How to draw a side view shoe in 3 tips | TIP119

Shoe drawing is difficult at the start.
Wondering how to draw shoes, we often face these 2 issues:

  • Bad shoe proportion,
  • Difficulty to visualize the shoe in “3D”.



I am excited to announce I am creating a new website dedicated
100% to SHOE DESIGN for all shoe lovers like us! 

The new website will be ready soon.
And to celebrate it, I will reopen
the registration to my Online Sneaker Design course:

If you feel impatient to draw professional sneakers,
do do not miss the launch,
and be among the pioneers to be first informed,
I created this List:

> > Click here to join the: SNEAKER DESIGN COURSE | WAITING  LIST

sneaker sketch pros course cover


As well as Palette (Sketchbook for sneakers and lady shoes), I like to use templates before creating a new design of shoes. My template is not an existing design of the sneaker, but the shoe last drawing.

If you wonder what is a shoe last, it is a standard shape of a standard foot.
In the footwear industry, the standard size is 42 for males and 36 for women. They use the shoe last to create samples mainly for the fitting test and marketing team.

When I was at Adidas in Germany, I remember trying the sneakers for multiple days and then giving them my fitting feedback. It was a great experience as a user but also a footwear designer.

The 2 stages to draw shoes the right way

What helped me to make a huge difference in my shoe drawing learning curve, was drawing with this 2 stages method:

  • Stage 1: Draw the shoe last to get the proportion and the main form
  • Stage 2: Design the shoe design on top of the shoe last

This video below will give you 3 drawing Tips to constantly use + the common mistakes to avoid.

If you want to additional drawing tutorials, I made a live drawing demo in Madrid with a few of my students in a cafe in Madrid: How to draw a shoe easy in perspective.


3 essential Tips on How to draw shoes – Side view –

00:14 | TIP 1

“Higher the heel, shorter the shoe length”

When we first draw a shoe, we often draw what’s in our brain instead of reality. However, to draw shoes as a beginner, our brain is not that reliable. I show you in the video 2 common mistakes that our brain likes to trap us in! Of course, I will also show you how to solve them.

Higher the heel, shorter the shoe length

01:24 | TIP 2

“Draw the tail for 3D contour lines”

Your sketch looks flat.
It’s a simple mistake that a lot of beginner designers do. When they start drawing the side view, their brain goes in mode 2D. The drawing becomes flat like a technical drawing.

But, in reality, perspective still applies. To solve this, there is a simple trick:

  • Draw the tail when you draw your contour lines.

Use the tail for 3D contour lines

02:18 | TIP 3

“Visualize and draw with The shoemaker contour lines”

We usually use contour lines like 3D software.

For drawing shoes, we use a different logic.
The one the shoemakers use to create their designs.
I discovered created this method when I used to work in the shoe factory in China. I was learning from the shoe last maker on how he makes the shoes. I get inspired by his techniques to create the shoe drawing method I teach my students. 

These lines are used by the shoemaker himself to take measurements.

Visualize and draw with The shoe maker contour lines

In further videos, I will tell you more about How these lines help me to design shoes with a “fluid movement” and create a dynamic sketching style!

Hope it helps, let me know your questions and comments.

PS: Creating a template of shoe last allows you to get an easy shoe drawing method. You can multiply your ideas by using them as an underlay. 

About The Author


Hello! I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim is to help you all along with your design projects and journey! Leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at : ) Chou-Tac


  • Daniel

    Reply Reply May 23, 2021

    Hi, I’m Daniel. I’d like to design sneakers also but I don’t know where to start. I’ve seen the whole *’start with a shoe last’* stuff but I need references. And is that website ready yet? I mean the one that’s totally dedicated to sneaker designing alone.

  • Allen Chou

    Reply Reply November 6, 2020

    Hi Chou-Tac,

    I’m a beginner when it comes to sneaker design. Your videos are very useful but I still have some questions for you:
    1. What specifically should I focus on first?
    2. There are so many different types of lasts out there and I’m not sure which one to use as reference. Any recommendation?
    3. Is it necessary to learn how to draw actual feet vs. just learn how to draw last?

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply November 7, 2020

      Hello Allen,

      Glad you ask questions.

      When you start with the right technique, you can save months or years of guessing! 🙂

      For 1,
      to get started you need to focus on drawing the shoe last. It will give you the main proportion, so you can then focus on creativity and fun! (In other words, do not start by drawing detail of the sneaker)

      For example, if you want to draw a glove, you draw a hand first.
      It is the same logic for a shoe.

      For 2,
      My recommendation is to start with a shoe last for Lady. They are more feline and organic. They are a great inspiration to draw sneaker design with fluid lines.

      This ‘TIP’ is given to me by the French senior designer of the Adidas Innovation Team. He gets inspired by women’s foot to design the Football shoes played at the World Cup.

      You can see some of his sketches and work here:

      For 3,
      I recommend you to study feet on the overall first. It will help you better understand the shoe last and how to design your sneakers’ features.

      Don’t wait to be perfect to start.

      You don’t have to be an expert sketcher of an anatomy foot.
      The shoe last will help you get started and get great results fast.

      Then keep going to level up your skills by doing.

      Your best influence is your own foot! (Since it is always with you :P)

      Look at how it flexes, and where are the support points.
      If you d sneakers for athletes, observe them, do research.
      And if you can, interview them.

      I hope I answered your questions Allen.

      See you!

      PS: I share about shoe last here.

      • Allen

        Reply Reply November 11, 2020

        Hi Chou-Tac,

        Thank you, wasn’t expect to receive such a detailed feedback like that!

        After taking your advices and drawing more shoes, I want to ask:

        1. Is there a resource/template of feline shoe last and I can practice with? (sideview + perspective)

        2. I saw your perspective drawing on shoes but is it possible to further break down the process and fundamentals of it?

        3. It’s really hard to find shoe sketches tutorial (not rendering). Is there any way I participate your new class (I know the window is closed)? If not, are there other sources you recommend?


        • Chou-Tac

          Reply Reply November 11, 2020

          Hi Allen,

          For the 1,
          I do provide this in my sneaker design sketching course for my students.

          They learn how to draw on the shoe last taking benefit of the natural properties of the organic curves.

          For the 2,
          The idea is to think like a shoemaker. Not only like a “Classic Product designer”. So you can draw the shoe design with fluidity and great creativity.

          There are multiple aspects to take into consideration.
          To make it complete, I gathered all the info and explain step-by-step in my course as well. 🙂

          For the 3,
          Sure, I will be happy to have you on board!
          Let me think about the next reopening!
          I receive more and more requests about this.

          Keep in touch.

          I am actually working on building a new website focused 100% on footwear design.

          I try to make a decision fast to let you know asap ;).

          Thank you!


    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply August 20, 2020

      Hello David,

      Do you mean you need basic foundation for design sketching, or specifically on Sneaker design?

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