Dr. D’Wayne Edwards is the most prominent Black designer in the footwear industry. With a 32+ year career, including over three decades from L.A. Gear, Nike and Jordan, Dr. Edwards is credited with paving the way for young Black design talent to have a career in the sneaker industry. 

In 2010, Edwards founded PENSOLE, the first academy in the U.S. dedicated to footwear design, to provide talented young design students, regardless of socioeconomic background, an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best. Dr. Edwards founded PENSOLE in part because of how difficult it was for him to come through the industry and get started. 

PENSOLE quickly became the preeminent footwear design school in the world specializing in footwear, functional apparel and accessories, color & materials, prototyping, and concept making. It operated as a popular feeder school for some of the industry’s top footwear brands and retailers and has placed more than 500+ former PENSOLE alums in positions working professionally for some of today’s top brands: Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, New Balance, Brooks, Vans, Puma, Timberland, JORDAN, and others globally. 

As an educator, Dr. Edwards has taught and lectured at some of the premier schools in the world, including ArtCenter, Parsons, MIT, and Harvard, and has spoken at the Clinton Global Conference.