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We report a process for the realization of polyimide films with custom-designed microporosity based on the heat-induced depolymerization of polyimide-embedded polypropylene carbonate microstructures. The foam-like microstructures are up to 40 µm thick and incorporate air cavities with a width ranging from 20 to 200 µm, a length up to 5 mm and a height of 20 µm. We model the mechanical stress–strain properties of the microcavities using both analytical and numerical methods. The simulation data are in good agreement with the results of nanoindentation and microcompression experiments, which show the reduction of the effective Young's modulus from 5.77 ± 0.06 GPa for bulk polyimide to 2.51 ± 0.03 GPa for a foam-like layer.