Originally Posted by mxo721
I've just started learning to play my bass drum "heel up" been playing only just under 3 years, yeah wish I would have started heel up, but I never thought I'd need anything other than heel down. I seem to only be able to play barefoot/soxs to play heel up, if I have shoes on, I play real sloppy for some reason, so looks like bare feet for me from now on.
In terms of heel-up or heel-down, I generally encourage others to start playing heel-down, with some heel-up action.
One of the most overlooked areas - especially for beginners - is playing the bass drum with dynamic control. Playing heel-down can help to develop this because it is inherently less powerful. Heel-down playing uses mainly ankle motions whilst heel-up uses mostly leg. Having both in your arsenal is very useful, as is learning to play with the beater 'buried' into the head (more punch, less sustain) and letting the beater off the head (less punch but more sustain and tone).
I switch between the two techniques and the two beater methods depending on what is required (more often, heel-down, off the head at the moment) and it gives you more options. Starting as a heel-down player can develop the smaller muscle movements and allows a player to develop a feel for dynamic control that most heel-up playing doesn't.
I also find heel-down playing more difficult because it requires more small-muscle control and practice to develop a 'basic', solid technique.
So I don't see you starting heel-down as a problem. You know you can play like that and now you can build up the power using heel-up but because you've developed both
it also means you can be selective about accenting and excel in low-volume situations, which generally require more control.
As for shoes? Don't care. I generally play better in shoes but I can play without. I can play with Converse trainers on, paratrooper boots and anything in between with similar levels of control and feel (same for driving, actually) so it doesn't make any difference to me as long as I'm comfortable.