A Behind the Scenes Look at Shoe Design

A Behind the Scenes Look at Shoe Design

A lot goes into a single pair of shoes.

There’s design, prototyping, sampling, tweaking, more sampling, and finally, production. But every style originates with a sketch.

A former designer for some of the world’s leading athletic brands, Justin Schneider’s passion for footwear and design led him to found Wolf & Shepherd. Since then, he’s been the creative force behind our shoes. At W&S headquarters we get front-row seats to this process on a pretty regular basis, but that hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm for seeing magic in the works. We sat down with Justin for a full rundown of his design process.

Where does the design process begin?
The process always starts with identifying a need. That need can be rooted in functionality, style, or wanting a shoe for a certain occasion-- like work or a wedding.

How do you decide on a new style?
Right now because our team is small, we have the ability to be nimble and keep our conversations organic. We might hear from our customer experience team that there’s an opportunity-- that customers are asking for a type of shoe that’s lacking in their wardrobe, and in our current collection. We also keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on globally, style-wise.

From there, we do some research about how we can innovate. We are constantly looking at materials and construction processes that will allow us to create shoes that look and feel amazing.

What’s next in the conceptualization process?
We gather inspiration and create mood boards, piecing together swatches of materials, photos of shoe styles and lifestyle imagery that inform not just what the product will look like, but the feeling it will evoke. We think about the story we want to tell with the product.

Tell us about sketching.
I’ve drawn enough shoes by now to be able to pull directly from my memory bank when I first begin sketching a silhouette, but I’ll often look at reference materials.

When I’m designing, I’m thinking very technically about the way that the shoes will be constructed. Because we’re blending fashion and function, it’s important to think through the aesthetics of a product as well as its utility and comfort features. I usually think about those technical aspects first, and then I think about the on-brand design elements I can build out to create a beautiful product.

Watch Justin's design process. 

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Honey | White

Crossover™ Longwing

Black | White

Crossover™ Longwing

Maple | White

Crossover™ Longwing

Cognac | White

Crossover™ Longwing

Navy | White

SwiftKnit™ Derby

Black | White

SwiftKnit™ Derby

Desert | White

SwiftKnit™ Derby

Black | Black

Closer™ Oxford

Brown | Brown

Closer™ Oxford

Black | Black

Closer™ Loafer

Brown | Brown

Closer™ Loafer

Dusty Blue | White

SupremeKnit™ Trainer

Victory Blue | White

SupremeKnit™ Trainer

Milano | Vanilla

SupremeKnit™ Trainer

Coast | White

Crossover™ Mid

Honey | White

Crossover™ Mid

Mocha | White

Crossover™ Mid

Denim | White

Crossover™ Mid

Honey | White

Crossover™ Loafer

Black | White

Crossover™ Loafer

Navy | White

Crossover™ Loafer

Stone | White

Crossover™ Loafer

Maple | White

Crossover™ Loafer

Navy | White

SwiftKnit™ Loafer

Black | White

SwiftKnit™ Loafer

Stone | White

SwiftKnit™ Loafer

White | White

Cruise™ Lace-Up

White | White

Cruise™ Slip-On

Sandstorm | Vanilla

Cruise™ Slip-On

Honey | White

Cruise™ Slip-On

Warm Gray | White

Cruise™ Slip-On

White | White

Cruise™ Mule

Warm Gray | White

Cruise™ Mule

White | Vanilla

Cruise™ Mule

Faded Orange | White

Cruise™ Mule

Lunar Gray | Vanilla

Cruise™ Mule

Black | White

Cruise™ Mule

Honey | White

Cruise™ Mule

Oasis Blue | White

Cruise™ Mule

Hybrid | Casual

W&S Footbed

Chocolate Suede

Stealth Belt

White | White

Cruise™ Tre

Navy | White

Cruise™ Tre

Black | White

Cruise™ Tre

Lunar Gray | Vanilla

Cruise™ Tre

White | White

Cruise™ Lo

Honey | White

Cruise™ Lo

Black | White

Cruise™ Lo

A NEW ERA

The Future is at your feet

Built from the finest materials we could find and the innovative comfort of the best running shoes, Wolf & Shepherds are a different kind of shoe. Experience them for yourself and never sacrifice style for comfort again.
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5 Colors Available

