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Hot stepper

Shoes today have become more than just footwear. With the demand growing like never before, the scope of work for a shoe technologist has also become wider.

education Updated: Dec 20, 2011 15:04 IST

The lowdown
Shoes today have become more than just footwear. With the demand growing like never before, the scope of work for a shoe technologist has also become wider. A shoe technologist not only designs a footwear product as per fashion trends but also decides the kind of material that has to be used for the product. A technologist also uses the requisite technical know-how to enhance the performance of the footwear. The job of a shoe technologist involves spending a lot of time with designers and engineers, reviewing product designs and testing results. He also does a lot of research outside the footwear industry in generating new concepts

Clockwork
Every day is different
9am: Reach office
10am: Spend time with designers and engineers, review product designs and testing results
12pm: Research the footwear industry to generate new concepts
2pm: Explain latest innovations to the sales groups and accounts, as well as brief the marketing and advertising agency
4pm: Test the prototype

The payoff
In India, a trainee footwear designer/footwear technician earns Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh per annum. An executive footwear designer/ technician gets Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per annum

Skills/Traits
* A strong passion for sports in general and athletic shoes in particular is very important
* Identifying opportunities (and these often come disguised as problems) is important as well
* The tenacity of being a good problem solver (engineering methods help here) is critical because your first solution is rarely the correct one

Getting there
To start with, there are a lot of blogs and websites dedicated to the shoe industry. For a two-year PG diploma in management - footwear technology (PGDM-FT) from the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), graduation in any stream is a must. Admission is through an all-India entrance exam

Institutes and URLs
* The Footwear Design and Development Institute
http://www.fddiindia.com/
* The Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai
http://www.clri.org/

Pros and cons
* One does not always get one’s way. Some of the best ideas may never see the light of day
* You may work with international brands as well

With global retail chains sourcing footwear from India, there is huge opportunity for experts who keep track of the technology and design Saral Budhiraja, founder, The Shoe Men, New Delhi