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"Modern science fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us, the possible consequences, and the possible solutions."
- Isaac Asimov

Air-Shoes  
  Footgear provides the wearer with the ability to "walk" through the air, climbing as needed.  

Manuel fastened to my feet the metal, disc-like devices I have before noted. Closer examination revealed them to be quite broad on the bottom and punctured with a score of small holes, containing a small compact atomic motor that compressed the air beneath one and made it as hard and resilient as rubber. The short metal rod handed me was hollow, and at either end, like stoppers, were what appeared to be sensitized plates. The rod was fastened to the wrist by a flexible strap of metal. Three keys, red, white and blue, were at the end of the rod nearest the wrist, and there were other devices whose function I will describe later on.


(Air-Shoes from 'An Adventure in Time' by Flagg)

“But how do the shoes work?” I asked Manuel.

“By means of broadcast power,” he replied. "The rod Is your pick-up instrument. I press this first red key—so. Do you hear the vibration? Power is now being received by radio. I press the white one. Peel the droning in your heels ? Power is being communicated to the air-shoes. Now if I were to press the blue button . . .”

“I would fly,” I said.

“Fly! No,” laughed Manuel. “Who said anything about flying? You would generate beneath your feet a thousand pounds of air-pressure to the square inch. This creates an air road on which you walk. You can ascend any height you please by merely stepping higher, as on stairs; to descend, notice the white button can not only be pressed but pushed forward in this notched groove—so. Each notch represents a decrease of one hundred pounds in air- pressure. There are ten notches, as you see. Thus by lessening the air resistance beneath your feet you can descend as easily as you rise. But come! Let me illustrate what I mean.”

I shall never forget that first lesson in aerial walking. You can’t imagine the uneasy sensation of stepping on what is invisible. At first I was timid and unbelievably clumsy. In air-shoes one stepped differently, more from the hip. An aerial walker had to learn to balance himself, to poise the body so as to remain in an upright position. Several times my head felt lighter than my feet; that is, my feet went up faster than the rest of me. Once or twice my heels shot out and heavenward, and the air-pressure would have hurled me disastrously to earth if Manuel and others of my instructors had not caught and held me safely. However, I soon began to acquire the knack. The first day I achieved a fair balance; the second, I essayed a journey all by myself, keeping, however, close to earth; and on the third, I was quite profloient.

From An Adventure in Time, by Francis Flagg.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1930
Additional resources -

How can you figure out where you are after dark?

The roofs of buildings were designated by symbols, letters of the alphabet, and by numbers etched in glowing phosphorus; so that a citizen knew where he was at all times and could readily locate places in the darkness.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from An Adventure in Time
  More Ideas and Technology by Francis Flagg
  Tech news articles related to An Adventure in Time
  Tech news articles related to works by Francis Flagg

Air-Shoes-related news articles:
  - Flyboard Water Jet Shoes Lift Off

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