Cordwainers’ Diploma in Shoemaking

Course overview

This in-depth shoemaking course offers a unique introduction to the industry, and an opportunity for you to learn all aspects of footwear pattern-cutting and making.

Before beginning the production of footwear you will be introduced to footwear pattern cutting, foot anatomy, size-fitting systems and using contemporary lasts and last measurements.

You will be taught through practical demonstrations and hands-on workshops with access to the full range of industrial equipment used in the shoemaking process. Additionally, you will be guided through the many styles of shoe, the types of leather used in the shoe industry and learn what leather works best with what shoe.

At the end of the course you will have produced four or five pairs of shoes, a comprehensive set of reference notes and supporting patterns for all of the shoes.

You will learn

  • How to prepare and fit the many components involved with shoemaking, including the linings, insoles, stiffeners and heel coverings
  • How to create and complete a sample specification ticket used in the industry
  • How to click (cut leather by hand)
Entry requirements
  • At least four GCSEs at grade 4 and above (A* to C) must include Maths and English and a creative subject is beneficial
  • An interest in craft, fashion or creative skills
  • Relevant prior learning or experience gained in a professional leather related environment will be considered
  • Overall Distinction in a Diploma (Level 2) or equivalent will be considered if GCSE at grade 4 and above is also achieved in Maths and English

Before you start your course, if you are aged between 16 and 18 years, you will be required to attend a fun and practical two-day preparation workshop where you will meet your tutors and other students on your course. Further details will be provided at the point of an offer being made.

Successful completion of this course will allow you to begin a career in shoemaking or progress to a footwear design foundation degree at De Montfort University, the London College of Fashion or University of Northampton. If you want to move into fashion or leatherwear you could take our Worshipful Company of Cordwainers’ Diploma in Saddle, Harness and Bridle Making.

Mary's story

I gained invaluable skills which allowed me to feed my passion for leather craftsmanship and further my career by carving a niche skill set in the fashion industry. Mary is now a leather designer harness maker based in London