Glow in the Dark & Bottom-Lit Platform Shoes




Introduction: Glow in the Dark & Bottom-Lit Platform Shoes

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This is a really easy mod and totally fun to dance or do just about anything with.

I searched to see if I could find any other bottom lit shoes on instructables and couldn't so here we go...

I'm gonna make another instructable for this LED vest too which has a stroke sensor on the chest that controls the speed which the LEDs blink. I'l attach a link once I make it.


Step 1: Materials

What you need...

taller the sole the better in my opinion but it only needs to be tall enough for an LED of your choosing to fit inside. I used a style of shoe called "Creepers". They came already glow in the dark but I think it really adds something special to the end result so if you want yours to glow in the dark too then pick up some high quality glow in the dark paint. 

LEDs --- I used ultra bright 10mm blue LEDs (2 in each shoe)
Resistors--- for the leds I was using I needed a 100 ohm 1/4 watt resistor in each shoe
9V snap connector---
9V battery---
thin wire---
***If you want to use different LEDs than the ones I used and need help determining what resistance and power supply you need, this site is useful:

soldering iron---
Wire strippers--- are convenient but a sharp blade can work too
Linoleum cutters---will work best for caving in to sole of shoe to lay wire. They can be found at any art store. They are pictured below...But I imagine you could find a number of tools handy for this job...
Drill--- The bit needs to be a tad bigger than the diameter of the LED you are using

Step 2: Soldering

First thing you want to do is figure out your schematic (electronics map). If you have trouble with this part there are many sources online that will help you with this, just search "LEDs schematic how to" or something. The site I mentioned earlier is also an easy way to get a schematic drawn. Schematics consist of a bunch of symbols which may be confusing if you haven't seen these before so you might also want to search schematic symbols. This set up is super easy and only consists of 3 elements: battery, led, and resistor. 

After you have all of your parts and an idea of where they will be put on your shoe, just measure out the wire you need and start connecting your components.

Then bend the led leads in the shape pictured below. Make sure you understand which one is the positive side and which one is negative, you can tell this several ways. The leads are different lengths, the longer one is negative. If you look inside the actual mushroom part the side with the larger component  that is shaped like a gun is the negative side...

Then solder your all of your components together (except for the battery attachment) as pictured below. you may want to practice soldering and look at some instructional videos if you havent done this before. 

Step 3: Carving Shoe

1st thing you want to do is look at your wiring try to trace it on to your shoe as accurately as possible. Then take your linoleum cutter, and start carving in to the rubber.

Then drill out where your LEDs go and make sure to go just deep enough so they don't stick out at all. You will need to carve divetts into the holes where the leds go to make room for the leads that will be sticking out a bit.

Then in the back of the shoe, you'll probably want to make a diagonal hole from the bottom of the sole through to the upper back part of the sole so that the wires can come through.

Step 4: Battery Pack

I thought of a few ways to do the battery pack and I ended  just doing something really simple that worked well. Basically I just made a tape wrapped cover for the 9 volt and relied on my socks or tights to hold it up. I was going to make an elastic strap for it but I realized my socks could do the trick just as well and I imagined it would be more comfortable not to have a strap. I also considered attaching the battery pouch to the back of the shoe but I didn't want to ruin the form of the shoe and I was content with the other solution.

The shoes are wrapped in weird black tape because I realized soon that the soles were deteriorating. These shoes are quite a time piece actually, I bought them in 8th grade, about 10 years ago, from a vintage place. This style shoe was popular in the 80s and I guess these ones weren't made with the best soles. So I wrapped it in tape and put grip tape on the bottom.

Hope you found this useful! 
You can find more of my projects at where I focus on building things out of NYC trash.

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    Dale McLeod
    Dale McLeod

    9 years ago on Step 4

    Perfect for burning Man. I'm going to have to try this if I can find the right shoe; one could for instance shoe-goo a subassembly onto a Big5 $15 running shoe. That way maybe you could include batteries.
    There's a good alternative to soldering: the 5 in one wire-stripper crimping tool. Once you have the inventory of connectors it's invaluable.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    nice idea for the LED leads - bent up and around either end of the LED - allows for beam to shine directly down. I've always figured they had to lay flat in some channel in the sole. Will give it a shot on my next build, thanks


    10 years ago on Introduction

    An idea: You could use a coin cell holder and just clip it... also a sensor version (see my projects) so that it automatically lights up only at night....