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Best Glow in the Dark Shoes Reviewed & Rated

last updated Feb 06, 2019

If you are one of those who likes to experiment with their look, who likes to play with interesting shapes and colors and effects, and who needs a little something to spice up their wardrobe - then luminescent footwear is a great solution! It will bring out that fun side of your personality, while at the same time getting a ‘wow’ out of everyone around you. This is why, for your convenience, we have put together this list of top ten shoes which exhibit luminescence. Sit back, enjoy the ride, and we hope that by the end you will get yourself a pair of wonderfully glowing kicks! Good luck!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research

icon
Reebok Kamikaze II
85/100 our score
Features
95
Comfort
75
Style
90
Materials
85
Durability
80
Reebok Kamikaze II
Why is it better?

Ankle Support

EVA Midsole

Hexalite Comfort Technology

Shock Absorption

90s Throwback Design

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Reebok Kamikaze II
Test Winner: Reebok Kamikaze II
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
11
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
716
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
6
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Features Comfort Style Materials Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Features
95 %
Comfort
75 %
Style
90 %
Materials
85 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$72.02
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Features
85 %
Comfort
80 %
Style
100 %
Materials
60 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$59.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Features
100 %
Comfort
70 %
Style
70 %
Materials
90 %
Durability
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$109.96
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Features
70 %
Comfort
65 %
Style
65 %
Materials
100 %
Durability
100 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Features
90 %
Comfort
95 %
Style
80 %
Materials
65 %
Durability
65 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$74.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Features
75 %
Comfort
100 %
Style
75 %
Materials
70 %
Durability
70 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$119.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76
Features
75 %
Comfort
90 %
Style
60 %
Materials
80 %
Durability
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$90.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74
Features
65 %
Comfort
85 %
Style
100 %
Materials
65 %
Durability
55 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$50.41
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Features
60 %
Comfort
60 %
Style
55 %
Materials
95 %
Durability
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$12,305.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
62
Features
55 %
Comfort
55 %
Style
85 %
Materials
55 %
Durability
60 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.06.19)
Amazon Link
$45.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Reebok Kamikaze II Reebok Kamikaze II
  • Adidas Superstar GID Adidas Superstar GID
  • Adidas Tmac 3 Adidas Tmac 3
  • Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy
  • Asics Gel-Cumulus 17 Asics Gel-Cumulus 17
  • New Balance 890v3 New Balance 890v3
  • Keen Uneek O2 Keen Uneek O2
  • Toms Classic Toms Classic
  • Nike Air Yeezy 2 Nike Air Yeezy 2
  • Pleaser Adore 720UV Pleaser Adore 720UV
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorites

1. Reebok Kamikaze II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Reebok Kamikaze II
Amazon Link
Features
95
Comfort
75
Style
90
Materials
85
Durability
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$72.02
Pros:

Ankle Support

EVA Midsole

Hexalite Comfort Technology

Shock Absorption

90s Throwback Design

Cons:

Not for Narrow Feet

Toe Area Too Spacious

A style which looks like it belongs on the basketball court, the Reebok Kamikaze II is actually one mean lifestyle sneaker, meant for casual wear. It is made out of entirely synthetic materials, which absorb energy when exposed to light, and which then release that same energy in the form of luminescence in the dark. We can’t think of a more 90s look than this throwback sneaker.

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The Reebok Kamikaze II comes with a mid-cut upper that provides ankle support. While this sneaker is not ideal for sports, it is still reassuring to know that if you decide to leap or jump or break into a run, you will be adequately supported and that you won’t run the risk of getting an ankle sprain or worse.

The midsole of the Reebok Kamikaze II is made from EVA, a traditional, lightweight cushion that offers good energy rebound on every step, and there is also reinforcement in the form of Reebok’s signature Hexalite technology.

Hexalite is inspired by the honeycomb, and its primary function is shock absorption. It is four times more durable than EVA, and able to absorb 23% more energy, distributing it over a large area of the sneaker.

All of this practically guarantees comfort and that soft, cushioned ride, as you wear your Reebok Kamikaze II with pride.

