2019 Footwear Design Summit

Studio Arte // 265 W 37th Street, 17th Floor // New York, NY 10018


Footwear designers are generally focused on WHAT they need to create for their next collections, yet in the face of challenges and opportunities like circularity, customization, tariffs, reshoring, virtual retail and big data, the more important question will be: HOW can we best design footwear going forward?

That is why FDRA and The Footwearists have teamed up again to organize a fantastic Footwear Design Summit, this time right in the heart of New York City!  It will focus on how we can best optimize the process of footwear design to make it future proof.

This will not be yet another conference where you are just listening to speeches. You will actively be challenged to open your mind to innovative yet highly practical and cost-effective ways of designing that you might have never thought of otherwise. Each section of the day will evolve around a different challenge that footwear designers and their managers face with speakers—all experts from the field—suggesting several solutions; some of which will be put to the test right away!

The Footwear Design Summit is the ONLY conference in the world that is dedicated to the future of footwear design. It is THE place to be for shoe designers of all levels, and for all footwear categories, from newbies to creative directors and product managers. Seating is limited! Register today to reserve your spot!


  • Design around high tariff costs
  • Design with sustainability in mind
  • Design to new manufacturing techniques/machines
  • New design software and technologies
  • Design with end use in mind
  • Consumer trends impacting design
  • Recruiting and retaining future designers

Expert Speakers

Nicoline Van Enter
Founder, The Footwearists

Nicoline van Enter is the CEO of The Footwearists, an international platform for meaningful innovation in footwear that offers consulting and training to footwear professionals in person and online through www.footwearology.com. Nicoline’s background is in forecasting, journalism and engineering, and over the last 25 years, she has consulted with leading global footwear brands including Timberland, Adidas, Vans, Birkenstock, CAT and Diesel, as well as machine manufacturers including Atom, HP and Ultimaker, and material suppliers like Stahl. Through her experience, Nicoline has become an expert in applying new digital and biological technologies to footwear.

Troy Nachtigall
Researcher and Wearable Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Troy is a designer conducting “Researcher through Design” in computational craftsmanship. He comes from a practice of fashion design concentrating on knitwear and shoes. His work focuses on technology and techniques needed for the personalization of clothing and accessories using data, along with the software that drives it. Troy investigates on how designers work with data to analyze, design, manufacture, and use clothing and footwear tailored to the wearer

Tanya James
Founder, Fashion Tech Week NY

Tanya James is a purpose- and passion-driven Fashion Industry entrepreneur. She began her career as a Dress Buyer in NY for Van Buren Neiman, David Speciality shops, has opened her own clothing stores and been Fashion Editor for Woman’s World magazine. She honed her TV production, New Media Business and Multimedia Presentation Design, and Marketing skills at the Center for Media Arts, NYU, and Metropolitan College of NY, and achieved her MBA in Information Systems Management/E-Commerce from Keller. Tanya is founder/Producer of The Internet of Fashion “designing fashion tech” TV and meetup, Global Fashion Technology Federation.Org, and the annual Fashion Tech Week NY.

Pete Lankford
Design Director, Timberland

Pete Lankford has been innovating in the footwear industry for over 25 years, and currently works at the forefront of sustainability to advance circular footwear solutions. His approach seeks to reconcile a possible and necessary future to the traditional business model where product responsibility ends at point of sale. His career began at Design Continuum in Boston where as a model maker he learned to rapidly translate design sketches into 3D shapes. At Exeter Research, he designed and developed footwear lines for Asolo and Converse. He now defines and develops new directions at Timberland Boot Company and several Earthkeepers collections.

Chris Bellamy
Senior Engineer—Product Development and Manufacturing, Wiivv

Chris Bellamy trained in Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Cambridge before joining Jaguar Land Rover to develop electric vehicles, sustainable transport, and human-centric designs. Looking for the next industry to undergo a technological revolution, Chris moved to North America and started working in the footwear industry with Wiivv: a custom-fit footwear technology company.

Kostika Spaho
3D Program Lead, KEEN and Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Ica & Kostika

Kostika Spaho was born in Albania, moved to the USA when his mother won the green card lottery in 1998, earned a Masters in Architecture, and then became a 3D printing rockstar because of the ‘Biomimicry Shoe’ in collaboration with Marieka Ratsma. Currently, he manages to combine his work as a 3D lead for KEEN with running the futuristic 3D shoe brand Ica & Kostika together with his wife Ica Paru.

Caroline de Baere
Footwear Industry Expert and Co-Founder, BENDY shoes

Caroline de Baere is a highly experienced footwear designer and educator. She has worked for a broad variety of brands, including Esprit and LA Gear. Currently she combines her role as co-founder of BENDY, a sustainable shoe brand that is made in California, with strategic consulting for footwear companies and teaching footwear design to 3rd & 4th year Fashion and Industrial design University students at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Sarah Mullins
Accessories Design ChairFashion Institute of Technology

Sarah Mullins is Accessories Design Chair at Fashion Institute of Technology, which includes their programs for footwear design. She is one of the most experienced professors in this field and is determined to continue innovating in it. In collaboration with Complex, she has recently started Sneaker Essentials, FIT’s online sneaker design program.

Michael Strohecker
VP Business Development

Michael has a passion for technology-driven business and communication at LuxCreo, a 3D printing company transforming traditional manufacturing into mass customization, with unlimited creativity and minimal waste.

Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé
Maker of Shoes & Boots, Designer, Artist, Adjunct Faculty, Critic
Rhode Island School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology

Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé is a shoemaker, designer and artisan from Switzerland and the Netherlands. She has been building made-to-measure, hand-sewn footwear employing traditional techniques in her atelier in Brooklyn, NY for over 10 years. She has studied all over the world with skilled master craftsmen, fueled by her fascination of the physicality of the making process and the challenge of combining design, math, ergonomics and artistry.

John Pellegrini
FDRA Customs Counsel

Considered THE footwear duties expert by many CEOs, John has 40+ years experience in footwear customs duties. His practice is concentrated on the regulatory and commercial aspects of international trade. He represents clients with respect to government regulation of the import-export trade, duty planning, and admissibility requirements to name just a few. His clients include multinationals, general merchandise retailers, importers, exporters, domestic and foreign manufacturers, commission agents, trade associations, and international marketing companies.

Shane Griffith
Senior Product Manager, The Foundry

Shane is driven by a passion for identifying market opportunities in creative industries. He oversees product strategy and P&L of The Foundry’s 3D content creation products including MODO, MARI, COLORWAY, MODO/MARI indie, MODO add-ons, and other product initiatives.

Thanks to our Great Sponsors!

Please contact apolk@fdra.org if you are interested in sponsoring this event.