Introduction: Cheap USB Powered Insole Footwarmers

Picture of Cheap USB Powered Insole Footwarmers

I have really poor circulation in my toes, specifically my Big and Index toes.
I looked around for a heated insole or sock and found that almost all my choices were either too expensive, too bulky or both.

Most of the time I have issues with my toes I am near a computer, so I figured there must be a way to heat my cold toes via USB. I looked around for USB Foot Warmers and found a website selling cheap slippers with heated inserts in them.

I ordered the slippers  (pink bunnies) for 10 dollars and awaited my package!
Opening the package and plugging them in I realized this isn't a solution, the slipper has cardboard and fur between the heating element (a heated fiber type material) and the actual bottom of the foot and the heat just didn't get to where it needed to be.

Then it hit me...

Take them out of the slipper, and rig them to my insoles so I can insert them into any footwear I own.

Step 1: Getting Your Materials Together

Picture of Getting Your Materials Together

Get your materials together:

1. Heated Slippers from DealeXtreme.com -  $10-14 US 
2. USB Extension Cord. - $2 US any where.
3. White Electrical tape. - $1 US Home Depot
4. Duct Tape. - $1 US Home Depot
5. Your sneakers. 

Step 2: Remove and Prepare Heating Elements

Picture of Remove and Prepare Heating Elements

Depending on the slippers ordered the heating element will be different shapes.
I ordered two different slippers (because I have a tendancy to screwup) and one set of heating elements were rectangular opposed to square which for my purposes suited me fine.

Remove the heating elements from the slippers by unzipping the sides (most of the slippers have zippers, if yours does not just cut them open carefully)

Cut the USB port off the end leaving aproximately 1 to 2 inches.
This will leave you with the heating element(s) and a short USB plug.

Note: If you want quick and dirty, you do NOT have to cut this wire, you can just plug it into a USB port once you have followed the rest of this instructable, but I recommend you do cut it so you can customize the length and utilze the secondary heating element.

If you are lucky enough to get a wire that has been molded together you'll be able to seperate both heating elements just by pulling the wires apart.  if not just trim each where you will have some extra length to work with.


 

Step 3: Attach the Heater to the Insole.

Picture of Attach the Heater to the Insole.

Take out your insole and turn it over, lay the heating element over the front of the insole and allow the edge to overlap a bit (this will get you some heat on the top of your toes!)

Once it is in the right position, use a small piece of duct tape to hold it.

Step 4: Insert the Insole and Thread the Wire.

Picture of Insert the Insole and Thread the Wire.

Put the insole into the shoe and thread the wire into one of the shoelace holes.You'll see that in a later picture. My picture here just shows it hanging out, this was for testing, you can use the shoelace holes, just run it out the tongue or get creative and mold it into the sole :)

Me I just wanted it simple.

Step 5: Connect the Wire to a USB Plug

Picture of Connect the Wire to a USB Plug

Connect the wire to a USB male plug (you can use the one you just cut off.)
You should have wires coming out of the shoe and wires coming off the USB tip you cut off earlier. Strip them each back by an inch or so and make the connections.

Very important!
Connect the RED to RED and BLACK to BLACK
Twist the red and red together so it makes a solid connection and do the same with the black, they need to be mated, not just touching.

Secure the connections with the white electrical tape, shrink tubes or liquid electrical tape, your choice, but make sure they are protected.

If you have other colors in your wires, snip them off or cover them with electrical tape.

Step 6: Pretty It Up and Plug It in for Warm Toes!

Picture of Pretty It Up and Plug It in for Warm Toes!

Now you can pretty it up by using the white electrical tape, drawing in the excess wire.
When ready plug it into a USB port for warm toes!

Now you have a portable USB heated insole that you can take out of any shoe, you can power it from any USB source, be it a computer, laptop, USB car adapter or wall wart adapter.

Step 7: Options!

Picture of Options!


Optional:

You can mold the USB plug into the sole
You can glue it to the bottom of the shoe instead of the insole.
You can sew them into pants to keep your butt warm.
You can attach it to a sock.
You can fix the original warmer slipper.
You can do this to a set of gloves.
You can use a portable USB battery pack for on the go warmth.

Comments

newmeetings (author)2013-10-06

Hi That is such a super simple brilliant idea. I too have the same sort of problem due to peripheral neuropathy. Thanks I will try it.

jemor143 (author)2011-06-28

Have you tried to power this thing on 6 volts? I have a couple 6 volt batteries laying around, and I'd like to try that.

gormly (author)jemor1432011-06-28

Not yet, but I don't think it would be a problem.
I am going to try all kinds of power options this coming winter, battery packs, wall socket.. etc...

jemor143 (author)2011-06-20

jemor143 says:
Great instructable you have here. I want to make myself one of those to keep my feet warm when I go hunting in winter. I want to plug these pads to a battery pack holding four C type rechargeable batteries. Each battery output 1,2 volts (same as AA rechargeable batteries) so I'll have 4,8 volts to power the heating pads. Would 4,8 volts be enough, compare to the 5 volts the USB port outputs?

The batteries are 6000 mah, which I think is not bad at all. But what about the current consumption of the pads? It has to be under 500 mah (the USB current output, i think). 6000 mah / 500 mah = a minimum of 12 hours of working time, in theory.

I'm a newbie at this: Any advices?

Finally: What about the heat coming out of these pads?

gormly (author)jemor1432011-06-20

Yes, as long as you have within 4.5-5 it should be fine and work just like mine do.

Your probably going to get a bit less than your calculation but I wouldn't be 100% sure on that as I plug them into my computer and my car when I need them.

About heat, it can get quite toasty, I ended up putting them under the soles and it worked out better. I am not sure if lowering the voltage would still allow it to work but it might. It would be interesting to put a regulator on them and try it out, but that will have to wait for the winter :)

good luck

jemor143 (author)gormly2011-06-21

Thanks.
The battery pack worn at the belt would be quite nice, but since I'll be sitting in the same blind all day long, I'll try pluging the insoles in a 12 volts power pack, using an adapter for a cigarette plug. I'll have more juice, and less trouble.
Which device do you use to plug into the car?

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