2. Adidas Superstar GID

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Adidas Superstar GID
Amazon Link
Features
85
Comfort
80
Style
100
Materials
60
Durability
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$59.99
Pros:

Breathable Mesh Upper

Luminescent Three Stripes Logo

Rubber Shell Toe

Easy Entry

Herringbone Pattern Outsole

Cons:

Tight Toe Area

Unreliable Sizing

Another design which 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.

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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.

3. Adidas Tmac 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Adidas Tmac 3
Amazon Link
Features
100
Comfort
70
Style
70
Materials
90
Durability
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$109.96
Pros:

Explosion of Light

AdiPrene Technology

Protects Heel and Joints

EVA Midsole

Rubber Outsole

Cons:

Stains Easily

Can Cause Chafing

Described as a literal ‘explosion of light’, the Adidas Tmac 3 luminescent version definitely won’t leave anyone indifferent. This legendary basketball sneaker first made its debut in 2004, as a result of the collaboration between Adidas and Tracy McGrady, and everyone lost their minds for this unique design. Since then, it has been retired from the courts, but still remains one of the most iconic lifestyle sneakers to this day.

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This design is made out of synthetic materials, with a rubber outsole and that well-known three stripe stamp in the side. It has a padded collar and tongue for comfort, but it also comes with an EVA midsole and AdiPrene+ technology in the forefoot.

AdiPrene was first developed by Adidas as a technology to incorporate into Rockport shoes (which Adidas owned at the time). However, the comfort of these shock-absorbing midsoles soon proved to be undeniable, and Adidas opted to include AdiPrene+ in their own designs as well. This technology reduces impact force and protects your heels and your joints from added stress, no matter what type of sport you’re involved in.

After everything that’s been said about it, it is fair to conclude that the Adidas Tmac 3 is one advanced glow in the dark sneaker. However, if you’re all about that sporty aesthetic, and can’t wait to rock these Adidas classics, then don’t let anything hold you back!

4. Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy
Amazon Link
Features
70
Comfort
65
Style
65
Materials
100
Durability
100
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Nike Zoom Air Technology

Durable Foamposite Upper

Herringbone Pattern Outsole

Sci-Fi Design

Galaxy Print

Cons:

Long Break-In Time

Ridiculously Expensive

By introducing their Foamposite collection with the Foamposite One in 1997, Nike has once again proven that it is ahead of the game when it comes to sportswear and innovative technologies. This badass basketball sneaker is built out of a unique Foamposite material, that is molded entirely in one piece. This gives it that alien-esque, sci-fi look, but also ensures that this sneaker will outlive any other design on this list.

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While its original purpose was to play sports in it, with the arrival of newer, more technologically advanced designs, the Foamposite One was moved from the courts to fashion collections. This design is certainly unique in its appearance - it gives that clunky, sporty vibe, and comes in a wide array of colorways, one of which is this Galaxy option, which has luminescent outsoles!

When it comes to comfort, the truth is that Foamposite One requires a certain amount of break-in time. This is the nature of the Foamposite material, as it needs to be worn for several days to take the form of your foot. Once it does, however, it is the most comfortable design you will ever have on your feet! It features the Nike Zoom Air technology, which provides lightweight cushioning and instant energy return that will make your feet less tired and more happy at the same time.

This sneaker also provides good traction with its herringbone pattern outsole. It serves to provide good grip in multiple directions, just like basketball players need in the middle of a fast-paced game.

If you’re interested in being retro sporty, having a design which everyone will envy you on, or maybe even playing ball in a solid, albeit obsolete sneaker, then the Nike Air Foamposite is just the perfect choice!

5. Asics Gel-Cumulus 17

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Asics Gel-Cumulus 17
Amazon Link
Features
90
Comfort
95
Style
80
Materials
65
Durability
65
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$74.95
Pros:

Reinforced and Reflective Upper

Seamless Construction

FluidRide Midsole

Rear- and Forefoot Gel Cushioning

Odor Control

Cons:

Upper Not Durable

Flimsy Mesh Material

From a humble company which was founded in a living room in Kobe, Japan, Asics grew to a multinational corporation specializing in performance-driven athletic footwear and apparel. And the Gel-Cumulus 17 is definitely a force to be reckoned with. With reflective surfaces (and a luminescent outsole), this design is made for runners everywhere to enjoy their favorite sport from dusk till dawn.

