Shoeware 3D Design Software

Most Hong Kong footwear companies engage in OEM arrangements and do business with leading brands and retailers in North America and Europe. Driven by global market demand, high quality and high valued-added production has become the long term strategy of Hong Kong footwear manufacturers, and being responsive, providing high-quality prototype and small batch production have become the basic customer requirements.

However, most footwear manufacturers still adopt manual method to measure shoe last and fabricate shoe’s paper pattern, which is time-consuming, expensive and inaccurate due to human error. Thus, it is high time local footwear industry adopts 3D product development tools and enhances its competitiveness.

This Shoeware 3D Design Software is a software plug-in for 3D shoe design, which covers from vamp building and design to 2D paper pattern fabrication for production. The system was designed based on the industry’s knowledge and opinions which is compatible with the industrial practices. As a result, shoe designer can master 3D design relatively easier, the cycle time from design to production and inconsistency due to human error are significantly reduced. And at the same time, 3D CAD can fulfill customers’ requirement on 3D drawings and renderings.


The software contains a 3D database of 400 common shoe lasts. Users can retrieve the built-in shoe lasts entry or add their own shoe last data for design. While freeform is the most difficult features to be fabricated in CAD, this system formulates a mechanism to help designers build a freeform vamp accurately and easily based on the shoe last. This significantly reduces the difficulty and time to construct 3D shoe models.

Designers can design shoe line, shape and patterns according to the reference line on the vamp. When the design completes, users can apply 3D shoe flattening function to fabricate the paper pattern. 2D and 3D grading functions of the add-on software allow fabrication of multiple size paper pattern at a time, which saves more time than traditional process. Besides, the 3D file is compatible to CAM cutting machines, this can speed up the production process.

Industry benefit

Most footwear manufacturers still adopt manual approach to measure shoe last and fabricate shoe’s paper pattern, which is time-consuming, expensive and inaccurate due to human error. Once the design is made into paper pattern, changes on dimensions and design will cause craftsmen a lot of time to redo or revise the paper pattern, the process will slow down the production cycle.

With 3D CAD software, designers can quickly amend the paper pattern, hence reducing cycle time and production cost. Besides, the software can indicate the shoe parameters accurately, together with the aid of computerised cutting machine, the inconsistency of paper pattern brought by human error in drawing and cutting could be greatly reduced. Although professional 3D footwear design software is available in the existing market, the acquisition cost is high. It is difficult for SMEs to bear the risk. This plug-in software can help them adopt 3D design tools at a lower cost.

Technological breakthrough

With inadequate knowledge on 3D CAD software, local footwear designers seldom make use of its general features to draw the desire product. This has hindered them from the application of 3D CAD software.

However, the software is especially suitable for making complicated 3D drawing which the vamps have a lot of freeform features. To assist footwear designers in mastering 3D software, the project research team collected the industry’s views to compose the add-on software according to shoe design practices and procedures. The general features were sorted and combined such that they could fit in the shoe design context. As a result generic design software is able to transform to industry-specific professional software.

Moreover, the add-on contains new features such as 3D shoe flattening, automated fabrication of paper pattern, 2D grading of paper pattern, 3D grading of shoe design which helps bridge the design and production processes.

Licensing Details

A non-exclusive licence of the Shoeware 3D Design Software covering features of 3D parametric shoe last database, 3D parametric shoe style and component database, 3D shoe design methodology, shoe design adjustment, 3D shoe flattening, automated fabrication of paper pattern, 2D grading of paper pattern, 3D grading of shoe design and automatic conversion from 2D sketch to 3D outsole.

The research deliverable is now open for licensing. For more details, please contact us. (Email:; Tel: (852) 2627 0180)

Related ITF project
Research Start Date 2013-02-01
Industry Partner
ITTA Technology (H.K.) Limited
High Quality Manufacturing Co Ltd
IP Number
24518085; 24518084