The 10 Best Light Up Shoes
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Whether you are looking for footwear that will keep you visible to traffic on nighttime dog walking expeditions, or your kids just feel like dazzling their friends with flashing kicks, these light-up shoes will brighten the feet of any wearer. Considering that LED-illuminated sneakers have been on the scene since the early 1990s, it doesn't seem like the trend is going anywhere anytime soon. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 18, 2019:
Flashing lights look good in a variety of styles, and we wanted to include as many as we could on our list so no matter your's or your kid's personal taste, there will be kicks to match. For sleek, athletic options, take a look at the Skechers Kids Erupters, Stride Rite Made 2 Play, and the Puma Kids' Speed V PS. They all have supportive arches for running, jumping, and playing. As for children who don't like tons of cartoons and graphics but prefer to look more like adults, there are the Sketchers Energy, which are minimalist in style and reminiscent of 90s high tops. Adults looking for eye-catching kicks for that next music festival or dance party will like the Mohem ShinyNight, with the flashy metallic options, or the Electric Styles Adult Tennis, the lights of which can sync up to music. There are also the DoGeek LED for more casual adult wear. Since we didn't want to leave children in boring gear when the weather gets wet, so the Zoogs Rain Boots made the cut, too.
Grabbing Attention In All The Right Ways
The illuminated variety of footwear comes to life in a way that a traditional pair of sneakers does not.
When thinking about footwear, I'm comically reminded of a quote from the fictional Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding from the Shawshank Redemption. As he recounts his good friend Andy Dufresne's clever escape from prison, Red comments on Andy's theft of the warden's freshly-buffed shoes. "I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?" In 1966, Andy may have gotten away with strolling by a prison guard without a second look. Were he to attempt this today after swiping a pair of the warden's snazzy light up sneakers, he'd probably get the attention of nearly every guard at Shawshank. Red obviously didn't assume that a shoe could be equipped with LEDs when asking such a question. Fictional situations notwithstanding, the good news is that we aren't living in a Stephen King novel. This means that a pair of light-up shoes allows you to stand out in a crowd to get the attention you want. But I wouldn't recommend trying to sneak out of prison in a pair of these.
Light up shoes are worn in very much the same way as conventional sneakers, but with the addition of rechargeable LED technology housed within their midsoles. The illuminated variety of footwear comes to life in a way that a traditional pair of sneakers does not. For example, LED shoes not only display a variety of bright colors, but they can do so with flashing, strobe, and even random color modes. Another feature common to many light up shoes is their use of integrated motion sensors to activate their LEDs with every step or movement of a user's foot.
Besides looking really cool, aren't light up shoes just for kids? They are actually designed for both kids and adults alike, but the perception of the product changes with age. Bright lights and variations in color encourage excitement, curiosity, and the imagination for little ones. Light up shoes offer kids a break from wearing an ordinary set of running shoes, but the same is true for an adult. Color perceptions also change over time as a person grows.
So, what other practical benefits do light up shoes serve to those who wear them? One value is visibility. Similar to an LED vest, light up shoes get the attention of motorists and pedestrians long before a potential accident or injury occurs. The shoes will serve the same purpose whether you're running, hiking, or cycling on the street. Because many of these shoes flash with each step or leg motion, they become an even stronger roadside ally, as every movement illuminates the area around you. Nobody is telling you to turn yourself into a walking Christmas tree to stay safe, but the undeniable fact is that the product offers plenty of nighttime awareness to you and those around you. Light up shoes are also used as a fashion statement. Young Tommy might flaunt his new pair of LED shoes to his friends, making them jealous enough to want a similar product. In that sense, Tommy's shoes just turned him into a mobile advertisement for a particular brand. For the older generation, these shoes are excellent companions for both clubbing and dancing.
Being Careful Without Sacrificing Style
Power considerations are important to consider when investing in a pair of light up shoes, especially for kids. Many pairs provide up to 10 hours of illumination before needing a charge. When it does come time to power them up, going with a brand that includes a reliable USB charging cable is beneficial. Additionally, the power switch for the shoe lights should be easy to access for little fingers.
Like any other shoe, one should also consider the materials from which the shoes have been constructed. If you plan to wear them on different types of terrain and in varying weather conditions, the soles should be made from sturdy thermoplastic rubber for durability. PVC vinyl material also helps to ensure the shoes withstand heavy rainfall or puddles.
If you plan to use your light up shoes for dancing and performing, consider a pair that offers the greatest degree of shock absorbency possible in the soles.
A Brief History Of Light Up Shoes
Aside from a fashion legacy that transcends color, form, style, and generations, the history of footwear goes as far back in time as our early ancestors nearly 40,000 years ago during the Middle Paleolithic period. Shoes at this time were made from wraparound leather and resembled sandals or moccasins.
Founded by Robert Greenburg in 1979 as a high-quality women's apparel company, LA Gear was first on the scene with its LA Lights brand to begin the light up shoe craze.
The emergence of modern-looking shoes didn't take occur until sometime during Europe's Baroque period. While shoes for both men and women very much resembled one another, different materials were used depending on a person's social status. It wasn't until the 1800s that shoe style, color, and overall shape differed between the sexes. Up until the 1850s, there were no shoes fashioned specifically for the left or right foot.
The first rubber-soled shoes appeared as early as 1917 and became known as sneakers due to their quiet nature when compared to earlier forms of footwear. Though designed specifically for athletic activity, their flexible soles made them so comfortable that consumers preferred to wear them on a daily basis.
Founded by Robert Greenburg in 1979 as a high-quality women's apparel company, LA Gear was first on the scene with its LA Lights brand to begin the light up shoe craze. The LA Lights found their way into Foot Locker stores by 1992 and were available in bright colors with illuminated heels.
Today's LED shoes are equipped with more lights, dedicated flashing modes, and USB-rechargeable batteries for extended use, all of which will captivate a public audience. So, how often would one really look at another man's shoes? With a pair of light up shoes, chances are you wouldn't be sneaking past anyone at night without at least a few second looks.