Hover shoes are essentially battery powered roller skates with one large roller and a typically large, flat mounting platform for each foot on which a rider stands. They’re a direct descendant of the hoverboard which was such an item a few years ago. But many consider them to be safer because you retain independent control of each foot, rather than having your feet glued together in an unnatural manner as they are on the hoverboard. Hover shoes run the gamut from sleek, fairly powerful models that feature LED lighting and can reach 12-13 mph, to stripped down models that have one powered “shoe” and one freewheeling shoe that is pulled along at around 6-8 mph. Below are the best hover shoes for 2019.
The Best Hover Shoe
While Segway’s plans to make cars obsolete never came to pass (much to the dismay of their original investors) they nonetheless retained several important patents related to self-balancing technology. After being sold to the Chinese company Ninebot in 2015 the new owners looked for ways to leverage those various patents and the Drift W1 is their most successful venture to date.
The Drift W1 is sleek and powerful with top speeds of 12 mph and a weight limit of 220 pounds. That puts these particular hover shoes squarely in the adult category. Each shoe weighs a fairly substantial 7.7 pounds and features a non-slip platform on which to stand. There’s no way to strap yourself in, which is probably a good thing since doing so could make it difficult to control your fall in the event of a wipeout.
Up to 45 minutes on a full charge.
Top speeds of up to 12 mph.
3 custom LED lighting modes.
Magnesium alloy frame.
One or two foot capability.
IP54 waterproof rating.
Maximum load capacity 220 pounds.
- Weight15.5 pounds
Koowheel is as close as you’ll get to a dominant brand in the hover shoes industry. That of course could change in the coming years but for now, they’re the leaders. Their Electric Roller Skate Hoverboard Shoes are an impressive piece of recreational technology that will take you up to 6 miles on each charge of the lithium-ion battery. They feature a 250 watt electric motor that’s among the most powerful in the industry and in theory they’ll zip along at 10-12 mph on a flat, agreeable surface.
Our experience was that they’re a little tougher to get a handle on than the Drift W1 but once you do get your legs under you you’ll appreciate the solidity of the platform. Each “shoe” features a no-skid, faux rubber, textured surface that does a reasonably good job keeping your foot where you plant it. It also doesn’t turn into a sheet of ice if it gets wet, which is a big plus.
250 watt brushless motor.
Each shoe weighs 7 pounds.
Maximum range of 6 miles.
Maximum capacity of 286 pounds.
Charges zero to full in about 3 hours.
Textured non-slip foot plates.
- Weight17.8 pounds
Truth be told there isn’t a ton of difference between the above reviewed Koowheel Electric Roller Skates and the more pedestrian named Koowheel Hovershoes. They’re virtually identical in size and appearance and they have similar performance characteristics. Both weigh about 7 pounds per “shoe”, both have about a 6 mile range and both have an attractive LED array around their perimeters.
Where they differ is in the details. Where the battery power on the more expensive model is 7.4 watts per skate the battery power here is a more modest 5.4 watts per shoe. Where the upper weight limit on the Electric Roller Skates is 286 pounds the weight limit here is 176 pounds. Where the operational range on a full charge is 6+ miles on the more expensive model the operational range here is around 5.5 miles. And so on.
Top speed of 6 mph.
Max range 5.5 miles per charge.
Charges dead to full in 3 hours.
Each shoe weighs 7 pounds.
Weight capacity of 176 pounds.
Full UL certification.
- Weight16.5 pounds
The final item on our list of best hover shoes are the Turbo Jett Electric Heel Wheels from Razor. Although they’re a modestly sized company Razor may have the greatest brand recognition in the personal e-craft industry. Simply because so many people are familiar with their dozens of different electric scooters for kids and adults. But name recognition doesn’t always translate to market share and that’s particularly true in the relatively new niche of hover shoes, where Koowheel currently rules the sales roost.
That said there is another obvious reason why the Razor Turbo Jetts haven’t exactly dominated hover shoe sales: they’re ugly. Now that’s not an indictment of their performance, which for the price is outstanding. But when people buy a product like this most of them want to look cool riding it. That’s just not going to happen with the Turbo Jetts Heel Wheels. They have an awkward unbalanced look with only one shoe being motorized and there is no platform to speak of onto which you place your feet. Instead you slide your heel into a slot and secure it via a nylon strap with your forefoot protruding out the front unguarded.
80 watt electric motor.
12 volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Fits up to adult size 12.
Battery charger included.
Up to 30 minutes of continuous use.
Top speed of 10 mph.
Secure hook and loop strap restraint system.
- Weight5 pounds
Hover Shoe Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Hover Shoes
Reviews - While we always put our finger to the critical wind to see what is being said about this product or that in this case our product reviewers couldn’t wait to step on board some hover shoes and see for themselves what all the fuss was about. We tested dozens of different models from a range of manufacturers, putting them through their paces over several days on as many different surfaces as we could find. We then weighed our conclusions against what was being said by customers and third party reviewers to see if perhaps we missed something during our assessment. If it seemed like we did then we went back and took a second look. Otherwise our conclusions are entirely our own.
