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With your feet being so involved when you play the drums, it’s vital to have a good pair of shoes that feel comfortable when playing. Some shoes are incredibly restricting, while others will feel like a breeze. It’s good to know which shoes work the best so that you can put those on whenever you go play a gig.
Here’s a list of some of the best shoes for drummers.
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Vans Unisex Old School Classic Skate Shoes – Best Overall
The Vans Unisex Old School Classic Skate Shoes (Amazon) are one of the most loved options amongst many drummers. They’re my personal favorite, and I’ve been using a pair every time I play a gig for almost a decade.
They have a solid fit that holds onto your ankles quite tightly, but they feel flexible enough to move your feet around comfortably.
My personal pair of Old School Vans are still in perfect condition after several years of use, proving how durable they are. They’re a classic pair of skateboarding shoes, and skateboarding shoes are one of the best options for drumming.
When thinking about aesthetics, the black and white design goes with any outfit, so these shoes are both practical and stylish. That’s a perfect combination when you’re looking for a good pair of shoes to spend some money on.
The downside of these is that they become quite difficult to put on after a few years. Slipping your feet into them can be a bit of a mission. However, they feel amazing when playing the drums, so they’ll sit firmly here as my best overall suggestion.
Sparco Motosport Racing Shoe – Premium Option
The Sparco Motorsport Racing Shoes (Amazon) are shoes that are designed for race car drivers. While that may sound very different from drumming, I’ve found these shoes to be an amazing option for drummers who regularly play with a double bass drum pedal.
When playing fast double bass drum patterns, your ankles start taking strain after a while. Wearing a pair of shoes that have solid ankle support will make a major difference to how it feels when keeping those fast patterns going for extended periods.
You’ll find that many metal drummers wear shoes like this that have added ankle support. They’re not the most comfortable shoes to wear while casually walking around, but they’re brilliant for wearing at a heavy metal gig.
They’re quite expensive, but they’re worth the extra cost to keep up the endurance in your legs when playing fast music.
I’d only suggest metal drummers get these. If you play other styles of music that aren’t as busy on the pedals, you should get shoes that are lighter.
Lugz Men’s Clipper Sneaker – Best Budget Option
The Lugz Men’s Clipper Sneakers (Amazon) are good affordable shoes that tend to feel great when you’re playing the drums. They have a slip-on design, which many people love due to how easy it is to take these on and off.
These are my suggestion if you have a low budget but want something with high-quality material and a comfortable fit.
They’re also my suggestion for drummers who want to take their shoes off mid-set. Sometimes, taking a shoe off will make you feel a lot more comfortable when playing certain drum parts. Thomas Pridgen is the perfect example of a drummer who does this often. There are so many clips of him on YouTube where he only has a sock on his bass drum foot.
The slip-on design will allow you to easily slip the shoes off, and then you can quickly put them back on before you start a new song.
There are also multiple color options to choose from, with all of them being neutral colors to fit easily with any outfit.
Just note that these aren’t as comfortable as more expensive shoes that have a better design and fit, but they’re a good option for drummers with a lower budget.
WHITIN Men’s Wide Minimalist Barefoot Sneakers
The WHITIN Men’s Wide Minimalist Barefoot Sneakers (Amazon) are shoes that are designed to feel very natural on your feet. The idea behind them is that you can wear them for hours on end without ever feeling strained. I think they do a perfect job, and that makes them an amazing option for playing the drums.
They’re so light on your feet, allowing smooth action on both your pedals without feeling any strain after a while. These are my suggestion if you don’t like wearing shoes while playing drums, but you have to wear them in certain settings.
You get a few different color options. Some are quite vibrant, catering to drummers that like shoes that are a bit more visually interesting.
The material used is knitwear, which isn’t quite as durable as canvas or leather. However, these shoes will last a reasonably long time if you take good care of them. The only issue I’ve found with knitwear shoes is that sharp drum hardware will penetrate them easier than shoes with a harder material, so be careful of that.
Converse Unisex Adult Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox
The Converse Unisex Adult Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox Shoes (Amazon) are a classic shoe option that everyone loves. They’re the type of shoes that work perfectly with most outfits, even if you’re wearing a suit.
I’ve played a few jazz gigs while wearing a suit and these shoes to get more of a semi-formal appearance. They’re an incredibly versatile pair of shoes, and it helps that they feel very comfortable when playing the drums.
