Play The Drums Barefoot? Here’s Why I Prefer Shoes

Play the drums barefoot

Some play the drums barefoot.

Other drummers wear socks.

Or shoes.

What about you?

How do you drum?

I used to go for socks when I started out as a female drummer.

However, I changed to drumming with shoes some time ago.

But what is actually better?

Play the drums barefoot, with shoes or maybe socks?

Why Some Drummers Play Barefoot

The best reason for playing the drums barefoot is the enhanced feel this can give you.

You literally don’t have any sort of layer between the pedals and your foot.

This can max out your control for your pedals A LOT.

Also, some drummers might benefit from a technical perspective.

Imagine the slide technique, for example:

Your shoe’s surface can make a big difference for the sliding motion.

(It can, yes. I’ve tried it.)

So thanks to playing the drums barefoot or with socks, you might be able to play

  • more relaxed,
  • with higher ease,
  • better control
  • and faster.

Sounds good, right?


But there are almost always to sides to a medal.

Why I Drum With Shoes On – 1st Reason

As I said, I started out with drumming in socks.

This was pretty neat, but it wouldn’t work out for me at one point.

One big reason why I had to put my shoes on was my increasing amount of drum practice time.

After a while, my feet simply started hurting due to the surface of my pedal plate.

You might know, I play a PDP hi-hat stand and an Iron Cobra Power Glide double bass pedal.

Both have gripped surfaces.

With just socks on, both surfaces would hurt sooner or later.

And that’s simply no fun.

Too Cool For My Taste

The other reason for changing from drumming with socks to shoes is that my feet got cold.

Yes, this might sound strange considering the fact that drumming can be physically demanding.

But hey, my rehearsal room is kind of cool.

I don’t worry about storing my drums in the cold.

However, I do bother about cold feet when playing.

These are the two factors why I wear shoes for drumming.

Would I change if

  • my pedals’ surfaces were smoother and
  • the temperature of my feet wouldn’t suffer?

Actually, I don’t know.

I guess it depends on what feels best for you.

So if you’re wondering if you should play the drums barefoot or not, I’d suggest:

Try it.

You might like it or not.

Also, you can always make a new decision.

It’s not that once you drum barefoot or with shoes, you have to stick to it.

Oh, and speaking of shoes:

I love to drum with sneakers or my running shoes.

My preferred model is one made by New Balance.

It’s great for drumming.

Do you need a special drumming shoe?

I never tried the ones made for drumming, so I really can’t tell.

As a beginner, however, I would keep things nice and simple.

This could mean playing the drums barefoot.

Or just wearing some casual sneakers.

After all, I guess it’s about personal preferences and meeting your personal needs.

What do you think?

So do you play the drums

  • barefoot,
  • with socks
  • or shoes?

Let me know in the comments!


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Author: Manu Holmer

Hi, I'm Manu Holmer, nice to meet you! As a professional drummer and drum teacher, my vision is to help others transform their lives with the power of music. Let's not only play the drums. Feel the rhythm & and walk to our own beats!

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