, taking into account the specificities of the footwear and leather goods market.
- Automatic cutting systems for footwear and leather goods: The use and description of automatic systems technologies used in footwear and leather goods industry such as laser cutting, knife cutting, punch cutting, mill cutting, ultra-sound cutting, water jet cutting and the cutting machinery such as swing beam cutting presses, traveling head die cutting presses or strap cutting machines.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of bespoke footwear technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Implement footwear marketing plan: Implement marketing plans according to company specifications, complying with market demand.
- Perform packing of footwear and leather goods: Perform packing and expedition of footwear and leather goods. Perform a final inspection, pack, label, store the orders in the warehouse.
- Apply machine cutting techniques for footwear and leather goods: Adjust and establish the machine technical operating parameters for cutting footwear and leather goods. Check and select the cutting dies, classification of the cut pieces against cutting restrictions, specifications and quality requirements. Check and complete the cutting orders. Perform simple procedures for maintenance of machines.
- Reduce environmental impact of footwear manufacturing: Assess the environmental impact of footwear manufacture and minimise environmental risks. Reduce environmentally harmful work practices in different stages of the footwear manufacturing.
- Develop footwear and leather goods marketing plans: Be able to develop marketing plans and provide directions for marketing strategies of the company, as well as be able to identify potential markets and to perform marketing activities to promote the footwear products of the company.
- Work in textile manufacturing teams: Work harmoniously with colleagues in teams in the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.
- Use IT tools: Application of computers, computer networks and other information technologies and equipment to storing, retrieving, transmitting and manipulating data, in the context of a business or enterprise.
ISCO group and title
7536 – Shoemakers and related workers
- Bespoke footwear technician – ESCO