Best Glow in the Dark Shoes Reviewed & Rated
If you want to stand out why not go with a pair of glow in the dark shoes? Not only are these fun, with a strong “wow” effect, but the feature can actually come in handy for runners who like to train after dark, or parents of children who want to increase safety in a fun way.
Available in a huge variety of designs - from running sneakers, to sandals, to flats and even heels, this type of footwear can be a great addition to your collection. If you’re a sneakerhead, you will definitely want to check out the special editions listed below, and we can guarantee that you’ll be tempted to get two of the same model: one to rock, one to stock.
The list below features ten of the highest rated glow in the dark shoes currently available for purchase.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Jacquard Mesh Upper
Great Moisture Management
Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL
Top 10 Glow In The Dark Shoes
1. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21
Jacquard Mesh Upper
Great Moisture Management
Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL
Stiff for Some Users
One of the most advanced pairs of running footwear currently available for purchase, the GEL-Nimbus 21 by ASICS has got more than two decades of tradition and experience behind it. This neutral road runner is perfect not just for training sessions, but also for everyday use, mainly thanks to the comfortable upper, and the shock absorption system found in the sole. It also comes in a variety of color options, all of which include reflective detailing that is meant to increase visibility during night jogs.
The upper of the Nimbus is made with a jacquard knit mesh material that is not only highly breathable, but also form-fitting, so you can enjoy an amazing fit. The heel is held in place by an external heel cup, and additional stability is provided by printed overlays. The classic lace system is effective and durable, and includes additional eyelets that allow the runner to improve ankle stability.
However, what the Nimbus really shines at is cushioning, which was developed for long runs. There are GEL inserts both in the heel and forefoot, and they are held in place by a FlyteFoam midsole that has amazing energy-returning properties, while staying lightweight. The outsole utilizes AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) that works well on asphalt in both dry and wet condition. Another feature worth mentioning is the OrthoLite X-40 sockliner that is great at moisture management, ensuring a healthy and comfortable in-shoe experience. The price is higher than average, but that’s expected from flagship athletic gear such as this shoe.
2. Adidas Nite Jogger
Mesh and Suede Upper
Leather May Crease
Inspired by the 80s, the Nite Jogger by adidas was developed to bring users a fun, retro style that can be worn both for training and everyday wear. Its design features reflective details in the upper to make it more visible in low-light conditions, and it is an overall comfortable choice, no matter what activities you choose to do in it.
The upper combines mesh, suede and printed overlays for a breathable, durable and supportive feel. You’ll definitely feel locked in, thanks to the traditional lacing system made stronger by the leather overlays, and lots of lightweight padding make this a good shoe to wear even without socks.
On the bottom of the Nite Jogger is a Boost sole, one of the brand’s most cushioned midsoles. Made with thousands of TPU pellets, it disperses shock and offers second-to-none energy return, without flattening with wear. Coupled with the OrthoLite sockliner and rubber outsole, this model is a great performer, albeit at a higher than average price.
3. Reebok DMX Run 10 X PREDATOR
Synthetic and Textile Upper
Air Cushioned Sole
If you want something that is truly unique, why not check out this pair of collectibles from Reebok? Inspired by the 1987 classic Predator, the sneaker is the perfect way to stand out. It is based on Reebok’s own DMX Run 10 model, and it borrows aesthetic features from the movie - from the print on the upper, the glow in the dark details, even to the packaging that’s inspired by the creature’s thermal vision.
The upper of the Predator is made with a combination of synthetics and textile. The interesting features include the yellow goring in the tongue that gives a nice pop of color, as well as the shimmery camouflage print that is in line with the movie’s looks. There’s plenty of padding in the tongue and the collar, and you’ll definitely be surprised by the glow in the dark skulls that are printed on the insole.
As for comfort and functionality, the sneaker uses Reebok’s own version of air cushioning, with each sneaker featuring five air pods in the heel, and five in the forefoot. These absorb shock and give you a softer feeling when walking. The outsole is also iridescent, and has aggressive traction lugs that will definitely work well on all surfaces. Another cool feature of this model is the “spine trophy” souvenir tag that you get attached to the laces. Now, the price of this shoe is quite high, and it is one of the most expensive models on our list, but if you want something truly different, this is definitely the shoe to buy.
