I played barefooted (well, with socks on, at least) throughout my childhood, and continued shoeless even when I went to music school in the ’70s. I have a feeling it’s more common than many drummers think, since we spend years practicing in our bedrooms before ever going onstage — I mean, who puts on shoes to hang out in your bedroom? But I began playing with my shoes on after getting a splinter in my foot from a wooden stage. I had to play an entire set with a hunk of wood in my bass pedal foot! It was nightmarish. And painful!
The funny thing is that every once in a while since then I’ve tried again to play without shoes on, and it felt so weird and foreign that I had trouble believing that I ever played that way habitually.
As my buddy Arthur Hull is wont to say: Life’s a dance!
that was my weapon of choice until about 5 years ago when i got my first double bass pedal. ‘round about the same time my brother bought a pair of Starter wrestling shoes to custom fit…then he went through a growth spurt. now I have those wrestling shoes and i use them almost all the time cuz they are light, airy, and fit like a glove from heaven. Sometimes I play barefoot too.
You guys may or may not be familiar with TOMS shoes. If not, give them a look on google.
Essentially, they are this type of slip on, with really light soles, but still rigid enough to have substance. I used to play barefoot, but after not having a toe stop and slicing my left big toe too many times, I started playing with TOMS. They have actually made playing more comfortable due to the sole protecting my foot more, and after the sole wears down a bit, it makes heel toe playing feel like you’re walking on clouds. I know that right now they have a lot of popularity because of their company policy of donating a pair for every pair bought, but from a strictly performing standpoint, at $40-$55 dollars a pair, I find them to be a very sound investment for playing.
I have only been drumming for 4 months but I started with regular sneakers. When my drum teacher suggested trying barefeet (w/socks) it definately felt better. Then, I bought a pair of Puma wrestling shoes, sneakers really, I think I will be staying with them. They are super light with a very thin sole and extremely comfortable.
I like to play with socks. I have tried totally barefoot and my foot sticks to the pedal too much. I have worn Chuck Taylors for probably 5 years and I never wear them when playing, I just slip them off before I play. I have tried to play with my shoes on many times, but they stick to the pedal to much as well. I like to slide my foot around on the pedal and I also like to feel the pedal. Alot of times when I play fast double bass I find my self putting my feet to the sides of the pedals and just using my big toes (its wierd but very comfortable for me).
My favorite alternative is wearing some cheap slip-on sneakers I buy at K-Mart. I think the last time they were $7. They’re light, and they’re not bulky, so they make it much easier to finesse things with my feat.
I play barefoot as mush as I can. I like it a lot more. Gives me a better feel of where my foot is on the board. But sometimes when you are playing a friends backyard and its snowing…..you gotta put on some shoes…...
I usually have a problem playing with shoes on. I even take them off before going on stage, haha. It feels like I can just play better, and have more control without any shoes on. Probably because I’m just used to it though. I think playing with a splinter would scar me for life though haha, I know blisters are horrible too. Socks all the way!