Crossover™ Longwing

Mens Crossover™ Longwing Honey / White  Calfskin View 1
Mens Crossover™ Longwing Black / White  Calfskin View 1
Mens Crossover™ Longwing Maple / White  CALFSKIN View 1
Mens Crossover™ Longwing Cognac / White  SUEDE View 1
Mens Crossover™ Longwing Desert / White  View 1
4 Colors Available

SwiftKnit™ Derby

Mens SwiftKnit™ Derby Navy / White  View 1
Mens SwiftKnit™ Derby Black / White  View 1
Mens SwiftKnit™ Derby White / Honey  View 1
Mens SwiftKnit™ Derby Desert / White  View 1
3 Colors Available

Crossover™ Derby

Mens Crossover™ Derby Honey / White  Calfskin View 1
Mens Crossover™ Derby Maple / White  View 1
Mens Crossover™ Derby Black / White  Calfskin View 1
2 Colors Available

Closer™ Oxford

Mens Closer™ Oxford Black / Black  View 1
Mens Closer™ Oxford Brown / Brown  View 1
2 Colors Available

Closer™ Loafer

Mens Closer™ Loafer Black / Black  calfskin View 1
Mens Closer™ Loafer Brown / Brown  calfskin View 1
3 Colors Available

Cruise™ Breakaway

Mens Cruise™ Breakaway White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Breakaway Storm / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Breakaway Black / White  View 1
3 Colors Available

Cruise™ Hi Sneaker

Mens Cruise™ Hi Sneaker White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Hi Sneaker Navy / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Hi Sneaker Black / White  View 1
8 Colors Available

SupremeKnit™ Trainer

Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Gray / White  Supreme Knit View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Dusty Blue / White  Supreme Knit View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Black / White  View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Victory Blue / White  View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer White / White  Supreme Knit View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Mocha / White  Supreme Knit View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Navy / White  Supreme Knit View 1
Mens SupremeKnit™ Trainer Milano / Vanilla  Supreme Knit View 1
4 Colors Available

Crossover™ Mid

Mens Crossover™ Mid Coast / White  NUBUCK View 1
Mens Crossover™ Mid Honey / White  NUBUCK View 1
Mens Crossover™ Mid Mocha / White  NUBUCK View 1
Mens Crossover™ Mid Denim / White  NUBUCK View 1
5 Colors Available

Crossover™ Loafer

Mens Crossover™ Loafer Honey / White  Calfskin View 1
Mens Crossover™ Loafer Black / White  Calfskin View 1
Mens Crossover™ Loafer Navy / White  Suede View 1
Mens Crossover™ Loafer Stone / White  Suede View 1
Mens Crossover™ Loafer Maple / White  Calfskin View 1
3 Colors Available

SwiftKnit™ Loafer

Mens SwiftKnit™ Loafer Navy / White  View 1
Mens SwiftKnit™ Loafer Black / White  View 1
Mens SwiftKnit™ Loafer Stone / White  View 1
1 Color Available

Cruise™ Lace-Up

4 Colors Available

Cruise™ Slip-On

Mens Cruise™ Slip-On White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Slip-On Sandstorm / Vanilla  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Slip-On Honey / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Slip-On Warm Gray / White  View 1
8 Colors Available

Cruise™ Mule

Mens Cruise™ Mule White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Warm Gray / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule White / Vanilla  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Faded Orange / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Lunar Gray / Vanilla  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Black / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Honey / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Mule Oasis Blue / White  View 1
1 Color Available

Gift Kit

1 Color Available

W&S Footbed

5 Colors Available

Stealth Belt

Mens Stealth Belt Maple  View 1
Mens Stealth Belt Black  View 1
Mens Stealth Belt Oak  View 1
Mens Stealth Belt Chocolate Suede  View 1
Mens Stealth Belt Honey  View 1
4 Colors Available

Cruise™ Tre

Mens Cruise™ Tre White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Tre Navy / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Tre Black / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Tre Lunar Gray / Vanilla  View 1
3 Colors Available

Cruise™ Lo

Mens Cruise™ Lo White / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Lo Honey / White  View 1
Mens Cruise™ Lo Black / White  View 1