4. Crocs Fun Lab
Pivoting Heel Strap
Keep Away from Heat
You are probably aware of the fact that Crocs clogs are incredibly comfortable and are thus the perfect choice for kids. Not only are they water-friendly, easy to clean (just hose them off), easy to put on and off and supportive, but they also come in a huge variety of designs, including their Fun Lab line which has plenty of glow in the dark models, inspired by monsters, minions and more.
This clog is made with the brand’s Croslite material which has a number of benefits. First of all, it’s shock absorbing and doesn’t flatten with wear. It is odor-resistant, can be washed very easily, and is non-irritating, so it’s great even for sensitive children. The footbed features generous arch support, a deep heel cup and a roomy toe box that won’t constrict.
The outsole is slip resistant, and additional security is provided by an adjustable heel strap. This particular model does not have cutouts for breathability, which may be a problem for some, but it’s still a solid choice. The shoe is extremely lightweight, and is even buoyant, so it can be used at the beach. The price is low compared to the other models listed, and seeing how reliable the brand is, it makes it a stellar choice for most parents.
5. Keen Newport H2
Protective Toe Bumper
Bungee Cord & Velcro Closure
Air Dry Only
This protective summer sandal is ideal for those tykes who need a pair of footwear that’ll offer all the features needed for an outdoor adventure. This water hiking model is a great choice for those who want to make an investment in a quality pair of shoes. While there’s a huge variety of available colors you can purchase, only one which has glow in the dark features, so if that’s what you’re after, go with the steel grey color option.
The things to look out for on the Newport H2 include the raised toe bumper that protects from obstacles on any trail, a tractioned rubber outsole that does a great job at gripping difficult terrain, including both dry and wet surfaces. The footbed has a metatomical design that supports the arch and heel, and aids proper alignment, preventing overpronation.
The upper of the Newport is made with a washable polyester upper that repels water and dries very quickly. The sandal is treated with an eco-friendly anti-odor coating that discourages bacterial growth and odor. To top it all off, it is machine washable, making maintenance very easy. The price point, however, is slightly high for children’s footwear, but it’s definitely a good investment for most.
6. TOMS Luca 3D
Hook and Loop Closure
Only 8 Minutes of Glow
Beware of Counterfeit Items
Even though this summer flat was made for kids, we won’t blame you if you secretly wish to purchase a pair for yourself as well. The glow in the dark version of the Luca is inspired by dinosaurs - something we can all agree on being utterly cool. It’s a canvas sneaker great for all types of dry weather, and being made by a reputable brand, you can expect it to be both comfy and durable.
The grey dino version of the Luca utilizes a fun design that needs to be exposed to artificial light in order to glow at night. The incandescent parts include the dino’s “scary” teeth and eyes. Because it was made for children, this flat includes features that will definitely come in handy, such as the hook and loop closure and goring that make on and off relatively easy and fast, even with smaller kids.
The outsole is sewn to the upper and is made with rubber for increased slip-resistance. The insole is lightly cushioned with just enough arch support, and the sockliner is antimicrobial to deter bad odors. Another benefit of the Luca is that it’s a vegan pair of footwear, which makes it great for those who want to stay away from leather products. The price is affordable, making it an overall good choice.
7. Adidas Superstar GID
Breathable Mesh Upper
Luminescent Three Stripes Logo
Rubber Shell Toe
Herringbone Pattern Outsole
Tight Toe Area
A model that started out as a basketball sneaker in the 1970s, the Adidas Superstar has since gained fame and popularity as a streetwear must-have. There is no urban fashionista who doesn’t embrace the casual, laid-back silhouette of the Superstar, complete with its iconic three stripes in the side and a rubber shell toe.
