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Principal Footwear Designer



17d ago

  • Job
    Expert Level
  • Creative Arts & Fashion
  • $170K - $200K
  • Portland

AI generated summary

  • You must have extensive footwear design experience and technical skills, including Adobe Creative Suite proficiency. Strong communication, leadership, and collaboration abilities are essential, as well as a passion for creating innovative designs. Travel may be required.
  • You'll lead design strategy, oversee the creative process, collaborate cross-functionally, guide trend direction, and mentor teams to ensure excellence in footwear design.


  • Bachelors degree in design or related field or equivalent experience.
  • Minimum twelve (12) years of footwear design experience, or a combination of education and experience.
  • Expert in Adobe Creative Suite, CAD, Office products, and MAC OS.
  • Expert ability to create technical footwear drawings and demonstrate knowledge of current trends and the ability to interpret trends.
  • Advanced understanding of employing design, construction techniques, and appropriate use of materials, including extensive knowledge and full understanding of product design and development including outsole construction, last making, materials, color, etc.
  • Expert level knowledge of interdependencies between design and development, and the ability to drive collaboration between the groups.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation communication skills.
  • Advanced story-telling skills with the ability to create compelling design stories and themes.
  • Ability and willingness to train and develop team junior members and support internal career path development.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously and lead projects without direct reports, providing guidance and influencing outcomes across the design team.
  • Travel Required
  • Up to 10% of work time will involve travel


  • Serves as the creative vanguard for the category, setting the standard for excellence in design.
  • Partners with the product triad, merchandising, innovation team, and senior leadership to develop and evolve seasonal and long-term design strategies that position the brand at the cutting edge of the industry.
  • Leads the creative interpretation of market research and trend analysis, translating complex business and market briefs into groundbreaking design initiatives.
  • Oversees the end-to-end design process, from ideation to final execution, ensuring adherence to the brand's high standards and creative ethos.
  • Develops comprehensive technical packages with acute attention to detail, ensuring design integrity throughout the product development lifecycle.
  • Masters digital design tools to create compelling illustrations and technical drawings that communicate concepts and specifications with clarity and precision.
  • Guides the global color and trend direction, managing digital assets and ensuring seamless integration of design elements across all product categories.
  • Collaborates with Materials, Product Management, and Marketing teams to ensure design solutions are innovative, commercially viable, and aligned with brand strategy.
  • Represents the brand's design vision externally, presenting concepts and products with persuasive and engaging storytelling.
  • Acts as a design mentor within the organization, sharing knowledge and fostering a culture of continuous learning and creativity.


What qualifications are required to become a Principal Footwear Designer?

To become a Principal Footwear Designer, one must have a deep understanding of design principles, exceptional skill set in footwear design, and a proven track record of developing highly creative and technically advanced product designs.

What is the role of a Principal Footwear Designer within the organization?

The Principal Footwear Designer is a recognized expert who leads the development of product designs, shapes the brand's design philosophy, sets industry standards, and drives innovation at a strategic level.

What level of experience is expected for a Principal Footwear Designer?

A Principal Footwear Designer is expected to have significant experience and expertise in footwear design, with a proven track record of developing innovative and creative designs. They are recognized as industry leaders in design.

How does a Principal Footwear Designer influence the design direction of the brand?

A Principal Footwear Designer applies their extensive expertise to shape the design direction of the brand, setting industry standards and driving innovation through their creative and technically advanced product designs.

Driven by a passion for life outside, KEEN is a values driven footwear brand from Portland, Oregon.

Fashion & Arts
Founded Year

Mission & Purpose

KEEN is a values led, outdoor footwear brand with a mission to responsibly create original and versatile products, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. Founded in 2003, KEEN ignited a revolution in the footwear industry with the introduction of the Newport sandal, launching the concept of Hybrid footwear into the market and setting KEEN on a path of driving consistent product innovation that exists today. As a company, we strive to live by our values, from the products we make to the actions we take, and by activating communities and individuals to protect and preserve the places where we work and play. We passionately endeavor to live fulfilling lives, challenge the status quo, do good, give back, and inspire others. Looking ahead, our vision is to be the most trusted outdoor footwear and lifestyle brand in the world.