Smocked Boot by Madeline Helt


GFA offers recognition in all footwear divisions, from Fashion to Sports, and at every stage of development, from design to the manufacturing process.  GFA evaluates entries in 3 different levels: Brands, independent designers, and students, to provide a fair opportunity to each level.

The Global Footwear Awards acknowledges ground-breaking footwear designs with the highest global recognition across different business entities, including professionals and emerging young designers.


The Global Footwear Awards recognizes the efforts of talented footwear designers around the world and aims to celebrate their exceptional creations at a global scale while honoring sustainable practices that will inspire the industry as a whole.


The Global Footwear Awards honors the best in the industry, addressing creativity, innovation, sustainability, and social impact. GFA’s ambition is to provide the highest recognition to footwear designers in all levels, from emerging designers to design professionals, and to corporations. The award offers global visibility to designers, providing greater opportunities in the footwear business and beyond. The GFA also provides an international platform, generating a network of leading professionals in support of moving the industry forward.


The Global Footwear Awards acknowledges the best footwear designers from all over the world with international recognition. The GFA Jury Panel consists of leading professionals, across the globe, coming from different disciplines within the footwear industry, including major publications, retailers, institutions, and influencers.

GFA offers recognition in all categories from Fashion to Sports, and at every stage of development, from design to manufacturing and technology. Moreover, GFA evaluates entries in 3 different levels: brands, independent designers, and students, to provide a fair opportunity to each level.




Across four categories and over twenty-eight subcategories, the Brand Design of the Year Award and the Independent Designer of the Year Award seeks talented professional footwear designers whose work elevates the shoe industry, either with an innovative design or a new sustainable approach. To find out more about what we are looking for, and for helpful submission tips, the details can be found on our categories page.

Students and young designers are encouraged to apply for our Emerging Designer of the Year Award, which uses the same category and subcategory titles as the professional award. This prize is awarded to the student who has demonstrated devotion and excels in footwear design.

The GFA Design of the Year winner will receive the GFA Awards trophy, a badge of achievement, considerable publicity and promotion, coverage, critical acclaim, and much more. To find out how much more, have a look at our benefits page

Entering a project is completed online in a simple 4-step process. Designs can be from anywhere in the world. The design must be completed within recent years (5 years). It can be a product in-store, a project in development, or conceptual.

The Emerging Designer of the Year will receive two comprehensive masterclasses centered around the theme of “Culture – Impact and Purpose“, aiming at expanding the perspective of emerging winners in design. Jury member and renowned sneaker industry figure boasting over 37 years of experience, Sean Williams the co-founder of the SOLEcial Studies in NYC will also hold a “Creative Council” session to review the portfolios of this young talent, discuss its design goals, and guide him in his-her next career steps.


Join the Global Footwear Awards 5th Anniversary special Awards, under the theme “Reimagining iconic shoe designs”.

Reimagining iconic shoe designs by blending creativity, technology, and contemporary trends is an exciting intersection that pushes the boundaries of traditional footwear. This fusion not only caters to the evolving needs of consumers but also transforms classic designs into cutting-edge fashion statements.

Some exploration angles may include: Customization Through Technology, Sustainable Innovation, Artistic Collaborations, Performance Enhancement, Cultural and Social Influences

Entering a project is completed online in a simple 4-step process. Designs can be from anywhere in the world within the theme Reimagining iconic shoe designs”.The design must be completed within recent years (5 years). It can be a: product in-store, a project in development, or conceptual.

Reimagining iconic shoe designs” is a special contest for the Global Footwear Awards’ 5th anniversary. Companies, professional independent designers, students, and young designers are encouraged to apply.

Submissions from each professional level will be meticulously reviewed separately to ensure a fair and thorough evaluation process. This inclusive approach aims to celebrate and recognize the diverse perspectives and innovative ideas that can arise from various stages of expertise within the design community.

Whether you bring years of industry experience or youthful vigor to the table, we welcome your unique take on reimagining iconic shoe designs that seamlessly merge creativity, cutting-edge technology, and the latest trends in the fashion landscape.


Companies, Independent Professionals, Students applications: CHF 20 incl. Swiss VAT (approx.: US$23)


This special contest will close on July 31st, 2024, the winners will be announced in September 2024.

Terms and conditions of the yearly Global Footwear Awards apply.


The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Footwear Designers, and other professionals in the shoe Design Industry, whose contribution over their entire careers is inspirational. Dedicated to professionals with a minimum of 40 years of experience in the industry with outstanding performance, the Award is one of the highest honors awarded in the design field. The GFA Awards team will be receiving nominations from the jury members directly.

There is no fee to nominate a designer, all applications need to be completed by July 31st, 2024. 

To nominate for the GFA Lifetime Achievement Award, please email with the following materials:

  • Footwear Designer’s full name and contact details
  • Current Company Information
  • Headshot – Portrait
  • Nominee Bio (400 to 500 words)
  • Description of his/her career (700 – 900 words)
  • A list of 10 of the most significant footwear designs the nominee has been working on.
  • Series of  5-7 images of work/projects
  • A list of other involvements in the industry such as academic, associative, mentorship…and more


The Jury panel evaluates entries based on creativity, design, and innovation. The Jury members cast their votes individually and anonymously as opposed to in a group forum to ensure unbiased and impartial judging. Jury votes are tallied and the highest overall scoring entries in each category are selected as Winners.

The design must be completed in recent years (5 years). It can be a product in-store, a project in development, or conceptual. We reward excellence in footwear design, so the presentation of the design is an important part of evaluating the work. It needs to generate consumer desire and provide a better experience for consumers. Great designs are those that demonstrate innovation and embrace new technologies, set new trends, and push the boundaries of human ingenuity. We are also interested in designs with high regard for sustainable practices, social impact, and humanitarian issues, for which we have set up special awards.

Please ensure you provide sufficient and persuasive detailing and make your presentation as convincing as possible, as this will enable the jury to make the best possible evaluation of your design.


More information needed? Check our FAQ or download the GFA Awards Entry Guide 2024.


Click here to submit your project.