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The Gel-Cumulus 17 features an upper reinforced for better stability and lockdown, crafted using a seamless construction. This method ensures that there is no irritation or friction caused by traditional seams and stitches in the sneaker.

Not only that, but this design comes with a FluidRide midsole that corrects under- and over-pronation, as well as with Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel Cushioning units that provide just enough padding so that you feel supported from all sides. There is also a ComforDry Sockliner inside, which ensures a healthy foot climate and reduces the risk of any bad odors that might develop during your run.

We are having a hard time in finding a flaw in the Asics Gel-Cumulus 17. If you are a runner who especially loves to exercise during nighttime, when visibility is low and you need all the light power you can get, then this is the right option for you. Lace-up your brand new running trainers and conquer that track!

6. New Balance 890v3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
New Balance 890v3
Amazon Link
Features
75
Comfort
100
Style
75
Materials
70
Durability
70
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$119.95
Pros:

Welded Overlays

Antimicrobial Lining

Revlite Foam Cushioning

Corrects Mild Overpronation

All-Surface Traction

Cons:

Tight Toe Box

Sole Wears Out Easily

Another running shoe in our arsenal, the New Balance 890v3 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.

Read more

The upper of the New Balance 890v3 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 890v3 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 890v3 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!

7. Keen Uneek O2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76
Keen Uneek O2
Amazon Link
Features
75
Comfort
90
Style
60
Materials
80
Durability
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$90.00
Pros:

Odor Control

Adaptable Cord Upper

Good Arch Support

Metatomical Footbed

Easy Bungee Lace System

Cons:

Snug Fit

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.

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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.

8. Toms Classic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74
Toms Classic
Amazon Link
Features
65
Comfort
85
Style
100
Materials
65
Durability
55
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$50.41
Pros:

Flexible Canvas Upper

Elastic Insert for a Stretchy Fit

Removable Molded Insole

Rubber Outsole

Vegan

Cons:

Easily Stained

Easily Frayed

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.

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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. Nike Air Yeezy 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Nike Air Yeezy 2
Amazon Link
Features
60
Comfort
60
Style
55
Materials
95
Durability
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12,305.00
Pros:

Leather and Nubuck Upper

Ridged Heel Counter

Engineered Strap for Lockdown

Padded Tongue and Plush Collar

Lower Collar for Mobility

Cons:

Too Pricey

Not for Wide Feet

While its style is a point of debate for many - is it truly something revolutionary in the fashion world, or is it just another celebrity-endorsed craze? - it is undeniable that the Air Yeezy 2, a product of collaboration between Nike and the famous hip hop artist Kanye West, is a sneaker everyone has heard of.

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Compared to the original Air Yeezy design, the Air Yeezy 2 has a more animalistic silhouette. It features a ridged heel counter as a reptilian element, and there is a snake skin imitation over the quarters. It also comes with a velcro strap over the lace-up closure, which adds another level of security to the sneaker, and makes sure that your foot is firmly locked down in it.

However, the Air Yeezy 2 is not meant for any serious sports playing. It is first and foremost a luxury sneaker, worn by other famous faces such as Macklemore, and getting a shoutout in Jay-Z’s songs. It is definitely well-cushioned, borrowing elements from other Nike designs, like the sole unit from the Nike Air Tech Challenge II, and if there’s anything we’ve learned in this business, it’s that Nike’s sneakers are always a special kind of comfortable.

The reason the Air Yeezy 2 made this list is because it is a fine sneaker, one that your feet will be grateful to wear, it is an iconic piece in today’s fashion world, and it has a lovely outsole which glows in the dark. If you want to be the talk of the town, don’t hesitate to get yourself a pair of Yeezys!

