Even after 18 years in the business, New Balance veteran Jonathan Grondin, the designer behind everything from World Series-worn baseball cleats to the Kawhi Leonard signature basketball line, still gets excited when he sees his creations on the feet of celebrities and star athletes. “It is amazing every time,” he says. Getting there, though, requires continued pursuit. 

How do you become a sneaker designer? Draw with a purpose. Never stop learning. Understand the industry. Get your foot in the door. Intern. Take every opportunity. Gain a varied view of art and design. If you want to get a job making shoes, these are some of the steps to consider.

All illustrations by Liam Eisenberg