No outfit is complete without the right shoes, and it’s not uncommon for British consumers to spend hundreds on footwear. But what if your business could carve out a lane for itself to offer the next must-haves.

With the rise of e-commerce sites, it’s more accessible than ever to design and sell your shoes online. Additionally, you can build a business around those to take advantage of print on demand manufacturers.

This guide discusses how to design your own shoes and sell them, which includes the use of platforms for:

Designing

  • Alive Shoes
  • Printify

Selling

  • Shopify
  • Social media

Platform options for how to design your own shoes and sell them

Design

A lot of what makes a shoe business a hit with its customers is the brand. That’s the outward-facing identity of your business toward the public. 

Big shoe companies like Nike or Adidas use their branding to sell their customers a lifestyle.

Suppose you want to become a significant business in the footwear world. In that case, create a brand that represents the values you want to get across. You can do that with a name, logo and story to tell your audiences.

A brand story can be about yourself (the founder) or your mission as a business. For example, you could seek to change the fashion industry by offering sustainable footwear.

Alive Shoes

Once you have your brand ready to go, it’s time to make use of it to design your own shoes and sell them. One platform that allows you to create custom kicks is Alive Shoes.

You can apply for the platform alongside other designers and entrepreneurs. It’s free to use, and you can work from the 70 available base shoes. You’ll pick the materials, colours and packaging.

The online customisation tool is easy-to-use and it’s extensive. As a designer, you want to create unique footwear that will stand out, and this is the perfect platform to help you do that.

Once you have a design complete, you can create an e-commerce shop page within the platform. You must get at least seven pre-orders before they go into production, and you get $30 (£22.86) for each one you sell.

Customers place orders through the site, and the platform handles the rest. They are shipped from Italy and offer free delivery to Europe, the UK and the US.

Printify

If you’d like even more control over the prices and your storefront, then there’s another print-on-demand shoe service. Printify allows you to create various types of shoes but focuses on printed designs.

You can put your unique patterns onto the shoes, which could mean covering them in your logo or graphics that you put together. The types range from boots to flip-flops so that you can put your mark on any footwear.

There are fewer options than on Alive Shoes, but the significant difference is that Printify is a more conventional supplier. That means you can choose how much you charge for each shoe.

Connect your Printify account to your e-commerce site, and when someone places an order with you, it ships directly to them. It’s an easy process, and there’s no minimum.

That makes your marketing more straightforward because you can order each product to show off what they look like. That’s unlike Alive Shoes, where you’d need to wait until you get seven pre-sales.

Sales

The second part of how to design your own shoes and sell them is to get in front of people. You need to share your footwear with potential customers and allow them to buy them from you in a way that’s accessible.

If you choose the Alive Shoes route, the platform will offer you a link that you can share with people. But suppose you decide to opt for the Printify option. In that case, you need an e-commerce site compatible with the supplier.

Shopify

A great way to build your e-commerce site is through a platform like Shopify. It allows you to create and customise a website to act as your storefront for your shoe brand.

If you set up a Shopify account, you can build the site with a link to your Printify account. Together, they can make the process seamless for you and your customers.

The Shopify platform offers a 14-day free trial, and then the prices depend on the size of your business.

All options provide you with a site and tools to help you manage it. The difference in prices is mostly for increased levels of data that the software can provide you, which they recommend for larger businesses.

For example, it could mean that the platform offers you more insight into your customer’s habits and how it can be best to reach them.

Social media

When it comes to how to design your own shoes and sell them, you need to encourage people to click to your site. Whether you use the Shopify builder or a page within the Alive Shoes, that’s the same.

Many brands decide to use social media as a way to promote their business, and their fashion. One platform that’s popular for all types of clothing is Instagram.

Engaging visuals are the types of content that work best on Instagram, which lends itself to promoting shoes. Alongside images or videos of the products, it’s also a great place to build recognition for your brand.

When it comes to branding, it’s also crucial to tell your story quickly. You want to make your business memorable from the other companies on social media.

One platform in particular which encourages engaging content in a short time is TikTok. It’s a hub for short clips that don’t need high budgets, and they could still get people’s attention.

If you can show your shoes or brand through a short video in a memorable way (like dances or comedic skits), you could increase interest in your site. 

The more people you can encourage to check what you offer, the higher the chances are that’ll translate into sales.

Manage your shoe store with Countingup

Whether it’s your Shopify fees or paid advertising on Instagram and TikTok, costs are inevitable. But good financial management is a choice you can make.

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software. It’s easy to use and includes features like expense categorisation, which sorts your costs automatically with HMRC approved labels.

Get started for free.