Drumming Barefoot or in Socks?

EarthRocker

Senior Member
I've been meaning to talk about this for a long time, but it kept slipping my mind. It seems like almost every metal drummer on Youtube plays in their pearly whites, or barefoot. Even Def Leppard's Rick Allen plays with no shoes or socks. If you do this, how do you feel it benefits you?

From the time I started playing a decade ago, I've always worn shoes when I play. Occasionally if I just want to mess with my drums for a minute or two, I'll sit down barefoot, and I hate it. It feels like I have much more control with my shoes on. But the biggest thing is the cold pedal - especially in the winter time, nothing I hate more than walking into my small home studio and sitting down to put my foot on an ice cold bass drum pedal.
 

longgun

Gold Member
they play in their teeth ?
That would be something to see.................would give new meaning to "Blast Beats"

Occasionally, I play in socks or barefoot at home, but I prefer shoes..................most stages are pretty nasty
 

johnhavart

Senior Member
Never play bare feet: I had 2 surgeries because of that (a remainder of a stick on the floor got into my left foot...)
 

cornelius

Silver Member
The only time I gigged with just socks was playing big frat parties. The floor would get so sticky that my shoes would stick to the pedals when I played. So I cleaned off the pedals, and always took of my shoes so as not to get the footbards all gunked up... I'd have to leave my shoes right next to the pedals so my feet wouldn't touch the floor when I put my shoes back on after each set...

If I played that way all of the time, I'd probably develop plantar fasciitis...
 

EarthRocker

Senior Member
That would be something to see.................would give new meaning to "Blast Beats"

Occasionally, I play in socks or barefoot at home, but I prefer shoes..................most stages are pretty nasty
I refer to them as pearly whites because it's never black, or patterned socks. It's always the ankle socks, whitest of white.
 

Km6543

Senior Member
I played in socks at one time when experimenting with the heel-toe technique, as I felt you had to do that in order to control the pedal. Gave that up though because seriously, any technique that requires you to take your shoes off is asking way too much.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I used to play in my socks, but after a couple of really nasty stages I quit doing that. I do play in thin soled shoes however. I really prefer my Chuck Taylors, but any skateboard type show will do.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
I went through a phase of playing barefoot because I thought it would look cool. Can't say I really gained anything from it. I've found that lightweight running shoes are best to play in, IMO.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I've always thought that playing barefoot was for the kiddies who played heel toe on e-kits in their bedroom.
 

stellar92010

Senior Member
I do that, and my teacher--the House drummer a a big studio here in So Cal--said that a lot of people drum in socks or barefeet at first, because it feels more comfortable. he also said that After a while it will feel more natural to wear shoes and I will change over.. My only problem is I wear size 12 shoes so my feet dont even fit on most pedals and I've developed a quasi-heel down technique where my heel is off the pedal, barely contacting the floor.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm a black sock drummer. Not in shorts though, then it would be white lol. I play heel down with full rebound so the less weight/restriction I have on my foot, the easier I can move my foot. Big ole size 13's cramp my style.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
I've been drumming without shoes for about 10 years now. Occasionally I wear socks or shoes to no detriment to my playing.

I also spend most of my time walking around in bare feet as well. At gigs I take my shoes off once I'm behind the kit. There is even a music video of me playing with my old band on Youtube where you can see I'm not wearing shoes :p
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I'm a black sock drummer. Not in shorts though, then it would be white lol. I play heel down with full rebound so the less weight/restriction I have on my foot, the easier I can move my foot. Big ole size 13's cramp my style.
I've tried a few times to play barefoot or in socks, mainly because I thought I would be able to replicate the hands feel on the sticks down to the pedals. Could you imagine wearing trainers or shoes on your hands? Haha... Well, that was the idea, but it didn't workout, the feel wasn't right, I have to wear shoes/trainers with a very thin and flexible sole, the sole material has to be right too, not too rubbery as it won't slide and not too smooth as your feet will slide all over the place. I need to have control, so barefoot's not right, especially when you get hot behind the kit and I find socks being too smooth and sliding too much.

Once I've selected the right shoes/trainers, I'll use them for years until they're totally worn out...
 

radman

Senior Member
I always play without shoes. Even as a kid, I took my shoes off before I played. I always practiced without shoes in my house .... so the pedals felt odd if I had shoes on. That habit never changed.

I play barefoot in the summer if I'm wearing sandals to the gig. I don't see my difference between socks and barefoot (except the aforementioned cold pedal in winter). YMMV

radman
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Barefoot here too. I only wear shoes when either temperature or decorum demands - and when it comes to decorum I get away with what I think I can. In winter I play in black shoes that are like soft padded ballet slippers, which still allow more sensation of the pedal.

As always, it comes down to what you're used to. My BD technique is Dr Seuss anyway, so I don't think shoes would make much difference to my playing. I'm just more comfy in bare feet. Might have been tribal in a past life ...
 

double_G

Silver Member
i like to woodshed in bare feet sometimes but things flow better in minimalist shoes. i can swivel in bare feet but it tears my feet up a bit. i guess i am used to the sliding effect that shoes have. joe crabtree got me into vivobarefoot shoes. i have some beat down sperry boat shoes that are great too.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
I've never liked the feel of my bare foot on the pedals. Too cold, too slippery. hah.

I try to practice with my old Docs on as often as possible so when I play a show in some lightweight skate shoes, my leg muscles feel extra loose and quick.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
As said on a few related threads in the past, I've been playing (rather: practicing) in socks except from experimenting with footwear every now and then. My experience is that with no footwear you have a more direct feel and this is indeed great to learn new motions/techniques. Whereas footwear - the stiffer feel is something I would get used to, basically everything works, too but might feel a bit different - provides a bit more punch and also some stability effect on the ankles. If you use footwear it's worth to experiment with various footwear.

This refers to practicing at home though. In the winter I would use thicker socks and those would already reduce the direct feel somewhat, or switch to shoes as it's awkward to place one's feet on cold pedals indeed - they do warm up to some degree while playing but usually not enough to feel comfy.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I play barefoot.

It relates to drumming only in the way that I hate wearing shoes in general and play drums pretty much all day every day. So there you go.

Do I get more power and swing naturally on the pedal with shoes on? Sure. Doesn't matter though. I still hate wearing shoes unless I really have to.

I use a DW 5002 pedal which ate up the ballunder my big toe in the beginning, but after the first year or so, I guess my technique is such that the strain or any tear anywhere is just normal calves and thigs fatigue. My feet are just fine.

I play barehanded as well. Never had any marks except for a few red or dry spots when I first started out.

I never thought about it this way before, but as I wrote this I just realised that since I don't play with gloves on my hands, why would I do anything different with the feet.

Seems to work well for the monkeys. lol

If it's really cold I use some thin socks. Again not because of drumming and drum pedals, but because the floor is cold.
 
If socks weren't specified in the subject title, my first thoughts on your reference to "pearly whites" wouldn't have been socks, but underwear! (ie. tighty-whities)

I tried barefoot when I started (like some others who have commented, I'm not fond of wearing shoes in general) but my feet were too sensitive. I do play in socks occasionally, but mostly I play in an old pair of slip on shoes that I keep under my kit.
 
Top