You are here:

Inventing New Products/Inventions/Wedge shoe prototype & manufacture


Hi Penny.

I see you've answered a few questions on similar subjects to mine. The answers were helpful but I have a few more specific questions I'd like to ask you.

I've always been interested in shoe design but have no formal training. I do believe, though, that I have some excellent ideas for shoes designs, and can sketch these accurately with the intention of getting prototypes made. I would love for this to turn into a profit-making venture - but initially it's just something that I feel I need to do for myself.

The shoes I'm designing initially are wedge mules for women. I live in the UK, and have some time to invest in this project as I'm currently on a career break. If this were to go well and I sold designs or even finished products to retailers (or sold them myself online), I have further ideas for both men's and women's shoe designs.

I would like to know:

* Whether it's necessary to get prototypes made in the Far East. I don't expect you to know whether there are any UK-based prototypers (!) but it would be good to know if the Far East is the only feasible option. I'd love to have input in the prototypes - I have a very specific idea of what I want and would be disappointed to send sketches and a lot of money and receive an unsatisfactory prototype 3 months later

* Whether it's worth acquiring 3D CAD modelling expertise, and if so whether you know the most-recognised software (otherwise I'll be submitting sketches, dimensions and material requests only)

* Whether 3D printing is a viable option yet for realising at least the shape (if not the material) of the shoe

Any other words of wisdom or encouragement you could give would be much appreciated!

Many thanks,


Hi Rich,

You wrote: from a personal viewpoint: I don't expect you to know whether there are any UK-based prototypers (!)

a)Really? And why not pray tell? (LOL!) I’m British like you!!! I figured you might be in London but noted later you’re in Sheffield hence why so many London online contacts on list (my bad!). They all make good reading and learning though.

b)But it’s true I do not specifically know the best or the worst but I do have a few contacts all whom seem to offer an “educational” focus which may answer or expand on your questions in  more depth (my single link per # below usually doubles itself (no idea why) after it’s posted but hopefully this won’t happen as it’s somewhat confusing trying to separate where one link ends and a duplication newly beings):  


1. Shoe prototype classes (depending on where you live it may/may not be close. But you could try local Universities within X range from where you reside to see if they have classes too since you now have time on your hands):

2. Think carefully about how you might her approach her (below link). As a student or potential buyer? How much more data might she give you if you contacted her from what “hat” especially since her time has value.

Article: Understanding the shoe making process: design, story boards, prototype, CAD, meeting clients sample, final samples, etc.  
Jessica Good, Freelance Footwear Designer
Contact: +44 (0)7884 180108 ///

3. FAQs with an education emphasis:

4. CordWainers Footwear

3. London shoe prototyper

4. London College of Fashion (shoe design):
  Footwear is a major discipline within the fashion industry - this creative and technical course will give you the skills
  to start a career in this discipline.

London College of Fashion
20 John Prince's St  London W1G 0B
+44 20 7 6000

5. 3D Printer article:

6. Rachel Park (contact for 3D printing in the UK) She’s mentioned at the end of the below article

All the best,
Penny Ballou  

Inventing New Products/Inventions

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Penny Ballou


The Invention Process; Royalties; Licensing Inventions/Products; Pricing; Direct to Market; Marketing/Promotions; Patent Searching; DIY patent writing; Types of patents/costs/how to's; Funding (grants and Angel investors); Prototyping; Off-Shore sourcing.


I am founder of an inventors group; Advisory Board President of; former Licensing Executive Society member; researcher for and a consultant; plus moderate and contribute to several online inventor discussion groups.

Enter my email address into any search engine to find them.

Invention development: well-studied and applied in all aspects of the process and an inventor myself with one invention in patent pending and others ramping up. Lived and attended schools in Mainland China and the UK.

©2017 All rights reserved.