I have always wanted a pair of light-up shoes. All the kids are wearing them. They can stomp and their shoes light up with red or blue or sparkly and I’ve always been SO JEALOUS.
Tonight, I finished my very first set of light-up shoes. I never, EVER want to take them off. Yes, I am standing here, writing this, in light-up shoes.
I was inspired by this Firewalker Shoes Tutorial from Adafruit. If you haven’t ever poked around Adafruit, I highly recommend it – they have lots of light-up wearables tutorials and inspiration. I want one of EVERYTHING.
I don’t like the Vans/Converse look so much so I decided to use a comfy pair of boots I had in the garage. They are pretty cute and steampunk-y with buttons up the sides, but one of the buttons had come off and they’d been migrating to the back of the shoe closet. I have a feeling they’re never going to get forgotten about again.
I removed all the buttons and wired up 5 of Adafruit’s neo-pixels to a brand-new Gemma. This is the first time I’d used a Gemma, but I have a little experience with the neopixels thanks to my light-up unicorn horn project. (What? I haven’t blogged about the light-up unicorn horn yet??? Here’s a pic:
I promise to go into detail about this project at some point.. maybe after the Halloween madness dies down)
I sewed the neopixels into the holes where the buttons had been, and sewed clear iridescent buttons onto the outside, and buttoned the shoes back up. The iridescent buttons catch and diffuse the light from the neopixels and look just gorgeous. They run off 3 AAA batteries, and the battery pack just slips nicely down inside the boots – I don’t even notice it.
I originally wanted to add a velostat pad under the heel so the lights would react when I stepped down, like in the Firewalker tutorial, but the velostat I got was part of a bad batch and didn’t work right. I’ve ordered some more and will probably add this functionality in later on.
Regardless, I am absolutely DELIGHTED with how they turned out. The Gemma uses a simplified (?) form of Arduino, and between the unicorn horn and this project, I’m starting to figure out how to tweak the code to get the lights to do cool things. Each project is a little more exciting and a little fancier.
You know where this is all leading, right? There will be a light-up swimming mermaid tail sometime in the not-too-distant future. Oh, yes there will.