3D Learning Hub

Shoe design software: What are the best options? (2024 update)


3D printing is becoming a great asset for the fashion industry. As we saw in a previous blog post, the footwear industry is actually making the most of this new manufacturing process. It is a way to improve the prototyping and production processes of many different companies. But in order to improve those processes, it is important to get the right 3D modeling software. Even if you don’t want to 3D print your products, a shoe design software could really improve your shoe design process on different levels.

If you are working in the footwear industry, discover how a 3D design software could improve your company’s production. We are also going to give you some tips in order to choose the right shoe design software thanks to a little selection of the best programs.

Why 3D printing for the footwear industry?

3D printing is helping the fashion industry

Additive manufacturing is more and more used in the fashion industry. Indeed, it is a great way to create prototypes but also finished products. Why is this technology attractive for fashion companies? It is a great way to create complex designs with complete freedom for clothes, shoes or even accessories. Every design is 3D printable. Moreover, it is now possible to print with different 3D printing materials, and there is obviously one that can fit your project. Flexible materials are great to create clothes, but it is also possible to use any rigid materials for accessories or shoe parts, like heels. This technology can actually offer your company a wide range of new possibilities. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily talk about 3D printing the whole shoe, you can use it to create customized soles adapted to your customers for example.

A technology for both big and small companies

This manufacturing process is now used by little companies, such as Feetz, but also by bigger ones, like Adidas for the development of the Futurecraft 4D, for example. If you want more information about the benefits of 3D printing for the shoe industry, check out our previous article. Jean-Marc Pedeboy, CEO of Stratégies, a company developing CAD software for the footwear industry, explained to us that “This technology is accessible for smaller companies, thanks to 3D printing services such as Sculpteo. This way, they don’t have to buy expensive 3D machines to manufacture products” It is easier for smaller companies to choose 3D printing for their product development, it is a great way for them to optimize and reduce their costs. Indeed, it is way cheaper to make different iterations of a product while using additive manufacturing technology. But in order to do this, you need a 3D modeling software. adidas-futurecraft-4d-details-00

3D modeling software: why do you need them?

Improve your product development process

“Using CAD software and 3D printing allows reducing by 10 the price of a prototype. Moreover, brands have to create new collections faster nowadays, and it is impossible to go through this with traditional prototyping methods” testifies Jean-Marc Pedeboy. Prototyping with 3D printing is amazing. Using the right 3D program to modify your model and create iterations will allow you to save time and money. Thanks to these software tools, you will be able to modify and adapt your design as many times as you need.
Photo credit: http://www.continuumfashion.com/projects.php

Photo credit: http://www.continuumfashion.com/projects.php

Using 3D shoes design programs for visualization

More than just a 2D pattern, it is now possible to get a whole 3D shoe design, with a realistic rendering. For example, you can add textures and paintings to your 3D models to allow you and your customers to get a better visualization of the future finished product. Getting a good shoe software is becoming essential, this way, your customer will be able to visualize the footwear design you’ve created. These 3D sketches will be a true and accurate representation of your final product. Getting a good visualization of your product is essential before the manufacturing process, it will allow making the last modifications in order to get the best-finished product. 

How to choose the perfect 3D shoe software?

3D software can be difficult to use. The first thing to consider while choosing a software will be to verify the experience level needed to use it. If you’ve never used a modeling software before then some advanced programs might be too difficult to use and you won’t be able to reach the perfect result.  You will also have to check what are the 3D tools you need to create your footwear designs and make sure the software you want to use can offer you what you need. Can you add design elements, are the visualization options advanced enough, can you export the 3D file? These are aspects to take into account. If you don’t know how to use a 3D modeling software to create your footwear 3D models but still want to use 3D printing: our experts in Design for Additive Manufacturing are here for you. Professional industrial designers are to help you make the most of Additive Manufacturing, Sculpteo Studio will help you to create your model from scratch, or to improve an existing product using 3D printing!

What are the best shoe design software?

Software dedicated to shoe design


Shoemaster is a great program for beginners. You won’t have a lot of freedom while using this program as you only have the choice between a few designs. However, it could be a great solution if you don’t have any previous experiences with 3D modeling, and you can still create nice shoe designs using 2D and 3D. It is an accessible program to get customized shoes adapted to the morphology of your customers!




ICad3D+ is a software allowing you to work on 3D designs and 2D patterns. It is a solution to gain precision, and save time. This program is offering different packages, it depends on what you need for your shoe design process: pattern engineering, 3D design, or all of the different options.

Romans CAD

Romans CAD is an amazing shoe design program, efficient to create all shoe prototypes. It is an accurate program, totally dedicated to the footwear industry, and the creation of leather goods. It is a cloud-based program, allowing the teams to work way faster and improve their efficiency. Indeed, it is a great way to facilitate communication between designers and manufacturers.

Credit: Romans CAD

Credit: Romans CAD

This is a cloud-based software” explained Jean-Marc Pedeboy “The world of fashion is evolving and brands have to work faster. Romans CAD is offering a better communication and collaboration for people working in the footwear industry


This custom shoe design software comes with advanced shoe designing tools. It appears to be a great option for you if you need to generate 3D models for your customer to get a better visualization of a shoe project. You will access diverse customization options and design elements using the InkXE shoe designer program.


Other CAD software that you can use for shoes design


The shoe brand, Keen Shoes, actually uses the 3D modeling software Modo. Indeed, it is a creative 3D modeling software, allowing to develop new ideas with a great accuracy and total freedom. This program helped them to create product ideals for the comfort of their customer, as the shoes really have an optimized design.



Maya is an efficient 3D modeling software and can be used for many different applications. The fashion industry can totally make the most of all of the software tools offered by Maya, and it is the same for the footwear industry. It is a complex software, but if you are working with professional designers for the creation of your shoes, it could be one of the best methods to get an accurate 3D model of your shoe project!

If you want to know more about Maya, check out our tutorial that will help you to export your file for 3D printing.



We saw previously that it is essential to get a good visualization of your projects, especially for fashion projects. ZBrush is actually offering good rendering options. It is an amazing CAD program, that you can use to create your 2D patterns, and your 3D designs. Keep in mind that this software has advanced tools and is addressed to experienced users.


Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is great for these kinds of projects, as it is a cloud-based software, allowing the members of the team to communicate faster and work on the same version of the project. It has advanced software tools, allowing to make solid modeling, mesh modeling, and parametric modeling. However, it is better to use this 3D software if you already have a 3D modeling experience.

As this 3D modeling software has a large community, you will easily find video tutorials to help you with your projects. Check our tutorial to know how to prepare a 3D file for 3D printing using Fusion 360.



CorelDraw will be useful for you to work on both 2D or 3D projects. This graphics suite offers some great features that could help you create your shoe project. This program has a user-friendly interface and some great benefits for you if you need to 3D print some shoe design.

We hope that this top helped you to choose the right CAD software for your footwear projects. We also made a top of the best 3D modeling software for the fashion industry, you could also find ideas and programs that could help you in your daily work!

If you need to 3D print your model, you can upload your 3D file right now on our 3D printing service. And if you are interested in 3D modeling software and their advantages for your company, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get all the information that you need.  

Get the latest 3D printing news delivered right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about the latest 3D printing technologies, applications, materials, and software.