Footwear production technicians perform a wide range of activities regarding footwear manufacturing. They are involved in all process phases, including product engineering and different types of construction. They aim at maximising productivity and reducing production costs, assuring the functionality and quality of product and customer satisfaction.
The duties of a footwear production technician typically include, but are not limited to:
- Creating and maintaining production schedules to ensure timely completion of footwear orders
- Overseeing the manufacturing process to ensure that shoes are produced to quality standards
- Troubleshooting production issues and making necessary adjustments to machinery and processes
- Collaborating with designers and engineers to develop new footwear products
- Managing inventory levels to ensure that materials are available for production
- Maintaining a safe and clean work environment
- Training and supervising production staff
The following job titles also refer to footwear production technician:
industry foreman specialised in shoemaking
industry forewoman specialized in shoemaking
industry forewoman specialised in shoemaking
industry foreman specialized in shoemaking
Footwear production technicians work in manufacturing facilities, which can be noisy and require standing for long periods of time. They may work on a production line, and the work can be repetitive. Footwear production technicians may be required to work long hours or shift work to meet production demands.
To become a footwear production technician, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. Some employers may prefer candidates with a post-secondary diploma in a related field such as industrial engineering or manufacturing technology. On-the-job training is typically provided, and some employers may offer apprenticeship programs. Strong mechanical skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities are essential for success in this role.
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.
Footwear production technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Footwear production technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to footwear production technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of footwear production technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of footwear production 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 footwear production technician.
- Footwear finishing techniques: The related machinery, tools, chemicals and mechanical finishing procedures applied to footwear manufacturing.
- Footwear bottoms pre-assembly: The equipment and techniques used for the preparation of bottom components in the footwear industry, including soles, heels, insoles, etc.
- Assembling processes and techniques for cemented footwear construction: Technology, equipment, machines and tools for lasting and soling in case of cemented footwear constructions.
- Pre-stitching processes and techniques for footwear and leather goods: Technology including machinery and techniques for the preparation for leather goods components and footwear uppers.
- Assembling processes and techniques for California footwear construction: Technology, equipment, machines and tools for assembling California footwear construction type.
- 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.
- Assembling processes and techniques for goodyear footwear construction: Technology, equipment, machines and tools for assembling Goodyear footwear construction types.
- 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 uppers pre-assembly: The equipment and techniques used for pre-assembling operations of uppers in the footwear industry.
- 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 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 footwear production 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.
- Plan footwear manufacture: Design the manufacturing process for each footwear model. Plan the stages of footwear manufacturing and operations for production. Plan the usage of materials and footwear components. Select machines and equipment. Plan the workforce. Calculate direct and indirect costs associated with manufacturing. Plan the maintenance of machines and equipment.
- 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.
- Communicate commercial and technical issues in foreign languages: Speak one or more foreign languages in order to communicate commercial and technical issues with various suppliers and clients.
- Manage production of footwear or leather goods: Plan the production of footwear or leather goods according to the company’s objectives, deadlines and available resources. Distribute, coordinate and control all activities and the various production phases using information from technical sheets and organisation and methods. Strive to optimise quality, productivity and safety. Collaborate with all linked departments. Report on production, quality, productivity deviations and propose corrective measures.
- Use communication techniques: Apply techniques of communication which allow interlocutors to better understand each other and communicate accurately in the transmission of messages.
- 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.
- 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.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of footwear production technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- 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.
- Footwear stitching techniques: The technologies, equipment, machines and processes for closing the upper components of footwear by various seams such as closed, lapped, butted, welted, piped and moccasin.
- Footwear creation process: Footwear creation projects starting from inspiration to technical design and manufacturing by following several stages. Latest trends in footwear materials, components, processes, and concepts.
- Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of footwear production technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- 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.
- 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 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 methods for footwear and leather goods manufacturing: Produce technical specifications such as drawings, cards, and sheets for the stages of the production of footwear and leather goods. Analyse the technical sheets, defining the working methods. List the operation sequences and distribute the work for the manufacturing of each model.
- Coordinate finishing room in footwear manufacturing: Coordinate the flow of materials and footwear components. Manage orders and organise the activity of the finishing room. Distribute machinery, operations and workers. Manage and optimise production and materials. Divide and organise pieces and components according to the footwear model or size and send them directly to the warehouse. Organise in-process quality control.
- Calculate the productivity of the production of footwear and leather goods: Analyse the footwear and leather goods production capacity and collect information concerning human and technological resources. Follow the production process and make adjustments to the work methods and operative times according to the technical specification of the model, human resources and equipment. Optimise the production lines and increase the productivity.
- Plan supply chain logistics for footwear and leather goods: Plan, organise and monitor logistics and supply chain activities based on the footwear or leather goods company’s main objectives regarding quality, cost, delivery, and flexibility.
- Coordinate closing room in footwear manufacturing: Coordinate the flow of materials and footwear components. Manage orders and organise the activity of the closing room. Distribute machinery, operations and workers. Manage and optimise production and materials. Divide and organise pieces and components according to the footwear model or size and send them directly to the assembling room or to the warehouse. Organise in-process quality control.
- 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.
- Make technical drawings of fashion pieces: Make technical drawings of wearing apparel, leather goods and footwear including both technical and engineering drawings. Use them to communicate or to convey design ideas and manufacturing details to pattern makers, technologists, toolmakers, and equipment producers or to other machine operators for sampling and production.
- Coordinate assembling room in footwear manufacturing: Coordinate the flow of materials and footwear components. Manage orders and organise the activity of the assembling room. Distribute machinery, operations and workers. Manage and optimise production and materials. Divide and organise pieces and components according to the footwear model or size and send them directly to the finishing room or to the warehouse. Organise in-process quality control.
- 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.
- Maintain footwear assembling equipment: Produce plans for the frequency, operations, components and materials to be used in the maintenance of footwear. Install, program, tune and provide preventive and corrective maintenance for different machines and equipment involved in the footwear manufacturing. Assess the functionality and performance of the various equipment and machines, detect faults and correct problems, make repairs and substitute components and pieces, and perform routine lubrication as well as perform preventive and corrective maintenance. Register all technical information related to the maintenance.
- 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.
- Coordinate cutting room in footwear manufacturing: Coordinate the flow of materials and footwear components. Manage orders and organise the activity of the cutting room. Distribute machinery, operations and workers. Manage and optimise production and materials. Divide and organise pieces and components according to the footwear model or size and send them directly to the closing room or to the warehouse. Organise in-process quality control.
- Measure working time in footwear and leather goods production: Calculate and establish operative times in footwear and leather goods manufacturing using various method and techniques. Control the production timings, comparing with estimates.
- 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.
- Apply footwear finishing techniques: Apply various chemical and mechanical finishing procedures to footwear by performing manual or machine operations, with or without chemicals, such as heel and sole roughing, dying, bottom polishing, cold or hot wax burnishing, cleaning, removing tacks, inserting socks, hot air treeing for removing wrinkles, and cream, spray or antique dressing. Work both manually and use the equipment and machines, and adjust working parameters.
ISCO group and title
3119 – Physical and engineering science technicians not elsewhere classified