How to Make a Shoe Production Specification
Let’s learn how to make a real factory ready shoe production specification sheet. Now that you have your shoe design finished it’s time to write a detailed specification sheet. The footwear specific specification sheet or simply “spec” sheet does a few things.
#1. The Spec tells the shoe factory the name of each part on your design.
#2. The Spec sheet details what each shoe part is made of.
#3. Tells the shoe factory what color every parts is.
#4. It tells who supplies each material to the shoe factory.
The shoe specification sheet is also your contract with the factory. The spec sheet tells them exactly what you want for all the internal components and there’s no question about what should be inside the shoe.
A detailed specification sheet is absolutely critical to your success. If you leave line items open with no detail the factory will choose whatever they have inside the factory for these parts. This may be good or may be bad, but you will get an unexpected result. We also use the spec sheet to check the new samples that come in from the factory. It’s important to review each sample with the spec sheet to make sure the factory followed the specification sheet. It’s good to highlight differences and ask the factory why they did not follow the spec sheet. Maybe they have a suggestion that’s better than what you chose? In many cases, the factory developer or pattern maker will substitute with a material that they have on hand and it may work better than your original specification.
Shoe Specification Material Maps:
I make a material map when I’m specifying a new shoe the factory hasn’t seen before. It’s important for the shoe factory to know the terminology we are using. Take a black-and-white drawing and give each piece a number and make sure the numbers on your spec sheet match the drawings. This takes just a few minutes and can save you the hassle of a simple mistake.
Shoe Specification Sheet Header:
The specification sheet header contains lots of key information the factory will need to make the samples. The factory name/address, last number, model name, outsole code, size run information. This is the the basic information that pattern makers will need to make your pattern on the correct lasts and make sure your upper design is attached to the correct sole unit.
Filling in the Footwear Specification Sheet:
The bulk of the information on the footwear spec sheet will include the names of the components and then what material you specified for each component. For a shoe Vamp you may spec the following:
When detailing the shoe materials you will list the name, the manufacturer, and the code number or the swatch book. Depending on the material you will list the thickness of the material, the emboss pattern, and the backing material.
Shoe Specifications the Upper Components:
I like to break up the components of the shoe into several sections. The first section being the upper opponents of the shoe, and I like to start with the front of the shoe and work my way backwards. Then I list the inside lining components and the reinforcing components, all those pieces that you can’t see inside the shoe like the vamp lining, collar lining etc… In this section, you can also list things like the glue, collar foam density and thickness, and the thread type you want to use on your shoe.
Shoe Specification Outsole Unit:
The next section would call out the footwear outsole unit components. You are going to list the rubber parts, color, and other details like if the logo. You can also spec the rubbers hardness, specific gravity, and if there’s any other characteristic to it like non-skid. Also list the midsole if it’s molded or die cut with its density, color and any other parts.
The final section of the spec sheet should list any of the items that are not necessarily part of the shoe but are still part of the package. For example: the cardboard box, the tissue paper, tags, any stuffing, if you have extra shoe laces, if you have a keychain or you have a users manual in a plastic bag. Anything like that should be included in the final section.