FIT’s Course on the Footwear Industry Could Help You Land a Career in Sneakers

Working in the sneaker industry is a dream job for anyone who has a passion for footwear. Figuring out how to break into the game is not as easy as it seems. You can’t just say, “I love sneakers,” and expect to land yourself a job at Nike or Adidas overnight. It’s going to take hard work, expertise, a bit of luck, and possibly an education. If you want to learn everything at once — from breaking into sneaker media, design, retail, and the culture — the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Sneaker Essentials course is the place to go.

In collaboration with Complex, FIT has put together a course that allows you to “Explore all angles of the sneaker business – from design through sale – leaders from across the sneaker world. The course just doesn't focus on one aspect of sneakers, rather it touches on all elements: culture, design, manufacturing and production, distribution and retail, brand strategy and marketing, and media.

Rather than have one professor create the course curriculum and text material, FIT reached out to a wide spectrum of people involved in various aspect of the industry. Included in the bunch are ESPN’s Nick DePaula, Complex’s Joe La Puma, Russ Bengtson, Rime sneaker boutique owner Susan Boyle, StockX CEO Josh Luber, Stadium Goods CEO and co-founder John McPheters, Nike Knit Innovator Toraya, Oscar Castillo of Modern Notoriety, and the original Full Size Run crew of Rich “MaZe” Lopez, Brendan Dunne, and yours truly.

The online course consists of over 45 on-demand videos and helps the students grow their sneaker knowledge through taking part in self-paced projects that give them a grasp of the work they’ll be asked to do in their future careers. The program is broken down into six different courses, with each other being between four and five hours themselves. Completion of the course will also result in an official FIT certificate.

There’s no exact science into working in the sneaker industry. Many of the people who have given their insights to this course broke into working in footwear through various backgrounds. But the industry has grown a lot since many people got their starts, and learning what made them successful will only help you achieve your goals.

To find out more information on Sneaker Essentials and register for the course, visit the site here. New courses are launched every two weeks, with the Sneaker Intro and History and Design classes already live. Applications are now open.

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The latest episode of Sole Collector's series Full Size Run features Roc-A-Fella co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke, who sat down to discuss the label's history with the Air Force 1. Alongside highlighting Kanye's impact on sneaker culture and sharing his thoughts on Drake possibly leaving Jordan Brand for Adidas, Biggs also spoke about whether Nelly took the Air Force 1 from Roc-A-Fella.

At the 6:30 mark in the video, he explained, “I mean, I don't really go into that. A sneaker's love is all over. If someone gravitates towards something and wants to put it in a song, or something like that, more kudos to them. It's not a taking or jacking kind of thing. We don't got equity in Nike. We don't own that sneaker. And what he was talking about at the time didn't have the Roc-A-Fella logo on it.”

As for his thoughts on Drake and Jordan Brand, he said, “A lot of people are big in music, it doesn't mean they're big as a brand. There are a lot of artist[s] that sell records, but that doesn't mean they can sell things outside of that. Doesn't mean that kids wanna dress like them or be like them. There's other guys that sold much more than them, but doesn't mean that if you put a sneaker on them, that they were gonna sell sneakers and clothes.”

Watch the full episode of Full Size Run above.

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During the episode, he talks about a pair of sneakers he gifted to Kanye West that, supposedly, Adidas didn't want him to wear in public, making custom sneakers for LeBron James and Lonzo Ball, and what it was like to make the cleats that Stefon Diggs wore when he made the legendary catch last weekend against the New Orleans Saints.

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Previously exclusive to Europe with locations in Stockholm, London, Paris and Berlin, sneaker store Sneakersnstuff is now planting its flag in New York City.

Fresh off opening their new door on 22 Little West 12th Street, co-founders Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson stopped by Full Size Run to discuss the expansion of their empire, the continued war between Nike and Adidas and what they expect from the market in 2018.

When asked about the competitive landscape in New York, Fagerlind dismissed the idea of SNS competing against other independent boutiques, but believes that they can collectively affect big chain business.

“Personally, I always felt like all the independent stores that sort of mean something, that care for product and care for storytelling, combined will probably affect Foot Locker or the mall,” he said.

Fagerlind also says that SNS makes it a point to not look at competition too much because they believe it'll take necessary attention away from executing their own vision.

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