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Pensole Footwear Design Academy
Location, ,
45°31′24″N 122°40′30″W / 45.52342°N 122.67508°W / 45.52342; -122.67508Coordinates: 45°31′24″N 122°40′30″W / 45.52342°N 122.67508°W / 45.52342; -122.67508
Pensole Footwear Design Academy.png

Pensole Footwear Design Academy is a footwear design school based in Portland, Oregon.[1] Founded in 2010 by D’Wayne Edwards, the school has partnerships with institutions such as Parsons The New School for Design, Art Center College of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as brands such as Foot Locker, Asics, and Adidas.[2][3][4] Founder Edwards is a former design director of Brand Jordan, a subsidiary of Oregon based Nike.[5] The school has also worked with Adidas, whose North American headquarters are in Portland,[6] and also hold a design competition called the Future of Footwear.[7]


Pensole was founded in 2010 and started by holding classes at a variety of venues, including the University of Oregon's Portland Center.[2][8] Founder of the academy, D’Wayne Edwards, started in the industry without any formal training and worked for LA Gear, Skechers, and Sity before spending ten years at Nike with the Jordan Brand.[9][10] Pensole began as a program partnered with the University of Oregon.[11] The school moved to Portland's Old Town neighborhood in the Northwest area in January 2012.[12][13] In 2013, Pensole started classes for professionals in the shoe industry.[14] Pensole held a World Sneaker Championship in 2014.[15] The associated foundation began selling shares in the school in 2014 in an effort to raise up to $7.5 million for the school.[16] Pensole raised $4 million through a partnership with Rooy Inc. in 2015.[17]


The school offers introductory classes to college and high school students held on Saturdays.[18] Pensole also has classes for those in the design profession and middle school students.[14][19] Students come from throughout the country, and also include some students from other countries such as Denmark and Israel.[20] Pensole also has a materials library (MLab) and has a class specifically for materials, colors, and finishing.[11]

In addition to the usual 11-week courses, there are also week-long courses held during spring break,[21] and other short-term courses.[22] The 11-week courses are equivalent to a full college semester.[11] Some programs also allow students to earn credit toward degrees in other colleges.[23] Instructors include people from Nike and other Oregon-based footwear companies.[18] Pensole is located at 10 Northwest Fifth Avenue along Burnside in the Old Town neighborhood.[18] Classes are also held in other cities, such as Las Vegas.[24] The school has partnered with Parsons The New School for Design to hold classes in New York City, with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and with Massachusetts Institute of Technology for classes in Boston.[2]


  1. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (September 8, 2016). "Introducing The World's First Sneaker Design Academy". Fast Company. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Kish, Matthew (February 14, 2014). "The big vision for D'Wayne Edwards' Pensole (It's bigger than you thought)". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  3. ^ Kish, Matthew (July 26, 2013). "Pensole, MIT ramp up minorities in footwear focus". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  4. ^ Davis, Noah. "D’Wayne Edwards Is Teaching the Next Generation of Sneaker Designers." Racked. 06 February 2017.
  5. ^ Siemers, Erik (May 10, 2012). "Pensole footwear design class shows off the intentionally unorthodox". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  6. ^ Siemers, Erik (April 13, 2012). "Adidas, Pensole partner on Portland footwear design program". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  7. ^ Siemers, Erik (July 2, 2012). "Pensole's 'Future of Footwear' competition puts school on national stage". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  8. ^ Brettman, Allan (August 19, 2011). "Veteran Nike/Jordan brand designer D'Wayne Edwards launches footwear design school". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  9. ^ Williams, Trey (March 10, 2015). "Website lets sneakerheads design their own shoes". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  10. ^ Williams, Brennan Hiro (January 26, 2012). "Pensole Footwear Design Academy to Open in Downtown Portland". Sole Collector. Complex Media Inc. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Swantko, Kathlyn (January–February 2013). "The Pensole Footwear Design Academy" (PDF). Textile Insight: 35. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  12. ^ Siemers, Erik (December 23, 2011). "Pensole lands in Old Town". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  13. ^ Siemers, Erik (July 27, 2012). "Pensole to open its footwear design showcase to the public Friday". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  14. ^ a b Siemers, Erik (January 29, 2013). "Pensole launches footwear design courses for the pros". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  15. ^ Williams, Jared (February 11, 2014). "Pensole's "World Sneaker Championship" Is Coming to NYC". Complex Sneakers. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  16. ^ Kish, Matthew (September 10, 2014). "Portland's shoe design academy readies expansion, seeks $7.5 million". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  17. ^ Kish, Matthew (March 2, 2015). "Pensole teams with Rooy on $4 million investment round". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Brettman, Allan (January 20, 2012). "Former Nike and Jordan Brand designer readies footwear design school". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  19. ^ Brettman, Allan (June 20, 2013). "Younger-than-usual students venture to Pensole Footwear Design Academy". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  20. ^ core jr (June 26, 2013). "Presenting PENSOLE's 'Future of Footwear' Master Class Scholarship Winners". Core77. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  21. ^ Brettman, Allan (February 13, 2014). "Pensole, the Portland footwear design school, offering 2 classes for Oregon students". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  22. ^ Brettman, Allan (April 13, 2012). "Adidas, Portland footwear design school Pensole to offer class". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  23. ^ Keyser, Amber. Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2015. Print. p.56
  24. ^ Gokcen, Senay (December 20, 2013). "Pensole Launches Special Footwear Master Class and Competition for Las Vegas Design Students". Dexigner. Retrieved 20 February 2014.

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