They’re also an excellent option for both men and women, making them quite versatile for drummers of all demographics.
The shoes have canvas material, making them very durable as well as lightweight. The best thing about them is that they allow your feet to breathe. So, you could be playing a gig on the hottest pub stage, and you wouldn’t feel too restricted when wearing these.
With dozens of color options to choose from, the All Stars are always a good shoe option to pick. I highly recommend these if you want something light and easy to wear.
PUMA Men’s Roma Sneaker
The PUMA Men’s Roma Sneakers (Amazon) are a slightly heavier-duty pair of shoes that are incredibly comfortable to wear. These shoes have a soft synthetic rubber exterior that feels as though it’s gripping your feet very securely.
These are the kind of shoes that you’d want to wear while traveling. They feel solid, but they’re lightweight enough to feel comfortable as well. It’s the perfect combination for drumming. You could wear these on a tour bus and then keep them on for whatever gig you’re traveling to.
They’re a good sports shoe, and they’re durable enough to survive hundreds, if not thousands, of gigs on the drum kit.
The white version of the Roma Sneakers is the most iconic, but you can get a black version too that looks quite stylish.
Not everyone is a fan of the rubber exterior, though. If you want something lighter, it’s better to go with shoes that have canvas or knitwear.
adidas Originals Men’s Superstar Sneaker
The adidas Originals Men’s Superstar Sneakers (Amazon) are another famous pair of shoes from a reputable shoe brand. These shoes are often used by skaters, and I’ve already stated just how good skate shoes are for drumming.
Something unique about these shoes is their rubber-shell toes. They’re a bit more durable at the front, giving you the feeling that they’ll hold up extremely well when playing drum pedals. While you don’t necessarily play the pedals with your toes, the added support just makes the shoes feel so much better at the front.
I know so many drummers that wear these shoes every day. They just feel so comfortable on your feet, whether you’re playing drums or going for a casual walk.
The downside is that they’re slightly more expensive than the other shoes that I’ve mentioned on this list, barring the race car ones.
What To Look For In Drumming Shoes
Weight is one of the most important things to think about when looking to buy a pair of shoes for drumming. Think about how comfortable it feels to play the drums while barefoot or only wearing socks. That’s because your feet have no weight added to them, giving you the most natural movements possible.
Unfortunately, you can’t play the drums barefooted at a professional gig, so you’re going to need some light shoes to look like you know what you’re doing. Also, not every drummer enjoys the feeling of playing barefoot as much.
So, always make sure that you’re getting a pair of shoes that are lightweight enough to allow very free movement. This is why sneakers and trainers are often the best options. They aren’t restricting like dress shoes or boots are.
There will be times when you need to wear dress shoes, especially if you play in a jazz or wedding band, but lightweight sneakers and trainers are generally the best options for drumming.
The type of grip you need on a pair of shoes will depend on your drumming style. You could get shoes that let your feet easily slip around, you could get ones that hug the pedals tightly, or you could get shoes that fall in between.
I’d suggest getting shoes with added grip if you want your feet to hug the pedals tightly. If you’re the type of drummer that doesn’t lift your feet off the pedals while playing, a strong grip will work the best. I found that it works very well if you use the heel-toe technique to get fast double bass drum notes.
You could fall on the opposite end, where no grip would suit your playing style better. If you like to slide your feet up and down the pedals, then you’d need shoes that allow for that. Shoes with leather bottoms typically work best for this.
Otherwise, it’ll help to find shoes that fit somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. These are the best options, in my opinion, as they feel very comfortable and don’t stop you from playing either the heel-toe or slide technique. A shoe like this will have a bit of grip, but it will be slippery enough to allow you to move your foot up and down.
The material used for a pair of shoes will affect how comfortable they feel to wear. It’s important to take note of the material when searching for drumming shoes, as you want to find the most comfortable shoes possible.
Some shoes have certain materials that make them look very nice, but they aren’t comfortable at all. If the shoes you’re wearing aren’t comfortable, you’re very likely to get blisters on your feet after drumming for a while.
Once you’ve developed those blisters, even comfortable shoes will be difficult to wear. So, always check the material before getting a pair of shoes. You want something that is lightweight yet solid enough to hold your feet rigidly when they’re moving around on the pedals.
