Career Profile Examples

Study Areas
Course Types

Shoe Maker

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects 5 years to 2016-17: less than 5 000 jobs across Australia
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: Varies greatly dependent on your job profile. to (Source: DEEWR Australian Jobs 2012:
Brief Footwear that fits like a glove is hard to find, and the bespoke footwear and leatherwork industry is currently an expanding one, in response to client demand. Everyone appreciates shoes that are comfortable and functional, and most importantly, unique.

Quick Profile Navigation


"If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour", or alternatively, learn to make it yourself. Bespoke shoemaking is the craft of producing hand-made individual footwear, to the clients exact shape, size and the design preference.

Similar Interests?

Not quite the career you are looking for? Please try the related course profiles below:

Education Requirements

This has traditionally been an occupation where people have developed their skills on the job. You will find that many people have chosen this occupation because their relatives have also been involved in it, At this stage only 37% of people working as shoe makers have a Certificate III or Certificate IV. To have the best chance of gaining employment in this industry further study is recommended. Courses listed on the TAFE SA website under Fashion & Footwear will provide you with more information for this and related careers.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate IV in Custom Made Footwear. Pathways include the Certificate III in Custom Made Footwear.

Career Path

Employment for shoemakers in mass production is expected to decline, with very few positions available. Growth is in the niche market area.


Footwear Production


Rose-Anne Russell –Shoe designer/maker
“Studying Custom-made Footwear Cert III and IV at TAFESA equipped me with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge in the area of footwear design and pattern making, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the practise of shoemaking. This then gave me the confidence I needed to set up my own business, where I have now been custom making shoes for a broad base of clients for 10 years. My journey began in a Studio environment, practicing with a small collective of shoemakers, to then venturing out on my own, setting up a successful business in Adelaide. I initially set up my business in a shop on Portrush Road, Glenunga, and successfully operated from there for several years. However, just as my 3 year lease was to be renewed, my husband and I bought a property in the Barossa Valley at Springton, where we then decided to set up an “open Studio” for handmade shoes and accessories, which is where my business is now flourishing.
The beauty of this industry is that there are so many different avenues that one can pursue. I have developed in areas of leatherwork that are of particular interest to me. I taught myself the art of bag making, and now share these skills with students in Short courses. I am also developing my own unique range of shoes, which I hope to build on seasonally. I have also exhibited extensively in the Barossa, and am excited by the prospects of creating and supplying niche markets and discovering where this journey will take me next!…..“

Nature of the Job

Shoe makers normally work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Longer hours are likely when preparing samples for buyers or shows. Most designers work in a studio or small workshop.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Shoe makers must enjoy practical and manual activities. They need to have good hand-eye coordination and are able to work quickly and accurately. They should also be free from allergies to glue and polish.

Typical Occupational Example

Rosie Russell –Shoe designer/maker/bag maker
"My week consists of meeting with clients, discussing what exactly they are looking for in a shoe. Often they will have tried on or seen a pair of shoes in my studio that they like.From here I take the appropriate measurements of their feet. I discuss toe shape, heel height etc and decide on what leather the shoe will be made with. I have various different soling materials and we look at them and work out which is the most appropriate for them. We then discuss price and the time frame that it will take me to put the shoes together.
A deposit is paid and the order is placed. Sometimes I will call the client back to do a fitting; this depends on the shoe itself and whether the foot may be difficult to fit in some way. In my studio I have ready to wear shoes and a display of handbags and accessories which I sell directly to the public.
A lot of my income comes from this, as it creates a visual for the customer and often leads to an order. I find people enjoy and are inspired from seeing the finished product. I also sell on line through “etsy”, this adds to my turnover and is a very user friendly way of selling around the word. A few upmarket design based galleries and outlets also stock my accessories, which has proved very successful. As a bag maker I often do bag repairs e.g. relining them or lengthening handles etc.
I enjoy participating in exhibitions, some with a group of artists and sometimes solo. This vents my need to let the imagination go and it is here that I discover a new direction to take my work. This is also a great way to make the public aware of my designs and enhances my business. A day at work for me is a day at play."For further information, contact:

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (SA)
PO Box 137 Welland SA 5007
Ph: (08) 8241 5855
Fax: (08) 8346 8423

Footwear Manufacturers Association of Australia (National Office)
22 Ceylon St Nunawading VIC 3131
Ph: (03) 9894 4470
Fax: (03) 9894 4035

Earning Potential

The starting salary is about $25,000 per year. Salary is dependent on your job profile which include owner of a shoe making business, designer, production development roles, buying and range building.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online