Brand - It’s not likely that you could find one person who could name you two hover shoe manufacturers. They’re such a relatively new product and occupy such a specialized niche you’re simply not going to find big recognizable Western brand names vying for position in the hover shoe marketplace (Segway no longer counts since it was bought in 2015 by the Chinese company Ninebot). Perhaps the closest you’ll get to a dominant brand in the hover shoes industry is Koowheel, otherwise known as the Shenzhen Jomo Technology Company of Shenzhen, China.
Price - The price of hoverboard shoes tends to vary widely from around $60 to upwards of $400 for the Segway Drift. The difference in cost is usually reflected in the look and feel of the product, with the Drift being sleek and substantial feeling and downmarket entries like the Razor Turbo Jetts being fairly bare bones affairs that work just fine but aren’t going to take home any design awards. That said, while we took note of the prices of various hover shoes on our list we did not exclude or include any based solely on price.
Features To Look For In Hover Shoes
Battery Power - Hover shoes use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that recharge from spent to full in 2-4 hours, (depending on the battery) and provide from about 6 to maybe 12 miles of range under optimal conditions. After the numerous battery fires that plagued hoverboards and seemed to seal their market fate manufacturers of hover shoes have worked overtime to avoid a repeat performance. And by all accounts hover shoe batteries seem a step up in performance and reliability.
Grip - Of course once you are mounted on your trusty hover shoes you’ll need to be reasonably certain that you’re going to stay there. And that’s where the grip of the platform comes in. Most hover shoes leave you to your own devices when riding. That is, you stand on the “shoe” and it’s up to you to make sure you stay on it. This might seem like a cruel, 1950s way of dealing with potential spills but consider this: If you are not locked in you are better able to control yourself physically during a spill. Others however take a more proactive approach to keeping you on their hover shoes. The Electric Heel Wheels from Razor for instance, strap you in so there is no chance of you slipping off the platform while riding. The downside of this design is that you are strapped in. So even if you fall you the hover shoes remain powered up.
Speed - Hover shoes typically have a top speed of anywhere from 6 to 12 mph, depending on the model. Any faster than that would represent a significant risk to the user should they have an accident. For younger kids it is definitely recommended that you choose hover shoes that perform at the low end of the speed range. Though in truth, these are not really intended for young kids. But rather for adolescents and young adults.
Lights - Not everyone cares about having LED lights on their hoverboard shoes because, after all, few are the kids who are going to be riding these things outside after dark. Still, some colored LED lights look cool and owning and riding a pair of hover shoes is at least partially about looking cool. If ramping up the LED cool is important to you or your child try the Segway Drift or the Koowheel Electric Roller Skate hover shoes profiled above.
Range - Different hover shoes have different ranges. Some measure range in distance, with 6 to 12 miles being the range most fall into. Others express their range in run time and typically offer anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes of run time on a full charge. How far and for how long you ultimately go will depend in large part on how hard you run your hover shoes. Push them flat out from the start and you’ll be lucky to get a half hour from them. In the case of the Razor Heel Wheels because they have a restraining strap you can lift the powered shoe off the ground and glide on the other foot as a way to increase the range of the shoes.
Waterproofing - The best hover shoes are designed to be used outdoors. Which means there’s always a chance you’ll get caught in the rain or encounter puddles or get sprayed by the neighbor’s lawn sprinkler. So some level of waterproofing is certainly desirable. Most (not all) hover shoes feature either IP54 or IP65 waterproofing certification. This means they’ll either stand up to incidental contact with water (IP54) or they’ll be able to withstand a steady stream of water for up to 15 minutes (IP65).
Max Weight - The hover shoes on this list have a maximum carrying capacity ranging from 175 pounds to 280 pounds (+/-). This type of weight limit surprises many people who consider this a toy for kids or maybe adolescents. But in fact, most manufacturers have their sights set squarely on the adult recreational market and are counting on those who enjoy roller blades, skateboards and such to migrate to hover shoes.
Material - Hover shoes need to be well-built in order to withstand the forces generated by having a full-size adult riding them. As we say above most have a weight limit of anywhere from about 175 pounds to as much as 280 pounds. So the notion that hoverboard shoes need to be well-built should go without saying. Perhaps not surprisingly there are some discount hover shoes out there that seem like they’re made of cardboard and held together with tape. When making our selections for the best hover shoes list we put a premium on build quality, since quality goes hand in hand with safety on a device like this. Each one of our final selections was put through its paces and tested on an array of different surfaces in different conditions. They feature impact resistant plastics, aluminum and in some cases, steel or magnesium components designed to withstand maximum stress.