SLEM Footwear & Education Center


SLEM (Shoes Leather Education Museum) is an international innovation and education centre for footwear that includes a consulting department, a forecasting department, a footwear museum and an education institute that offers full-time master programs as well as part time workshops for professionals.

SLEM’s aim is to improve the world through shoes. Even though there is a growing human population with an exponential need for footwear this is limited by current material resources, production and distribution processes. This causes an urgent need for meaningful change.

Shoes have been made and sold pretty much the same way for the past century. While we appreciate tradition, our aim is to develop innovative sustainable technologies that will involve fewer, recyclable and nontoxic resources applied locally. To achieve this SLEM programs stimulate new ways of thinking about footwear that will open up and improve the industry, involving new solutions and creative opportunities that were not available or thought of before.

At SLEM we do all this through research, teaching and applying new methods that are suitable for the future. Our master program of Footwear Innovation eliminates the typical department divisions between technology, design and business, providing a multidisciplinary platform for both students and professionals from various backgrounds. The program deals with how to forecast future developments for footwear, how to translate this future vision into profitable and sustainable design as well as in business concepts that are capable of uniting the creative, ethical, commercial and technical dimensions of people and their footwear.

Who is this for?

SLEM’s master of Footwear Innovation is meant for anyone who wants to make a profitable and meaningful contribution to the future of the footwear industry. We are looking for people who have a passion for footwear and are highly motivated to better themselves and their environment.

A creative entrepreneurial spirit, great curiosity for the future and a willingness to learn, work and travel in multicultural and multidisciplinary teams are also important personal assets.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Admissions & Requirements

This is a post graduate level advanced program, so we do recommend that you either have relevant work experience or a bachelor degree in design, technology or business related studies.

It is required that you have a sufficient level of English, which means that you should be able to speak and write at a level that is equal to at least CEF C1 and preferably CEF C2, which equals an IELTS score between 7-9.

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Master of Footwear Innovation

Campus Full time 9 months October 2016 Netherlands Waalwijk Amsterdam China Guangdong + 3 more

SLEM offers a unique Master program, combining forecasting, design, technology and business, educating footwear entrepreneurs, forecasters and consultants. [+]

Master of Footwear Innovation SLEM’s master of Footwear Innovation focuses on building international future vision, design thinking, footwear expertise, entrepreneurial skills and professional attitude that are all immediately applied to the footwear industry during classes and projects. Classes take place in the Netherlands and in China, giving students a broad world view in all aspects of the footwear business and beyond. As a SLEM student you will continually connect with a wide range of professionals, building up your network from the very beginning of the program. This approach ensures that upon finishing the master program, you will be able to start your own business, work freelance and/or land a job anywhere in the world. Applying theory Our method can be summarized as: being aware, being informed and being proactive. SLEM programs require active participation in your education rather than passively expecting the faculty to ‘fill your brain’. This is why we always encourage pro-activeness and flexible thinking: the curriculum includes personal development plans that each student works on as well as group projects. These will be defined and promoted throughout the program. This format generates the enthusiasm, pressure and creativity necessary to transform information into knowledge. SLEM’s master of Footwear Innovation is a very intensive program, so we advise against having a demanding job during the Master. Building your network Throughout the program you continually have the opportunity to build and increase your professional network. Several classes and seminars of the master are also open to professionals. This means that your classmates are not just your fellow colleagues, but also CEO’s, designers, marketing managers, retailers etc. The Netherlands is one of the biggest players in the European market when it comes to import and export of footwear and the Waalwijk region houses more than 250 footwear and leather companies. Furthermore, classes are taught by a wide range of international guest lecturers – all industry experts - each bringing in a huge network of their own. As a full-time master student you will have the opportunity to collaborate in small teams on real-life projects for international brands, institutes and NGOs. You will also continually be involved in researching, which includes visits to all kinds of trade shows and other industry events, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In the third trimester you can be partnered with a mentor from the industry who will help you achieve your goals by providing feedback, contacts and coaching on a regular basis. You will also have the opportunity to be a SLEM representative at various international trade shows and events, where you can put yourself on the map by speaking with industry professionals. Innovative social entrepreneurship SLEM consistently stimulates innovative social entrepreneurship and enables you to start building your own company during the program. We imagine that in the near future most people will work on projects in international, flexible teams of independent freelancers and entrepreneurs, rather than having a job as an employee for just one company. At SLEM this is the future that we are actively creating. Students lead and execute all the projects offered during the program, collaborating closely with the companies and organizations involved. To help achieve this, the curriculum includes and requires teamwork, feedback, project and business management, time management and professional attitude. All expertise, skills and attitude gained during the program come together in the graduation project, which encompasses creating a new product and/ or business concept that will innovate the footwear industry in a meaningful way. You can do this individually or in teams and make it the start of your actual company that you will continue to work on after graduation. Program The master of Footwear Innovation consists of three trimesters of three months each. The first trimester takes place in the Netherlands, the second in China and the final one can again be in the Netherlands (or in a region that is relevant to your specific graduation project). The concluding graduation ceremony always takes place at SLEM’s headquarters in Waalwijk. Throughout the program the focus will be on innovative and future-oriented thinking and how to apply this to the footwear industry in a way that creates positive change. You will review topics and issues from all angles, as all aspects combined will give you in-depth knowledge of the current state of affairs in the international footwear industry and a profound insight into future opportunities. Classes for the first two trimesters are divided into topics, each a week long, with week breaks for personal developments (as well as weekends) to work on individual or company projects. In the final trimester you focus solely on creating your own final project. During this trimester you do not have classes, but you are required to have regular meetings with faculty and external mentors, either in person or online. [-]


Testimonials Master of Footwear Innovation


SLEM Footwear & Education Center

Address Raadhuisplein 1-2
Waalwijk 5141KG, Nederland
Phone +31 416 757 630