With all the glamour, glitz, and style of the LED shoes, you also need to keep in mind that these shoes can lose that sparkle when handled the wrong way. Well, those LED lights sure come at a price point, and you wouldn’t really want them to get wrecked in any manner.
So, how exactly would you keep them from going haywire? Should you try and fix them? Or should you forget all about the old one and shell out some cash for a new one?
Well, what if we tell you that fixing it is the right way to go? Unless, of course, the shoe is damaged beyond recognition!
In this guide, we will explain all about the right way to fix up your LED shoes and save your hard-earned money.
The importance of a good pair of LED shoes
Children’s feet undergo a lot of changes, especially during the development stage. It becomes essential to make sure that you invest in the right pair of shoes to affect your child’s feet.
Buying shoes, in general, can be very confusing, especially when it comes to kids. If you are new to buying LED shoes, this all-inclusive guide will give you all the help you need.
What are LED shoes?
Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are energy-efficient and safe incandescent bulbs. They are recyclable, free from harsh chemicals, and are bright. LED lights in general, even when lit, are designed to sustain the heat. That is why they make an excellent option to put on wearables like shoes.
Let us turn back time.
Nicholas Rodgers is the brains behind the concept of LED shoes who developed a unique system that he installed on regular sneakers during the late 1980s. This Canadian inventor came up with the idea to safeguard his children when they played outdoors during the winter.
In 1992, L.A. Gear used this same concept and launched a battery-powered children’s sneaker collection. In the first year itself, the company sold more than five million pairs. As much as the concept was a success during the first year, its popularity did not last very long.
During the initial launch, there were lots of concerns about the mercury content in the batteries. The first being if children inhaled it and the second if it came in contact with the skin. It went to the extent where Minnesota banned LED shoes.
The concept did make a comeback during the 1990s but with better modifications and newer technologies. The new collection of LED shoes was affordable, convenient, and safe for children to wear.
Factors that lead to damaged LED shoes
The shoes are designed to sustain various kinds of environmental factors to a specific limit. However, in the case of extreme cases, you can develop different types of issues. Let us look at the various factors that can damage your LED shoes as well.
Water or moisture is one of the leading factors that can damage LED shoes. If any of the electronic components come in contact with water, it can stop working. No doubt, a lot of care is taken to ensure that this does not happen, but we can never predict when things can go wrong.
The batteries added to the LED shoes often are prone to damage when they come in contact with water or moisture that seeps into the shoe. Further, moisture can damage or oxidize the metal contacts& render your LED batteries useless.
Moisture can cause issues such as shoe malfunctioning or even destroy the inner electronic parts completely. It is crucial to keep the LED shoes in the driest possible environment when using them.
Most LED shoes are designed to resist a certain amount of damage that might be caused by water. Some of them are even houses within a rubber or plastic casing to prevent moisture or sweat damage.
While this stands true that they can resist a tad water exposure, total submersion is something you should surely avoid. In case the hoe gets too wet, it could lead to a short circuit and hence damaging the entire LED circuitry.
Do not wash your shoes in the washing machine. If at all they get dirty, dry cleaning is the safest and best option.
Just as moisture, even excess heat, can equally be responsible for damages. The battery may get permanently damaged if you place the shoes in a hot environment for a long duration. The chemicals or components of the battery may also burst due to extensive heat.
Long-term exposure to a high amount of heat could lead to the batteries getting bubbled up, bulged, or even bursting of the components might occur. It could lead to permanent battery damage.
After you are done using the shoes, make sure you place them in a shaded, dry, and cool space like somewhere under your bed or maybe a dedicated closet. Try not to keep them within the car trunk as it might get way too hot for your shoes to handle, especially if it’s a bright and sunny day.
While light impacts are not problematic, hard impacts can result in various kinds of damages. For starters, you may face problems like a broken wire or a connectivity issue. In such situations, the energy flow between the LED lights and battery is hampered.
Instances such as excessive shaking, kicking something, and even stubbing the foot against a hard object might lead to loosened wires or faulty connections. While avoiding such situations completely might be impossible, you could sure benefit by avoiding rough or rugged terrains.
Everything comes with a certain lifespan, and the same applies to LED shoes. The average lifespan for these shoes is approximately 50,000 hours. However, various factors, like the frequency of use, the duration of use, etc., can affect its lifespan.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, try and limit your wearing frequency to special occasions. It will help your shoe last longer. Daily use might shorten their life span and cause faster burnout.
Understanding the working ways of LED shoes
LED shoes have come a long way from when they were first conceptualized. The first launch came with LED light patterns that were triggered when worn. They would light up every time the shoe came in contact with the ground while jumping, running, or walking.
If you did check the sole part of your LED shoe back in the days, you would find a sensor that detected the shaking of the shoe and hence triggered the LED lighting pattern to make your walk sassy. Originally, in the LA Gear LED shoes, the sensors consisted of mercury.
The shoes you find in the market now come with motion sensors and a circuitry system that gets activated during impact with the help of its spring-operated mechanism. It is surely a safer version when you compare it with the options decked with mercury, which could be poisonous if it finds its way to your body. The spring on impact makes contact with your shoes’ battery & hence completes the circuit to trigger a flashing light sequence.
In the previously available LED shoes, a battery used to be fitted into the shoe sole. It helped protect the battery from getting affected due to moisture or water splash. Further, the rubbery sole added underneath the battery helped add to the cushioning factor for the circuit and ensured zero hard impact. Not just that, incorporating the entire setup below the shoe’s insole helped the manufacturers retain the LED shoe’s comfort factor while doubling it up with style.
