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Moonwalkers™ are the first-ever mobility device that allows humans to walk at the speed of a run. Designed with an adaptive A.I. drivetrain, users can cover more distance – at their own pace

he new Moonwalkers robot shoes are definitely lighter and supposedly safer


Shift Robotics, an innovative American start-up, has recently introduced the AI-powered “Moonwalkers”. Resembling skates, these strap-on devices, when attached to your regular shoes, can potentially enhance your walking speed by a staggering 250%. The result? You might find yourself walking as fast as 11 km/h, effectively tripling the average human walking speed.

Walking, enhanced

Founded by Xunjie Zhang, Shift Robotics aims to revolutionize everyday mobility. The inspiration for Moonwalkers arose from Zhang’s near-accident on a scooter during his daily commute. Reflecting on the incident, Zhang questioned the reasons behind the widespread reluctance to walk, especially given its safety, convenience, and eco-friendliness.

Identifying the slow pace and inefficiency of walking as the primary deterrent, the Shift Robotics team, including jet propulsion engineers from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotic Institute and a group of roboticists and sneaker designers, dedicated five years to crafting a solution. Their goal was not to replace walking, but rather to enhance it – hence the inception of Moonwalkers.

Moonwalkers increase walking speed up to 250% to quickly get where user want to go I Image © Shift Robotics

A growing hype

The Moonwalkers went somewhat viral in 2022 when the company behind them, Shift Robotics, promised it had created “the world’s fastest shoes.”

They’re not exactly shoes, though: they strap on top of your existing shoes, and they put 10 (or 6, depending on the model) wheels underneath each foot to turn every step into a glide, like you’re perpetually walking on a moving sidewalk. They’re adult Heelys, basically, only bigger, higher-tech, and more expensive.

How do they work

Unlike traditional skates, the Moonwalkers are not freewheeling. Instead, these intelligent devices rely on advanced machine learning algorithms to match their movements with user’s. The result is a dynamic system that starts and stops with the user, can lock to enable stair navigation, and can modulate speed when going downhill. Transitioning between modes is as simple as lifting and rotating the heel.

The user-friendly design doesn’t end there. Thanks to its adaptive AI, Moonwalkers can learn each user’s walking patterns within ten steps. Therefore, even with no prior experience, most users from a diverse age group, ranging from 15 to over 60, were reported to have adapted to the Moonwalkers in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.

Shift Robotics Moonwalkers Match your Pace. The AI-powered strap-ons adapt to your unique pace and gait for an effortless speed boost I Image © Shift Robotics

Technical features

These battery-­powered wheeled shoes allow you to walk normally (not skate), just faster and more easily. The Moonwalkers use AI to sense when you’re speeding up or slowing down and adjust themselves accordingly, and the wheels lock when you’re taking the stairs.

Tested in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the shoes allow users to walk at speeds up to 7 m.p.h.—250% faster than the average gait—so they can travel farther without tiring out.

Moonwalkers are safe

Moonwalkers intuitive control system moves only when user do, so they can stop and go with confidence. No freewheeling

Moonwalkers are fast

Moonwalkers walking up to 250% to quickly get where user want to go

Moonwalkers are capable

Built to navigate any terrain, Moonwalkers’s patented 8-wheel drivetrain provides stability and performance

Brand new: Moonwalkers X

The Moonwalkers X, which the company showed off at the CES gadget extravaganza in Las Vegas next january, is the latest model released. The new shoes are lighter — 3.2 pounds on each foot, which is still a lot but a full pound lighter than the original — and are meant to be much easier to learn and use.

Shift Robotics says it overhauled the control system for better maneuvering in tight spaces, improved shock absorption, and switched from 10 wheels to six on each foot, so to provide an order of magnitude of greater control and responsiveness, have a tighter turning radius, utilize softer wheels for a lower impact force, and also accommodate smaller shoe sizes.

Besides, Moonwalkers

  • incorporate a complete overhaul of the control system, further boosting safety and agility when maneuvering, especially in close quarters
  • deliver improved shock absorption to further lower the risk of repetitive injury
  • showcase a fresh new design with modularity and customization in mind

Who are they for

Moonwalkers are specifically designed for business and commercial uses for jobs that require a lot of movement, particularly those applications where employees walk a lot on-the-job, such as in the distribution, logistics, and warehouse marketplace where individuals might walk as many as 30,000 steps per day.

But Shift has always also imagined these as the sort of thing you might wear in everyday life, like Rollerblades you never need to take off.

According to the company, its clients have found that warehouse workers responsible for shipping products more than double their productivity by wearing Moonwalkers.

Additionally, one Shift Robotics’ client projects that its Moonwalkers-wearing employees will save nearly 400 hours per year in travel time, the amount of time associates take to walk from location to location within its facilities during their work days.

Want to understand better pros (many) and cons (not that many) of Moonwalkers? Take a look at the video below: 


Moonwalkers offer an exciting and innovative solution to pedestrian mobility. Whether it’s for a quick grocery run or an eco-friendly commute, the potential applications of this AI-powered device seem endless. It will be fascinating to watch how the Moonwalkers reshape the future of walking and influence mobility habits globally.

Fanty to try them on yourself? The original model is set at about 1,400 dollars a pair. The price of Moonwalkers X is still to be announced, probabably when the shoes start shipping in the first half of this year.

sources: CES I Shift Robotics I StartupSelfie

cover image: Shift Robotics

author: Barbara Marcotulli


Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since its very first editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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