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PENSOLE is Beginning Production of an Unscripted Sneaker Contest Series

Pensole Contest
D’Wayne Edwards, center right, helps students with sneaker sketch designs at the WSC Workshop in Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. The school, founded in 2010 by D’Wayne Edwards, former footwear design director for Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc. The school was formed to provide all talented young design students, regardless of socioeconomic background, an opportunity to attend a footwear design “master class” the athletic footwear industry can hire directly from, and to learn from the industry’s finest. Sneaker Design Competition Sneakers Various/Portland, OR, USA 8/4/2014 X158590 TK1 Credit: Marcus Yam

Today, Pensole Footwear Design Academy founder, D’Wayne Edwards, announced the opening of a casting call for an unscripted competition series. Talented young designers from across the globe will compete to design original sneakers for the prize of being launched and sold at a major retailer.

The series, which will be produced through a partnership that includes Pensole, 10×10 Entertainment (producer of America’s Next Top Model) and Largardére Sports, will be filmed at Pensole in Oregon, starting February 2017, and will show contestants what it’s like to work as a professional footwear designer for eight weeks.

“For this design competition we are looking for hardworking, highly competitive and highly skilled aspiring footwear designers with raw talent and fun, outgoing personalities,” said Edwards.

“The series will comprise eight episodes, and in each one, the students will not only work on potentially grand prize-winning shoes, but they’ll also they’ll have the chance to showcase their skills by creating additional custom-made sneakers for major celebrities. These stars will give the students creative challenges and inspiration for their designs. Each episode will cover an entire week-long class, at the end of which the shoe will be finished, unveiled and judged by a panel of celebrities and footwear design experts.” — Pensole.

Pensole will provide scholarships (airfare, housing, and tuition) for 18 hand-selected aspiring footwear designers to experience Pensole’s rigorous nine-week “learn-by-doing” master class, where students are assigned various projects to develop from initial idea to wearable prototype. 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for designers who are ready to change their lives because the winner will have his/her shoe sold through a major retailer and will also win cash and prizes.” — Edwards.

Start finalizing your designs! Share your thoughts below.


D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 27 years, founded PENSOLE to give talented young design students—regardless of socioeconomic background—an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, without financial barriers, and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers.

Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than 175 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, for footwear companies worldwide, including Columbia Sportswear, Timberland, Converse, ECCO, ASICS, New Balance, Wolverine, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Ariat, Stride Rite, adidas, JORDAN, Kenneth Cole, Reebok and Nike.

Registration for the class is at PENSOLE, which includes details on the competition, filming, and submission process.

Pensole Contest

Pensole Contest

Pensole Contest

Pensole Contest


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