The light-up shoes from your childhood are all grown up — these Luminous Lowtops are force-sensitive, full-color LED light-up shoes for adults. Each shoe has two embedded force-sensitive resistors (FSRs) — one under the heel and one under the ball of the foot — and up to 40 RGB LEDs that change color based on the FSR readings, giving brilliant visual effects when you walk, stomp, jump, or lean.

Not long ago I saw a little boy stomping around a store in his light-up shoes. Admittedly jealous, I searched online for adult light-up shoes. Disappointingly, none of them responded to how you moved, only to the fact that you moved. Also, most of them required a battery pack to be strapped to the leg or shoe, rather than putting it inside like the kids’ shoes do. With those issues in mind, I decided to make the Luminous Lowtops.

The electronics are as simple as possible, to allow everything to fit within the shoe. The LEDs are individually addressable, so each one can be a different color at the same time, allowing the shoes to show shifts in weight and react to your movements. An Arduino Mini microcontroller reads an analog input from the front and rear FSRs, converts these values into colors and maps them to the front and rear LEDs, then calculates a color gradient for all the LEDs in between.

Each shoe is powered by 3 rechargeable AA batteries under the heel, and the components are embedded under the insole for a clean look. The LED strip is securely sewn to the exterior of the shoe, so you can jump, dance, or just gaze at the changing colors.