Introduction: Rodarte-Style Light Up Shoes

About: Alison Lewis is a fashion hound who loves technology and DIY. She is the producer of and the author of Switch Craft. Her work has been featured internationally and in such publications as …

After seeing Rodarte's light-up heels, I decided to make some for myself. The task seemed simple enough. I was able to make a slipcover for the heel of my shoe with embedded light. I used the LED sequins from Aniomagic, you can find them here. The battery pack is from Switch Craft, the materials below account for this. You can use a different battery holder if you like, both  Aniomagic and Lilypad's battery holders work well.

Step 1: Materials

  • * Pair of your favorite high-heeled shoes
  •  2 sew-able LEDs
  • Saran Wrap or lightweight sheer fabric.
  • Ribbon (at least 1 yard, more if you want it to lace up your leg)
  • Conductive thread/or thin conductive wire
  • Main Fabric (pick one with a good translucency for the light)
  • Cotton Lining Fabric
  • Paper and pencil
  • Needle, Thread & Fabric Pins, Scissors


  • 3 Hearing Aid Batteries (size 10)
  • 5mm Heat Shrink Tubing
  • 4 Magnetic jewelry clasps, 2 gold and 2 silver (design must be flat on both ends)

Step 2: Make the Pattern

Make a pattern for the height and width of your shoe heels with paper and pencil. Make one pattern for the back of the shoe and one for the heel itself. When you are done, the shapes should look somewhat like the patterns below.

Step 3: Sew the LED Lights

Sew in your LEDs to the cotton lining, following the diagram below. It is important that you use a singular thread for each (+) and (-) side of the LED. This means that you will have two threads meeting in the middle. Pull them through to the other side of your fabric and tie them in a knot, leaving about  5” of thread left over for use later. I’ve used red here to indicate the (+) side of the LED and black to represent the (-) side of the LED; however, your thread will be gray or silver. Sew in the LEDs for each shoe heel pattern.

Step 4: Make the Heel Pouch

PART A) With right sides together, sew the lining fabric and main fabric together on the sides and bottom. Leave the top open. Turn your bottom-heel pattern you just sewed right side out.

NOTE: If you are using the Switch Craft Power Pack for your battery: sew on your jewelry clasps to the two threads left hanging on the outside of the cotton lining. Sew a Gold clasp to the (+) threads and a Silver clasp to the (-) thread.

PART B) If you want a soft diffused effect like they have in Rodarte, stuff some saran wrap or your sheer fabric into the newly made heel pouch shape to help create some space between the two fabrics.

Step 5: Put the Top and Bottom Heel Together

Fold under and stitch the top and sides of your top heel pattern.

Close the gap of your pocket-like shape and sew the top and bottom heels together. Depending on your pattern, you may have to pin and gather the two sides together to ensure a nice curved fit. As you can see in the diagram below, the battery pack connects on the inside of the heel bottom of the pattern.

Step 6: Finish and Fit

Fold the shape around your shoe and test for a proper fit, then top-stitch the flaps together.

Finally top-stitch your ribbon to the top of the shoe patter, make sure its long enough to tie around the front of your shoe (pick a length that suits your style). Insert your battery and let your heels shine.

If you want, you can add a switch at the top or back of the shoe. EVEN better, sew the (+)  conductive thread from the LEDs up the top into one side of the ribbon. Sew the (+) from the battery to the other side of the ribbon and and make the ribbon the switch. This way they only light when the ribbon is tied, CUTE!