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SCAD introduces first-ever sneaker minor for students

SCAD said it is the first accredited college with a sneaker design minor in the world.

ATLANTA — Students at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta are all about creativity. 

But for one minor, the "S" in SCAD, could also stand for "Sneaker."

Last Spring, SCAD started a sneaker design minor at the Savannah and Atlanta campuses. George Saxon, who's a junior at SCAD, is pursuing a sneaker design minor.

"I used to draw and collect soccer cleats when I was younger," Saxon said.

It's probably not a minor you hear about every day, which makes sense since SCAD boasts the first accredited college with sneaker design minor in the world.

"This class is giving a crash course to those who are really serious about sneaker design to know from concept development, production development, mass production, and also logistics all bundled into one sneaker minor," said Quintin Williams, the professor. 

He said the 10-week class brings in students from all different majors. 

Sammi Runnels is just one example. She's taking the course as an elective and currently designing a cycling shoe, which she knows a thing or two about considering she's on SCAD's cycling team. 

"I'm an athlete for SCAD so I’ve been to fifteen different countries and raced for Team USA," Runnels said. 

She said the Williams's teaching style brought her to the class. She laughed as she explained her love of sneakers was part of the draw too. 

Granted, the class takes more than just being a sneakerhead.

"A little bit more than that," Williams said with a smile. "You gotta understand the trends, understand the consumer, understand the need."

Williams said the need is there, explaining there are some big bucks behind this design minor.

"Sneakers is an $80 billion industry, and it’s growing. It’s growing year by year," Williams said. "When people hear sneakers, it used to be a niche conversation and now it’s something that everybody pretty much has in their closet."

Students admit the class makes them look differently at the shoes they lace up every day.

"Definitely," Runnels laughed. "When I look at a sneaker now, I can understand each individual piece."

The minor is also changing how they look at their futures.

"I could see myself working for any of the top sports brands, designing stuff," Saxon said. "Maybe later I end up starting my own company, designing my own shoes."

Students said it's definitely hard work, but they're learning how to turn doodles and dreams into real-life displays.

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