The Art of Sketching Sneakers: Unlock Your Design Creativity

In the beginning,
it took me very long to figure out how to draw sneakers.
I was trying to guess a miracle method through infinite trial and error.

I remember how I could copy existing shoes,
but I came to create my own from imagination, I was lost.

The Art of Sketching Sneakers: Unlock Your Design Creativity

This blog post aims to expand on these concepts
and offer practical applications for those who wish to delve into the world of sneaker design.

You do not have to reinvent the wheel.
Learn the basics of drawing shoes first, so you can become truly creative.

You could be a sneaker enthusiast or a professional Footwear designer,
Today we unlock your shoe design creativity in this Sketching shoe video introduction

1. Always draw a shoe template first

In any artistic endeavor, staring at a blank page can feel daunting.
To overcome this in shoe designing, artists often use a ‘shoe last’
– a template or mold around which shoes are fashioned.

This step is the foundation.

Drawing multiple “shoe lasts” stimulates creativity by providing
a solid base for unlimited possibilities for new designs.

The better you master the proportion and the form of the ‘shoe last’, the better you get for a great design.

2. Draw the upper of the shoe

Sketching sneakers is typically fast-paced;
each sketch usually takes about two to five minutes.

The goal initially is not perfection but exploration
– prioritizing quantity over quality broadens our chances of striking gold with innovative ideas.

This iterative approach begins with generating various ideas
before narrowing them down to one or a few proposals that stand out from others.

A typical sneaker consists of several unique components such as:

  • the heel cap,
  • U-throat,
  • laces,
  • tongue,
  • toe cap,
  • quarter (the side panels), and outsole…

Each element serves a specific purpose but also offers opportunities for customization
playing with these parts allows us to invent fresh designs.

3. Dare to be special

To stand out from the crowd,
you need to draw shoe designs differently from others.

At the early stage, do not think too much about what is possible or not.

Remember that daring proposals are memorable
and can make you shine amongst other designers!
Dare to draw thinking out of the box!

We call this iteration.


One crucial piece of advice shared was not to focus too much on making your first sketches perfect;
instead, concentrate on enjoying the journey and learning from it!

Sketches also serve as efficient communication tools
among colleagues or clients during brainstorming sessions speeding up decision-making processes.

Inspiration for new designs might be closer than you think!
As a designer, you take the habit of observing your surroundings and grab inspiration anywhere you go.

You may look at your recent experiences or memories.
They could be integrated into your designs creating something truly personal and unique.

4. Express emotions with your lines

Drawing techniques like expressing different emotions through your lines
might bring out unique perspectives in your sketches too!

Try to draw following your emotions.
If you feel grumpy, the line quality of your sketch will be tight, maybe more “stressed”.
However, if you want a gentle design, you gotta switch your mood to peace and draw with soft lines.

5. Think users’ needs

To come up with a quality design for a shoe, designers search for user’s needs.
For instance, a designer might add extra material to a tennis shoe on the side, to block lateral movements in tennis, enhancing player performance.

While sketching, maintaining correct proportions is crucial for realistic results;
using the actual shoe as a guide helps ensure this accuracy.

6. Details of the shoe

When you come up with your overall sneaker design, it is now time for the Zen phase.
The Zen phase in designing allows designers time to contemplate their ideas, and refine small details.

To finalize your sketch, you can add cosmetic details such as

  • tags or notes,
  • serial numbers,
  • words,
  • or brands to enhance realism even further.

You also use that phase to look for adding clarity to your design.
Ask yourself if there are any elements that need to be clarified.

7. Coloring the sneaker

Quick tools that allow painting or coloring speed up the process while creating volume and depth in your sketches. You could borrow color palettes from flags or fashion trends… for an added creative boost!

Finally, remember that quick sketching not only creates realistic portrayals
but also generates numerous design ideas.

BONUS: Get your FREE Sneaker book

Grab your pen and start exploring this fascinating world of sneaker designs today!
And if you need some guidance along the way – ’37 Secrets of Sneaker Designers’ book is available for download absolutely free!

Get your FREE Sneaker book pdf
Get your FREE Sneaker book

Software: Morpholio Trace on iPAD