I just play in Chucks, usually. I was a socks guy for the longest time, but I wanted to be able to play comfortably in shoes. I've always played heel toe. It took a little getting used to, but now my heel doesn't really even touch the footboard. There are still certain things I can't do with shoes, like the consistent rocking between heel and toe strikes (in socks, I can do pretty consistent 8th notes on a single pedal at around 215bpm). It's gonna' be a slow climb to get to that point with shoes, but It'll be worth it, to me.
Also, I do agree that I seem to get more power out of my strikes when wearing shoes.