Ask anyone who obsesses over sneakers, and they’ll probably tell you that their dream job is working somewhere in the footwear industry. But actually getting that gig doesn’t come easy. It takes years of dedication, learning your craft, and finding the right place to fit in. One thing that helps, however, is talking to people who have been there before and soaking up game from them. To better educate aspiring sneaker moguls—and learn a thing or two ourselves—we spoke to people who work at sneaker stores, design shoes, and take photos. Here’s what they had to say about their come-up, their biggest challenges and more.