Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use LiPoly batteries instead of alkaline packs?

Sure! Alkaline packs are recommended for beginners, but advanced users with experience using/caring for rechargeable lipoly batteries might upgrade to a 500mAh cell per shoe. Read more in the guide on battery powering your wearable electronics.

What happens if it rains? Can I waterproof my Firewalkers?

The LED strip is in a weather resistant sheathing and should suffice for short grass and wet pavement, but if you want to go out in the rain, you should switch out the conductive thread for stranded wire and take steps to waterproof your circuit board. Here's a video on "rugged-izing" your wearables:

Can I use GEMMA instead? Is the code compatible?

So this project was published before GEMMA existed. Yes, you can use GEMMA (in the sketch, change the sensor pin to A2 and the pixel output to 1), it's just harder to calibrate your sensor since there's no simple serial debugging on GEMMA. You can hack a serial connection with our guide, or find your sensor levels through time-consuming trial and error.

How can I change the color scheme of the firewalker animation?

Adafruit support engineer Bill writes:

The firewalker code is a little tricky. It calculates all the color values before calling setPixelColor.

What I did was simply exchange the "r" and "b" values so the color spectrum starts at blue instead of red.

Just replace the similar looking 'for' loop in your code with:

  for(i=0; i<SHOE_LEN_LEDS; i++) { // For each LED on one side...
    level = mag[i];                // Pixel magnitude (brightness)
    if(level < 255) {              // 0-254 = black to blue-1
      b = pgm_read_byte(&gamma[level]);
      g = r = 0;
    } else if(level < 510) {       // 255-509 = blue to cyan-1
      b = 255;
      g = pgm_read_byte(&gamma[level - 255]);
      r = 0;
    } else if(level < 765) {       // 510-764 = cyan to white-1
      b = g = 255;
      r = pgm_read_byte(&gamma[level - 510]);
    } else {                       // 765+ = white
      r = g = b = 255;
    // Set R/G/B color along outside of shoe
    strip.setPixelColor(i+SHOE_LED_BACK, r, g, b);
    // Pixels along inside are funny...
    j = dup[i];
    if(j < 255) strip.setPixelColor(j, r, g, b);

Can I use a different density of NeoPixel strip?

Yep, the code has a variable for the index of the pixels at the front and rear of the shoe, which will adjust the animation accordingly.

When I try to program my board I get the error "A9 was not declared in this scope"

You probably don't have the right board selected in the Arduino IDE. A9 doesn't exist on an Arduino Uno, so make sure you have Adafruit Flora selected as your board under Hardware-> Board.

Over time the strip cracks where the shoe bends. How can I avoid this?


I don't want to make these. Where can I buy shoes like this?!

If you want to commission a maker to build these for your, post up in the Adafruit Jobs board! We've seen similar looking LED sneakers (without the rad pressure-sensitive fire animation) on Ebay and Etsy, so you may have some luck finding some online.

Last updated on 2015-08-29 at 03.01.01 PM Published on 2013-08-28 at 01.27.21 PM