Alternatively, the solid-state, blink-free LED light shoes were generally sewed into the shoe fabric. This strip was added to the upper section of the LED shoe or even embedded around its heel area towards the outer sole section. In most variants, the LED circuitry was designed and placed in a manner that helped them light up separately.
Today though, you get access to a wide variety of options that would either be a solid blink-free single color or multiple-coloured blinking/flashing lights. You might even get a shoe that discreetly houses a button to allow you a chance to change the colors with ease. Maybe you could pair it up with your favourite outfit!
With LED shoes, the key was to keep them sleek & modern without adding to the bulkiness with another component. You might also come across some pricier variants that house a motion sensor feature powered with the help of a battery. This sensor is generally housed within the shoe heel and gets activated when you walk with pressure on the heels.
While you might fix this variant if anything goes wrong, the same cannot be said for the motion sensors that are molded straight into the sole. In case the battery dies, all you can do is throw them away.
Another version also includes the glow in the dark concept, made from neon paints or lights.
The latest version of LED shoes consists of a wire that runs on the sides of the shoe. You have the flexibility even to charge the batteries using a USB cord. In one full charge, the LED lights can stay lit anywhere between seven to eight hours.
How to fix LED shoes?
If your LED shoes have a complicated problem, it is best to take it to a professional and fix it. However, in case of a simple issue, you can quickly resolve it. Now that you know the various factors that can damage your LED shoes let us look at how you can fix such shoes.
How to change the batteries of LED shoes?
If there is a problem with the batteries, you first need to understand what kind of batteries you need. The batteries can be either AAA, AA, or small batteries that are used inside watches. It is advisable to take the watch battery along with you to ensure you get the right size. This way, you do not have to run down to the store over and over again.
You might also come across shoes that use battery types such as CR2032 or CR2025. In order to remove these batteries, you might have to use the needle-nose pliers.
Be sure to keep in mind the orientation and spot for replacing the batteries. It is also advisable to recheck the placement by placing the shoe on a smooth surface and applying a little pressure with your hands to ensure they light up.
Once you are sure that you have successfully changed the battery, close it up correctly, and ensure that the cover is fastened well.
Now, you also need to keep in mind the fact that not all of your LED shoes are designed with a battery component that is easily accessible. So, examine the same before you head to the local store. If the battery component is fused into the rubber sole, you might not be able to replace the same.
For the models with batteries that are accessible from the underside, check for any slot that might open up with the help of a flathead screwdriver, nail file, or knife.
How to reconnect the LED wire?
Even after changing the batteries, if the lights don’t work, it could be a wiring issue. A broken or weak connection might prevent the shoes from shining bright or from shining at all. The recent models have the wiring alongside the interiors and are connected to the USB charging port and battery.
Once you can understand the wiring problem, you can reconnect it by rejoining the wire, either by reconnecting the wire or adding the wire. It is an issue that might have happened during the shipping process or maybe due to impact. Before opting for a new one, you might want to consider checking the internal wiring.
In order to view your shoe wiring, you can strip off the easily removable insole. You can see wiring grooves that head away from your shoes’ battery compartment & move up toward sideways or along its sole. If this is the connectivity, make sure they go right into the battery and complete the circuit. In case everything is right where it should be, push back the insole into the shoe and lay it flat.
How to strengthen the connection?
Even when the shoe wiring appears to be completely hooked up, it could only be a mirage hiding the real issue. Your connection could actually be weak, leading to a malfunction or halt of the lighting system.
In such cases, you need first to reconnect the wire. Once you do that, fill the gap or space so that the wire cannot get disconnect again. You can use materials like cardboard, foam, loose fabric, cotton, or even pennies to fill the gap.
Recheck the connection once again so that you are sure that the connection is strong and proper. Then place the cover the wiring properly and recheck the shoes to make sure they are correctly connected.
You can further strengthen the battery-wire connectivity by squeezing the battery holder using your fingers while inducing a pressing action. Alternatively, you can also tap on the same with the help of a medium-weight hammer that isn’t too heavy to destroy the components.
It will help establish a closer contact of your wires with the battery. In case you feel that the wiring still doesn’t stay and comes off every now and then, there are other quick and permanent fixes you can try to save your shoes.
It can either be your DIY project or if you do not feel too confident, you might ask someone professional to help sort out this situation. One permanent way to establish a connection within your circuit is to use epoxy or glue over the shoe’s housing components.
However, keep in mind that once they go permanent, any other issue that might surface cannot be fixed, and the entire circuit would have to be replaced. So, act accordingly and try to opt for solutions that keep your options open.
Defective Charging Port
Another problem that we might ignore when trying to fix the LED shoes is the presence of a defective charging port. While most LED shoes have a battery-powered circuitry that might not need charging, others have a port to help power up through a dedicated charger or USB cable.
If the entire circuit seems to be fine and even the battery is working at its best condition, you need to check whether the problem is with your charging port or the charging cable itself. In case the problem is with the cable, try to check its functionality using a different USB cable.
Let the shoe sit for an hour or two and check if it powers up after a quick charge. If not, the problem is with your port or cable. To change this, you need to seek professional help or maybe watch some YouTube videos and Do It Yourself, if you are brave enough, that is!
A final note
Alternatively, you might also want to check the pressure sensors that might be faulty. However, this is something only a professional could point out and help you with. Most pressure sensors come at a higher price point, and you would be better off buying a new shoe instead of investing in a new sensor altogether.
LED shoes have evolved in many ways and are safe to wear and easy to handle. The whole beauty of these shoes lies in LED lighting. You can quickly fix simple issues like changing the batteries or reconnecting the wiring instead of getting it done professionally.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.