In fact, these three stripes are exactly what landed this version of the Adidas Superstar in our guide, since they are luminescent and all about that retro glow. The upper of the sneaker is made out of reflective mesh materials which promote air flow, allowing for breathability, and there is a heel loop in the back for easy entry.
The signature rubber shell toe in the front was first meant to protect athletes’ toes from getting hit on the court, and now it can also protect you while you run your errands, especially if you’re a clumsy type of person. Not only that, but this reinforced area also reduces the wear and tear of the sneaker itself, prolonging its lifespan.
The outsole of the Adidas Superstar has a herringbone pattern at the bottom, providing you with traction no matter what type of surface you find yourself on.
This is truly a sneaker which won’t have any problems finding a place in your wardrobe. It is casual, it is timeless, and you will love wearing it for years to come.
8. Toms Classic
Flexible Canvas Upper
Elastic Insert for a Stretchy Fit
Removable Molded Insole
We all know Toms. One of the most popular silhouettes in shoe stores, nowadays we’re having a hard time picturing a nice summer day without our trusty Toms slip-ons. Now you can enjoy them even more during a warm evening stroll, as they come in colors and prints that glow in the dark! One of them is this cute moon and stars print which makes you feel cute and spacey at the same time.
What makes this design so loved is its undeniable comfort. The Toms Classic comes with a canvas upper that is gentle on your feet and won’t leave any indentations or lacerations. It has an elastic insert at the top which accommodates feet of all shapes, so that even we who have high insteps can easily fit into these beauties.
The insole of the Toms Classic is molded to fit the contours of your foot - seriously, it’s like walking on clouds! - and it is also easily removable, if you decide you need more space inside the shoe. At the bottom, there is a rubber outsole for good traction.
The Toms Classic is a completely environmentally-friendly, vegan choice. Investing money in a pair of these also ensures that a child in need receives a pair of new footwear, so by purchasing a pair of Toms, you are also making a charitable contribution. You get stylish, lightweight summer kicks, and you do a good deed as well!
9. New Balance 890v6
Revlite Foam Cushioning
Corrects Mild Overpronation
Tight Toe Box
Sole Wears Out Easily
Another running shoe in our arsenal, the New Balance 890v6 is here to provide you with everything you need for running at nighttime. It is sassy with its several colorful combinations, it is comfortable and more than supportive, and it makes sure that you are clearly seen by oncoming traffic thanks to its glowing and reflective surfaces.
The upper of the New Balance 890v6 comes with an overlay which is welded on, and which ensures a secure feeling inside the sneaker, while successfully avoiding any friction or pressure points. There is a plush, antimicrobial material around the collar and tongue, which provides padding as well as odor control.
When it comes to comfort, the New Balance 890v6 is a true champion. It features a Revlite foam cushioning, which is one of the lightest and most responsive materials currently available. It provides shock-absorption and energy return, and preserves its shape and properties for literally hundreds of miles. There is also a geometric pattern on the medial side in the sneaker which helps correct mild overpronation.
The outsole of this sneaker has solid traction on any type of surface - road, gravel, trail, you name it. There are no cutouts in which tiny debri could get stuck, and it makes sure that you are on your feet at all times.
The New Balance 890v6 is definitely a trainer you have to experience to believe how exceptional it is. If running is your thing, then this sneaker should be with you every step of the way!
10. Keen Uneek O2
Adaptable Cord Upper
Good Arch Support
Easy Bungee Lace System
Can Cause Blisters
The ultimate closed-toe sandal now comes in a version with an outsole and laces which glow in the dark! The Keen Uneek O2 is that perfect design when you don’t want to expose your toes to the world, but still want to be cool, light and free in warm summer months. It represents a perfect combination of protection and breathability.
The upper of the Uneek O2 is made out of cord material that fits like a glove and adapts to the shape of your foot. It has a bungee lace system which is easily adjusted in one go, and the inside of the sandal is treated with Cleansport NXT. This formula ensures that no unpleasant odors develop while you’re wearing this design, and that you are safe from itchiness and potential foot infections that may result from bacteria growth.