10. Pleaser Adore 720UV

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
62
Pleaser Adore 720UV
Amazon Link
Features
55
Comfort
55
Style
85
Materials
55
Durability
60
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.95
Pros:

Clear Vinyl Upper

Platform Heel

Slip Resistant Bottom

Glows in UV Light

Sexy and Fierce

Cons:

Foot Fog

Not for Wide Feet

For a moment we’re stepping away from the world of athletic wear, of exercise and healthy living, and moving into something more daring, more fearless and a lot sexier. The Pleaser Adore 702UV is a heel to end all others, one to support you as you dance, as you strut, and as you seduce.

Read more

This peep-toe pump comes with a clear upper made of vinyl. The transparency of the material means that this heel is compatible with outfits of all colors and combinations.

What certainly grabs attention in this design, however, is the sky-high heel. The heel of the Adore 702UV is a whopping seven inches high! However, the strain your feet will go through while walking in these is lessened by the one inch high platform at the front. This platform reduces the angle between your heel and the ball of your foot, and helps you stay on your feet for longer.

Not only that, but the heel is neon-bright and glows under blacklight! For confident steps and good balance, the bottom of the heel is layered with rubber, to prevent slipping and skidding across all kinds of surfaces.

We understand that the Pleaser Adore 702UV is not for everyone. It takes a special set of skills to be able to walk in these, and a special kind of self-assurance to own the room. However, nothing should stop you from indulging yourself, and taking a moment to be fierce, bold and unstoppable in these pumps.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

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 Nike Yeezy 2 and the Pleaser Adore 702UV. However, there are also designs which have luminescent laces (the Keen Uneek O2) and decorative patterns (New Balance 890v3 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.

Comfort

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 ridiculously high heel in the form of Pleaser Adore 702UV.)

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.

What we have to mention as well, since one of the designs from this guide falls under that category, are heels. The Pleaser Adore 702UV is the least comfortable item we’ve looked at for the simple reason that it comes with an incredibly high heel that puts the foot in an unnatural position.

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.

Style

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!

Materials

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. We see this in the Nike Yeezy 2, a material which is renowned for its breathability, durability and comfort. 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.

On one of the designs, the Pleaser Adore 702UV, we’ve come across an upper entirely constructed out of vinyl. This gives the heel that transparency that we like because it has no color to clash with our outfit. However, bear in mind that this isn’t the most comfortable of materials. It can easily dig into your skin and leave cuts and blisters, and it can also cause foot fog - the phenomenon where heat from your skin is trapped inside the design and it fogs up the upper from the inside. This is somewhat uncomfortable, and also presents quite an unseemly sight.

When we’re talking about materials, we can’t not mention the absolute champion when it comes to durability and uniqueness - the Nike Air Foamposite One. When the idea for this design was first presented, many people and experts thought it was impossible to pull off; that it would even completely ruin the notion of sneakers as everyone knew them.

Namely, Foamposite is a material which starts out as a liquid. This liquid is poured into special molds for the uppers, and heated up to 130 - 170 F. This is how you get an upper constructed out of single piece of material, which has no seams to dig into your skin and no movable parts to fit loosely. In fact, the Foamposite is so durable, it is virtually indestructible.

It even pushed the limits of footwear construction, as a new way to connect the upper to the midsole had to be invented; one that is five times stronger than simple glue and stitching.

With all of these great characteristics of the Foamposite sneaker, there is one major problem - it requires a very, very long break-in period. During this time, you are likely to experience pinching, blisters and some pain, until the Foamposite upper takes the shape of your foot and easily becomes one of the most comfortable designs you will ever experience. Is it worth it? We’re inclined to say, hell yes.

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.

Durability

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 Nike Air Foamposite One, as we already described how nothing can compare when it comes to this material’s durability.

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.

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Bioluminescence

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.

General Electric

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

Value

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 Nike Air Yeezy 2 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.

Bottom Line

Choosing luminescent footwear 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 GID shoes?

a:

Yes, you can! During our research, we have come across numerous DIY tutorials on how to make your own GID 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?

a:

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?

a:

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.

Sources

  1. Sneaker Watch, 20 Glow in the Dark Kicks, List Article
  2. Gurvinder Singh Gandu, Best Glow-in-the-Dark Running Shoes, List Article