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Can You Soar With DIY Pneumatic Booster Shoes?

It turns out that Air Jordan shoes don’t actually make you jump higher. But what if they did? Thanks to a recent collaboration with TikTok star Tyler Csatari I was finally able to find out. Tyler wanted my help jumping really high, and it’s the kind of prompt that’s hard for a maker to say no to :-)

I looked at using springs, stunt industry equipment, and even chemical propellants, before deciding to attach pneumatic pistons to some heavy-duty shoes. I calculated that at 200 PSI the jumping shoes should be able to get Tyler over 6 feet in the air, and followed guidelines from sports medicine research papers to make sure the forces on his feet would be within safe levels for athletes.

This is the type of project where tiny details can make a big difference. I needed the pistons to move very quickly which meant I needed to use large diameter tubing and valves with very high flow rates. The tubes also had to be cut to exactly the same length to ensure that all the pistons fired at exactly the same time, otherwise these jumping shoes would throw Tyler off balance. I also had to employ a timed relay to retract the pistons before Tyler landed so that he’s landing on his feet instead of the pistons.

So how did it perform? You’ll have to watch the video to find out :-)

Ian Charnas

Engineering YouTuber and makerspace founder.

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