The inside of the Uneek O2 is a real treat. The sandal has an EVA midsole, a fully enclosed heel with quick-dry lining, and something that is called a metatomical footbed. This is an engineered footbed which gently cradles the natural contours of your foot and provides ample arch support at the same time. Arch support is essential in minimizing foot fatigue and protecting you from medical conditions such as flatfoot.
If you’re not comfortable with uncovering your toes but would like to avoid sweating in confined footwear, the Keen Uneek O2 is that compromise you need. It is lightweight, amazingly breathable and moveable at the same time, and it will keep your toes wiggling and your feet happy.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
How exactly do things glow in the dark, anyway? What kind of sorcery is that?
Well, as much as we’d like to believe in magic, this particular phenomenon has very little to do with the mystical and the occult, and yet everything to do with science.
Not only footwear, but all other objects which light up in the dark, such as toys and glow sticks and even some animal species, contain chemicals which store energy when they are exposed to light. These chemicals are called phosphors, which is why this event is called phosphorescence, or luminescence.
The thing about phosphors is that they have to be exposed to a light source for a while - sunlight, or lamplight for example, so that they can feed on the light, so to speak, and store that energy for later luminescence. This is true for your footwear as well - if you want your shoes to glow, you first need to wear them somewhere where there is a lot of light so that the phosphors in them can get energized.
Once they do, at nighttime these phosphors then release their energy in the form of a faint glow. Some objects glow weakly, and for a short amount of time; others can be quite bright, and keep on releasing energy for several hours even. Which group your footwear falls under depends on the chemicals in it, as well as their placement.
In this guide, we have encountered mostly outsoles outfitted with this feature, as in the Keen Newport H2. However, there are also designs which have luminescent laces (the Keen Uneek O2) and decorative patterns (New Balance 890v6 and Toms Classic).
It is completely up to you which style you go for. Do you like your footwear to have that sci-fi, vaguely eerie glow from below? Or do you want your luminescence to serve a purpose, to protect you from traffic and bicycles as you enjoy a run after sundown? Think carefully about why you’d like to get GID shoes - if it’s just for show or if you need it for its functionality - and choose the right style accordingly.
We can say with confidence that 90% of designs from this list are amazingly comfortable. This is largely due to the fact that they are mostly sneakers in style. (With the exception of the closed-toe sandal that is the Keen Uneek O2, the canvas slip-on in the case of Toms Classic and the ubiquitous Crocs clog.)
These sneakers are not only simple, lifestyle sneakers - they are designs meant to improve performance, to maximize energy return and to provide the smoothest, most cushioned of rides as you play basketball or take on the running trail next to your house. It is no wonder that they are outfitted with all the latest technologies focused solely on delivering the best type of comfort to the wearer.
We have systems such as the Nike Zoom Air - a technology which includes sacks of pressurized air and tensile fibers knitted inside. These fibers compress under the impact of the heel, dispersing the shock and minimizing damage to the joints, and then quickly returning to their original shape to absorb the next hit. It is no wonder that this revolutionary system became the golden standard when it comes to sports of all kind - most notably basketball and running - as it provides cloud-like cushioning and doesn’t experience any wear and tear over time.
There are also special midsoles, such as the Revlite foam midsole from New Balance. This foam provides the same amount of energy return and durability that a foam about 30% heavier would have. It is lightweight, and at the same time not skimping on cushioning or stability. The Revlite foam has often been described as a long-distance runner’s dream, and is also wildly popular among those who seek to wear these sneakers as casual, everyday options.
Aside from fancy, innovative technologies like these, we also have designs that are less high-tech, and yet still doing well on the comfort front. Take the example of the Toms Classic - a simple, lowkey slip-on, which provides all the necessary padding you need to stay on your feet for extended periods of time. If you want solid support and all-day wearability, look for molded footbeds that fit the contours of your foot, for cushioned insoles, and for lightweight, breathable fabrics for the upper.
