For those who want to learn the noble art of making shoes by hand, there are many ways to go about it – read books, go courses, work as apprentices, and so on. A nice part of this road can also be attending a shoemaking conference, where the Footwear Symposium in Savannah, USA, has emerged as one of the larger ones.


There are several organizations around the world, both international and regional, that gather shoemakers in various forms. One of the younger but already large ones, much because it is linked to the big Facebook group Shoemaking forum, is the Footwear Makers Guild. Behind the organization is Hungarian bespoke shoemaker Marcell Mrsan, currently living and working in Savannah where he is a teacher at a craft school and also continues to make shoes, which co-operates with among others well-known boatmaker Lisa Sorrel and several others.

A panorama picture from last year’s symposium.

For this second year, the Footwear Symposium in Savannah is organized on August 2-5, a conference for shoemakers (professionals as well as amateurs), cobblers and others in the industry, with courses, seminars and exhibitions about shoemaking. A meeting place for those who want to learn more and get to know others in industry. Most participants are from the United States, but also many travel here from other parts of the world. Part of the symposium is also a competition, where the best works are featured in many different categories like best men’s shoes, best women’s shoes, best children’s shoes, most original design, best newcomer and so on.

Visit the Footwear Symposium website if you are interested and want to know more.

Marcell Mrsan held courses in parts of the shoemaking process. All pictures: Footwear Makers Guild