Aspiring athletic footwear designers have a new place to hone their talent.
New York’s Parsons The New School for Design will launch the Pensole program this week with a four-week curriculum concentrating on athletic footwear design. The program is founded by former Jordan Brand footwear design director D’Wayne Edwards.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for an awful long time,” said Edwards, who left his post at the division of Nike in April to focus solely on Pensole. “As a kid, I always wanted to be a [sneaker] designer, but there were no schools that actually taught it.”
More than 240 students worldwide applied for the program by submitting designs on crowdsourcing platform Mesh01, and only 23 were selected to register for the course. Taught by Edwards and three other instructors, including one resident Nike designer, lessons include everything from material selection to market research.
“The course is designed like a job internship,” Edwards said. “It’s not just learning how to draw shoes, but also understanding how to target a consumer and about the company you’re designing for.”
Students earn four-college credits through Parsons after completion of the course. Launched last year, the Pensole program was previously hosted at Art Center College of Design in California and the University of Oregon.