If you feel like you’d like to add a little flirtiness, a little sex appeal to your look, then heels are definitely the right way to go. However, in order to be as comfortable as you can in them, you need to look for a few key points: a thick, blocky heel - chunky or wedge in shape - is the best option for stability; a heel that is not above three inches in height, or one that has a platform in the front to help you better adjust to the height; and cushioning in the footbed, which will ease the strain off of the ball of your foot.
Given how there are comfortable options that are more sporty in design, and those which are less comfortable but far more fashion-forward, it is best that you take a moment to consider what you need. Would you like a new, technologically advanced sneaker to up your running game? Or a bold, badass heel to take over the dance floor in? The same as with the placement and type of luminescent material, this decision is entirely up to you and your personal preferences.
As we already established, most of the items we’ve looked at here are of the athletic, casual variety. Sneakers are great for both doing sports and for casual, everyday walks, for running errands, playing games with the kids and pets, and spending your leisure time outside.
Since luminescent features are considered more urban and streetwear - and sometimes even child-like - rather than classy, it is actually logical that these styles are geared towards a fun time out than towards a serious business gathering or a fancy dinner date. Glowing outsoles and laces don’t belong at the office, nor at a prom, wedding reception, or any type of semi-formal or formal outing.
However, they do belong in clubs. When you’re going out for drinks with your friends and/or your significant other and you want to party the weekend away, you can throw on as much glitter, sparkles, and luminescence as you want! There are no rules to how you should dress or what you should wear; this is why stunningly high platform heels that glow under blacklight such as the Pleaser Adore 702UV are completely appropriate!
When choosing the right style with luminescent features, as in most other sections - think about where you’re going to wear this. If there’s a strict dress code, then sneakers and luminescence are a definite no-go. However, if you are in a more relaxed setting, hanging out with buddies, going for a run or a casual shopping trip, then you have nothing to worry about.
Make sure to always be aware of the occasion you’re going to, and what is appropriate to wear and what isn’t, and you’ll have no problems picking out a style which works the best!
Given how most of the items are from different brands, it stands to reason that all of them utilize different kinds of materials for the construction of their designs. Here we will take a look at some of those, analyze what their pros and cons are, and help you decide which material combination will be the right one for you.
First, let’s start by mentioning natural materials, such as leather. Genuine leather is always a good choice, as it ensures a healthy foot climate within a design, it lasts for decades in some cases, and it takes the form of your foot, providing you with personalized comfort. If you’re ever debating whether or not to go for genuine or synthetic leather, know that genuine leather is higher in quality; however, it is also higher in price and is definitely not beast-free.
After leather, we’re moving on to lighter, more breathable fabrics such as canvas and mesh. These we have in the Toms Classic and almost all running shoes we’ve looked at. The reason for this is that mesh materials are very soft and provide a sock-like fit that guarantees no blisters or chafing. They also allow air to easily pass in and out of the design, preventing your feet from sweating. Canvas and mesh are great if you want a lightweight style, one that you can enjoy even in the summer months.
Lastly, for the outsoles, there is hardly a material that is more widespread and more reliable than rubber. It is used all throughout this guide, not least because of its slip- and skid-resistance properties. Rubber can also come with various patterns in the bottom, which provide ample traction and decrease the likelihood of you losing your balance. Truly a golden standard when it comes to outsoles of all types.
A quality that is in direct relation to the type of materials used in a design’s construction is durability. If the materials are high-quality, then the shoe in question will likely last long as well. However, this also depends on how often you wear it, how well you take care of it, and the method of construction as well. Stitched designs, for instance, are far more durable than those which are glued together.
The number one design in terms of wear is definitely the Adidas Boost, a midsole material used by the brand that is incredibly durable, and doesn't flatten like other midsoles.
Genuine leather comes in second, and here we have to emphasize that, even if a sneaker is made of leather, a lot of other factors go into determining whether or not it will last long. This includes its lining, how the upper is connected to the sole - if the sole is made of rubber or not - and how much you wear it and what for. If you are playing basketball or soccer or generally being hard on your footwear, you can’t expect it to last longer than a season. In the same vein, if you wear it occasionally and only for light activity, it is likely that you will be able to enjoy the design for several years to come.
