Super Bright LED Sneakers

October 14, 2010

My Instructable

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Posted by wcruz | Blog, Projects | | | Comments (20)

20 Responses to “Super Bright LED Sneakers”

  1. Adm says:

    $15 for a pair of running shoes?!?!??

    Also wouldn’t it be more comfortable to use a watch battery instead of a 9V wrapped in the shoelaces? The little Nike+ thing that gets woven into my laces bothers me and its not even 1/4 the size of a 9V.

    Regardless nice hack!

  2. Derryl says:

    The leds look great!

    I think it would be easier on the batteries to add a 555 timer chip in the circuit to make the leds flash. Can anyone suggest how to do this?

    For added safety I’d also like to suggest a strip at the rear as well – maybe distribute half of the leds to the front and half to the rear.

  3. Nate says:

    Watch batteries don’t hold much energy, and can’t sustain a high current draw for very long. Neither do 9v batteries, actually. Let’s run some numbers:

    CR2032 lithium: biggest “watch” battery. Approx 230mAh at 3v, = 0.69 Watt-Hours, average cost in bulk $0.50, cost $0.72 per watt-hour of energy.

    9-volt (6LR61) alkaline: Approx 600mAh at 9v = 5.4WH, average cost in bulk $1.48, cost $0.27 per watt-hour.

    AA (UM3/LR6) alkaline: Approx 2700mAh at 1.5v = 4.05WH, average cost in bulk $0.39, cost $0.09 per watt-hour.

    Obviously it gets even more dramatic when you consider that rechargeable AAs are common and robust, while rechargeable 9v and coin cells are rare and awkward. Cost per watt-hour drops to “don’t bother calculating it” territory when you start using decent rechargeables.

    These light strips run several LEDs in series, so they require a fairly high voltage to light up. You’d need a boost converter to use watch batteries or AAs for a project like this, but it would pay off quickly! Sparkfun sells a cute little DC-to-DC step-up converter with a 5-volt output that could be easily modified to make 9 or 12v instead, feeding from a single AA or two AAs.

    The better way would be to make your own LED strip. Super thin flexible circuit board material is fairly cheap, you could place the LEDs in series or parallel arrangements to suit your power situation, you could choose your own current-limiting resistors to keep the LEDs from burning out, and you could do whatever colors you want.

    As for Derryl’s flasher idea, you’d be using basically the datasheet-example 555 circuit, possibly using a little FET to amplify the output current and drive the actual LEDs. The fact that you’ve heard of the 555 tells me that “suggest how to do this” is a bit of a silly question — you do it just like every other 555 circuit!

    Packaging would be tricky though, since most hobbyists work with DIP chips and through-hole components, and this project is just crying out for surfacemount. However, the author’s own ease with soldering to the surface of the LED strip tells me that this really isn’t insurmountable! You could build the whole circuit at the end of the lightstrip and cover the whole thing in clear heatshrink. Squirt a little hot-melt glue in the ends and smash with pliers while hot to make a waterproof seal, then trim.

    You could make a smaller flasher using a simple astable multivibrator circuit and SMT components, and this would give you the bonus of having two alternating sets of lights, which could easily be different colors. This is a standard intro-to-electronics exercise.

  4. [...] him better. With the help of some super bright LED strips and a couple 9V batteries, he made these LED sneakers and shows you how, [...]

  5. Alan Parekh says:

    Cool project. Version 2 should have RGB LEDs and an accelerometer so that it can change color based on where the shoe is in the jogging pattern.

  6. Dyno says:


    9V battery is the best choice.
    Button batteries would die very soon.
    AA or AAA… you would need at least 7 of these to power the led’s. Who wants that much weight on their shoes?
    9V is clearly the most effective. Just buy rechargeable 9V batteries.

    • Zenock says:


      Did you even read what Nate said? He very clearly articulated why AA batteries would be better than 9V. No need for “7″ of these one or two would be plenty. Personally I would go with two…

      A 9V per Nate’s comment provides 5.4WH of energy.

      A AA per Nate’s comment provides 4.05WH of energy. Two AA batteries would provide 8.1WH of energy. So just two AA batteries provide 1/3 again as much energy as one 9V.

      But wait you say, 2AA batteries only provide 3V. You would need 6 or 7 to get 9V. I’m assuming this is where you are getting your seven number. But Nate addressed that too when he says, “Sparkfun sells a cute little DC-to-DC step-up converter”. Step up converters are down right tiny at low wattages. No reason not to use one.

      Also, this solution is going to provide a more stable voltage at or above 9V. Where most of the life of the 9V battery is going to hang at around 7 to 7.5 volts.

      As for rechargeable 9 Volts Nate even addresses this when he says, “rechargeable AAs are common and robust, while rechargeable 9v and coin cells are rare and awkward”.

      Nates comment was spot on. It’s almost seems like instead of reading what he said, you skimmed his comment, saw he was suggesting double A’s and thought you knew better. Before telling someone they are wrong, maybe you should make sure you understand what they are saying.

  7. Ji Seo says:

    Great project, though the instructions are hard to read because of the size of the images as it is on the blog =(

  8. Li Wan says:

    awesome, awesome, awesome…

  9. I always followed your weblog, I learned a few things from your blog, would like to thanks yo you, I hope you have a happy day

  10. hali hol tudok venni 1 ien cipőt? mert már nagyon kellene

  11. wuirky says:

    how do i make these kind of shoes?????

  12. Mario says:

    The LEDs give an amazing effect

  13. Jay says:


  14. [...] hit are drastically reduced. Creator Will Cruz wants you to be safe, so he has generously shared full instructions for making your own light up [...]

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