Pensole Footwear Design Academy (Pensole), which teaches a learn-by-doing curriculum around the footwear design process, launched its Levi’s Footwear “Sollection,” a four-week intensive footwear design master class created in partnership with Levi’s Footwear.


Photos Courtesy Pensole

“Levi’s is an iconic brand in apparel that I have admired for years,” said Pensole Founder D’Wayne Edwards. “So it’s particularly exciting to partner with a brand of this stature in developing emerging design talent that will in turn create a new design language for Levi’s—in footwear.”

Registration opened in early December and will close January 10, 2016, wherein 12 designers will be selected from a global search to create six shoes for Levi’s Footwear in three categories: Boots, Lifestyle and Sneakers.

“It’s particularly exciting to partner with a brand of this stature in developing pensole-academy-levisemerging design talent that will in turn create a new design language for Levi’s in footwear.” – D’Wayne Edwards, Founder, Pensole

The six-shoe Levi’s Footwear Sollections will be sold exclusively at Levi’s Footwear retail partners nationwide.



“Levi Strauss sold our first pair of boots in 1853 as a dry goods merchant,” said Levi’s Senior VP of Business Development, Tom Berry. “With Pensole’s Sollection class, we look forward to mining this rich brand history and working with fresh talent from around the globe to reimagine footwear for one of America’s most loved and iconic brands.”

The master class will feature three teams of designers:

  • Three Color and Material Designers: Team Manager, Design Language, Visual Presentation, Color and Material Design.
  • Three Brand Designers: Market Opportunity, Distribution Plan, Sales Strategy, Marketing Plan and Business Plan.
  • Six Footwear Designers: Consumer Profile, Storytelling, Design Process, Branding, Packaging and POP

pensole-studentStudents selected will receive full scholarships from Levi’s Footwear, including tuition, airfare and lodging, for the class held in Portland. The 12 winning entrants will be announced on January 25, 2015.

Prospective students, 18 or older and with the legal right to enter the U.S., are asked to submit in one or all three categories, using the following guidelines:

For Footwear: Submit one hand sketch (no computer) of an original footwear design in black and white or color. Multiple views are optional.

For Color/MTL: Submit a single 8.5”x11” color and material storyboard in PDF or JPEG format. This must use material references.

For Business: Submit a one-page creative product launch plan. Example of topics to be included are branding, marketing plan, advertising campaign and sales strategy. Using images is optional.



Since the first Pensole class in 2010, more than 140 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, for footwear companies worldwide, including Columbia Sportswear, The North Face, Timberland, Converse, New Balance, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Stride Rite, Adidas, Jordan, Kenneth Cole, Ecco, Reebok and Nike.