Lightweight materials such as mesh and canvas are great for summer wear, but they are thin and not very durable. This is especially true in the case of running sneakers made out of mesh, as sooner or later you will be faced with a hole in your toe area that will effectively render the sneaker unusable. It is not something that you can fix, or something that you should be upset about - it is simply the nature of the material to wear out more quickly, especially if it’s used for high-impact sports.
And finally, what helps and adds to the durability of the design, is a rubber outsole. If there is also a rubber toe guard, such as with the Adidas Superstar GID, even better! This protective layer of rubber not only keeps your toes safe from harm, but also the sneaker from getting scuffed too easily.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When we see animals that glow-in-the-dark, this is the result of bioluminescence. Due to certain chemicals contained within the animal, they are able to produce a glow which helps them to fend off predators, among other reasons.
Even though animals that produce bioluminescence have existed for a long time, it took a bit longer for humans to develop the ability to create products that glow. The first patent for a glow-in-the-dark product came about in 1930 from General Electic, and it was for backlit items in a car.
Other Factors to Consider
One thing we noticed in putting together this guide is that the price and the value of these designs greatly differs. Some are considered collectibles, famous in all sneakerhead circles as the designs everyone wants to get their hands on - such as the Reebok DMX Run 10 x PREDATOR and the Nike Foamposite One - while others are far more reasonably priced, and easier to obtain.
If you are looking for a simple, fun design to make you smile with its luminescence, you definitely don’t have to worry about putting a dent in your budget; most of the items in our list are affordable and represent a good value for their price.
However, if you’re after some of the more extravagant choices, then some saving up and planning ahead is in order. Make sure to read all the reviews for those styles, and to know what you’re getting for your money so that you don’t accidentally invest in a design which isn’t so comfortable, or which doesn’t last nearly as long as you’d hoped it would.
Choosing glow in the dark shoes should be fun! After all, having something glowing in the dark brings us back to our childhood, when we had stick-on stars and moons above our beds to keep us safe from the monsters in our closets. The entire point of this feature is to bring out the playfulness in you, and to make everyone around you smile.
That being said, there are some things you need to consider before committing to a purchase. Comfort, first and foremost, and whether or not you want this luminescence to serve a purpose. Think about the style which appeals to you the most, and which goes well with what you have in your wardrobe. And don’t forget to take into account the type of material the design is made of, as that determines its durability.
When you have all of this figured out, take a deep breath in, find the item that caught your eye at the beginning of this guide, and treat yourself to new, funky, luminescent shoes!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I make my own glow in the dark shoes?
Yes, you can! During our research, we have come across numerous DIY tutorials on how to make your own glow in the dark footwear, using neutral glow powder, a clear medium and some tools, such as a popsicle stick and a paintbrush.
What is important here is that these tutorials work only on white shoes, as that material best showcases the effect of the luminescence. You should also first consider trying out the method you find online on a throwaway pair of shoes, ones that you won’t regret damaging or ruining if something goes wrong with the process.
q: How many times can I repeat the recharging and glowing cycle of my shoe?
As many times as you want! We have yet to come across a phosphorescent object which lost its ability to charge and release energy. Make sure to leave your footwear in a well-lit area so it can absorb all the energy, and then enjoy its luminescence afterwards, for as many times as you want!
q: What is the difference between glow sticks and GID footwear?
The difference in these objects is how the glow happens. In the case of footwear, we have already explained that it contains phosphorescent substances, which charge in the light and release that energy in the dark.
However, glow sticks work a little differently - you may have noticed that you need to snap them in order to get them to work. This snap triggers a chemical reaction inside the stick, which produces special chemicals that then exhibit luminescence. These chemicals don’t have that ‘recharge and glow’ property of GID footwear.
q: Are glow in the dark shoes rare?
Yes. This type of footwear, especially if you want to invest in a quality product, is hard to find. You may have to look for special editions, collectible items, or just practice a lot of patience until the right glow in the dark model comes along. Things are a bit easier for kids, for whom this type of design is more common.