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:

  • the bad shoe proportion,
  • the difficulty to visualize the shoe in “3D”.

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. 

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About The Author


Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. 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 to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at : )



    • 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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