Director/Senior Director, Footwear Product Development


San Leandro, CA, USA

Full time



Sep 6

About the Role

The Director/Senior Director of Footwear Development will lead, manage, and execute the footwear development process, utilizing advanced product and process knowledge. This position will work with a cross-functional product creation team from the collection of insights to the delivery of products that exceed consumer expectations. This person is responsible for achieving results within the specified calendar and budget constraints, ensuring projects meet quality expectations, are delivered on time, and meet company financial margin targets.


You’ll Make a Difference By

  • Leading the product creation process by managing both internal and external resources, in conjunction with vendor/factory resources, to meet execution timelines for new and inline products from concepts through approval of pre-production samples; drive product development timelines to ensure calendar deliverables and dates meet target schedule
  • Reviewing and approving all tooling (blueprints) on a seasonal basis. Recommend, review, and approve all compounds on all components to ensure products meet end use requirements, pass all relevant testing, and meet global test standards
  • Leading the drive towards automation, efficiencies, value engineering, design for manufacturing in partnership with Product Creation team, while maintaining Ariat’s best in class quality standards
  • Standardizing fit and utilization of proven fitting back part on new lasts, allowing for different footwear types and constructions. Manage digital and physical last library on a global basis
  • Leading the innovation agenda and transition to inline new product development, establish the requirement of new machine and technology capability requirements if necessary and influence the product sourcing decision  
  • Managing the Product Development team: training and development, talent assessment, coaching and mentoring to develop the talent and elevate the team capacity and build on the positive and inclusive working environment to support the long term business needs   
  • Collaborating though daily e-mails, video conferences, and regular factory visits with our overseas partners and Ariat offices to assure quality and on time delivery of prototypes and sampling through production.
  • Collaborating with Design, Engineering, Merchandise, Material and Costing team to achieve product performance integrity through product testing (physical and field testing), product is engineered properly, FOB price meet targets, sample size fitting and visual is approved
  • Traveling to overseas manufacturing facilities with TRIAD team 2 – 3 times per year to review Pullovers and manage problem solving of seasonal development
  • Giving direct reports proper guidance on their projects, meeting their calendar milestones, and utilizing systems, while keeping them “on track” in terms of their professional development



About You

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Design, Biomechanics or related field, MBA or Master is a plus
  • 10+ successful years of experience leading the development of high-performance footwear projects; minimum of 5 years as a leader of people
  • A complete knowledge of footwear development, construction and production, comprehensive knowledge of lasts, molds, and patterns (and grading standards)
  • Technical expertise in footwear product development, process, project management, costing and manufacturing of product from conception to retail
  • Demonstrated success leading, developing, and motivating high performing teams
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with an advanced ability to communicate new ideas, concepts and functional expertise within project teams and to external stakeholders
  • Ability to build strong and effective cross-functional relationships
  • Availability to travel internationally
  • Attention to detail, follow-through and organization skills are critical
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PLM systems
  • Embrace and live Ariat values!


About Ariat

Ariat is an innovative, outdoor global brand with roots in equestrian performance. We develop high quality footwear and apparel for people who ride, work, and play outdoors, and care about performance, quality, comfort, and style.


The salary range for this position is $130,000 - $140,000 per year.


The salary is determined by the education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities of the applicant, internal equity, and alignment with market data for geographic locations. Ariat in good faith believes that this posted compensation range is accurate for this role at this location at the time of this posting. This range may be modified in the future.


Ariat’s holistic benefits package for full-time team members includes (but is not limited to):

  • Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance options
  • Expanded wellness and mental health benefits
  • Paid time off (PTO), paid holidays, and paid volunteer days
  • 401(k) with company match
  • Bonus incentive plans
  • Team member discount on Ariat merchandise

Note: Availability of benefits may be subject to location & employment type and may have certain eligibility requirements. Ariat reserves the right to alter these benefits in whole or in part at any time without advance notice.

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