I’ve found the best materials for drumming shoes to be canvas, leather, and suede. The leather should be thin, though, as you want your feet to be able to breathe. Canvas and suede shoes allow that to naturally happen.
Dedicated Drumming Shoe Options
When looking for shoes, you may come across a few brands that design them specifically for drummers. These brands have done the research and designed shoes that fit every need that a drummer has. Many of them are fantastic, and they’re highly worth checking out.
However, I’m not a big fan of getting dedicated drumming shoes. They can be quite costly, and they’re shoes that you’ll find yourself only wanting to wear when playing the drums. I think your money would be much better spent getting shoes that work for both drumming and everyday wear. That’s why I haven’t suggested any dedicated drumming shoes on my list above.
If you want to check a few of these shoes out for yourself, the brand I suggest looking into is VRATIM.
Quality is something else that you should check when getting shoes. Low-quality shoes will wear out quickly, especially when you wear them while playing the drums. High-quality shoes will have good material, strong soles, and positive reputations.
Most of the best shoes are made in the United States. They use materials that hold up a lot longer than the ones from shoes made in third-world countries where costs are kept low.
Also, make sure to read several customer reviews of shoes before you get them. That’s the best way of knowing how long they’ll last. With shoes being for everyone, you may not find customer reviews from drummers, but you’ll get a general idea.
Remember that you won’t just be playing the drums with these shoes. You’ll also be carrying your heavy drum gear from venue to venue, putting more strain on them than if you were to just use them while playing.
Shoes can be very expensive, but the higher-priced ones with good-quality materials will always last a lot longer than cheap ones.
The cost of shoes mostly depends on what brand you go with. All the top sports shoe brands generally have the highest-priced shoes in the standard sneakers and trainers categories. You’ll spend a bit more if you get shoes that are heavy-duty and have extra ankle support.
If you’re not a shoe-loving person, spending a lot of money on a pair of shoes can be quite difficult. I used to feel that way until I purchased a good set of Vans that have lasted almost a decade.
The honest truth is that if you spend a good amount of money on a pair of drumming shoes, you won’t need to buy more for a long time. If you get a cheap pair of shoes, they may not even last a year of frequent use.
Keep that in mind when deciding what your budget is. However, there are pricey shoes, and then there are ridiculously expensive shoes. You can still get high-quality shoes for a reasonable price if you look around.
Best Drumming Shoe Brands
While there are a few small brands that make shoes dedicated specifically for drummers, none of them hold up compared to the heavyweight brands of the shoe industry. These brands have dozens of shoe options available, and many of them work perfectly for drumming.
Here are the notable brands to check out.
Vans is a massive shoe brand, and many of their products are popular for being skateboarding shoes. However, they make shoes for a variety of different purposes. The skateboarding shoes are the best options for drummers, though.
They’re designed to be extremely durable with the constant movement of your feet, and that caters perfectly to playing the drums.
Some Vans are quite expensive, but the brand has an impressive number of affordable shoes as well. They’re definitely more affordable than most of the options from the following brands I’m about to mention.
Nike is a very popular sports shoe brand. It’s a powerhouse name in the shoe industry, with countless sports celebrities wearing their shoe options. The brand also makes plenty of everyday shoes as well, and all of them tend to have amazing quality in their build.
Nike shoes last very long, and having a pair that you can use for drumming will give you years of comfort. Most of their shoe options are very expensive, so just be prepared for that when browsing through the Nike catalog.
adidas is another brand that sells athletic clothing, and their shoes are one of their standout offerings. There’s something about adidas shoes that makes them so comfortable to wear, and that’s why they’re such a good option for playing the drums with.
The brand has an impressive number of shoes that are designed for women, so it’s a good brand to check out if you’re a female drummer.
PUMA is the final popular shoe brand that I suggest you check out. Like the other brands, PUMA has an extensive list of shoes on offer that cater to a wide variety of people. Some of them are for sport. Others are for casual wear. Many of them are amazing for playing the drums with.
PUMA shoes look quite fashionable compared to the options from the other major brands. That’s why many people gravitate toward them.
Top Drumming Shoes, Final Thoughts
It’s sometimes more comfortable to play drums without any shoes on. However, being barefoot will look unprofessional in gigging settings, so do your best to find a pair of shoes that give you the same free feeling of being barefoot. A bad pair of shoes will distract you while drumming, while you won’t even think about a good pair when they’re doing a good job of making you feel comfortable.