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Best Shoes for Drummers

As a drummer, I think a lot about the type of shoes that I wear when playing. I played barefoot for most of my young life. While in college, I recorded a rock album with my band in a professional studio. My first time recording,  I played barefoot for the first half hour. I decided to switch to shoes when I first heard playback as my kick drum was pretty solid, but it just wasn't consistent enough. I needed every hit to be extremely powerful, and my foot just wasn't enough by itself so from that day forward I switched to wearing a pair of shoes every time I played.

There are many types of shoes that are great to wear when playing drums. Most drummers want footwear that gives them some extra power without interfering with the foots natural motion while other drummers like a thin shoe that feels like a glove for the foot. Obviously, different people prefer different feels, but there are some common characteristics that most drummers look for in a pair of shoes.

We chose the following best shoes for drummers because of their comfortable feel which will allow you to focus on playing consistent patterns and perform advanced techniques picks. These shoes are all extremely lightweight as well so your feet won’t be left feeling weighed down and sluggish when playing. Traction is also a very important consideration and while these picks allow for some sliding to perform doubles, but still have enough grip to keep your foot firmly in control of the pedals.

Vratim Drum Shoe

Vratim Drum Shoe

Vratim is a company that’s started making shoes specifically for drumming. The Vratim Drum Shoe has a thin sole that allows the feet to work their magic on the pedals along with a nice balanced amount of grip to prevent excessive sliding. These shoes are more durable than most other drumming-oriented footwear because of their thicker upper material which allows them to last longer.  They really make playing more enjoyable and these shoes are available in multiple colors to suit your personal preferences. More than just a niche product, these shoes are starting to be worn by a number of professional drummers which says a lot about their quality and effectiveness.

Reebok Pheehan Running Shoe

While Reebok’s Pheehan Run is a shoe primarily designed for running, they’re especially good for  playing drums to accompany rock music because of their thick sole. These shoes feel rigid enough to be powerful, but remain flexible enough to offer you a great sense of control. The shoe is made with breathable materials which do a great job of preventing your feet from sweating a lot during a gig. They are just a basic gym shoe so you can wear then before, during, and after a gig. After all, the last thing you want to think about before a gig is whether you remembered to pack special drumming shoes! With their excellent combination of flexibility and power,  like that I can walk into the venue wearing these shoes, play the gig, and then leave while wearing them.

Merrell Men's Trail Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe

Merrell’s Trail Glove 3 is a shoe intended for trail running, but they function great when it comes to playing drums. Engineered with lightweight materials, these shoes won’t slow your feet down so drummers transitioning from playing barefoot will appreciate them for not coming off as plodding weights. These shoes are extremely well made which capably grip the feet and allow them to move naturally, the soles are very durable to provide the right amount of grip, and they’re available in several different colors and sizes. While somewhat expensive, these shoes can be used for more than just drumming as they have a stylish look which makes them suitable for everyday wear.

dB Groove Drum Shoes

dB Groove Drum Shoes

dB was one of the first companies to design a shoe specifically to wear while playing drums. One of their shoes is known as “The Groove” which are constructed from lightweight, breathable materials. Designed with a low toe spring, this allows your toes to be closer to the pedal than other shoes. This shoe is also designed with a vibration dampening mid-sole which cuts down on the sensation of the drum pedal feeling shaky. The shoes are designed to be worn without socks which affords you a more controlled feel while playing and the fact they look really cool as well doesn’t hurt either.

Vivobarefoot Men's RA II Classic Oxford Lace-Up

If you are a working drummer, you may have had to play a gig in a suit or tuxedo at some point in your career. Jazz drummers playing corporate gigs or classical pops drummers certainly can’t walk on stage barefoot or wearing running shoes. For these types of upscale occasions, I recommend the Vivobarefoot Ra II Leather shoe. This is a minimal-style shoe that looks like a black oxford-style dress shoe with very thin soles which allow the foot to move around properly. Much lighter than regular dress shoes, they still have a very proper look so if you’re are a drummer with an office job, you can even comfortably wear them at work.

Rick Urban
Rick began playing drums at the age of 10. In 2003, He received Bachelor's Degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Composition from the DePaul University School of Music in Chicago. While at DePaul, Rick studied with Ted Atkatz (Principal Percussionist - Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Also founder of the band NYCO), Mike Green (Principal Percussionist - Lyric Opera of Chicago), Al Payson (Percussionist - Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Fred Selvaggio (Drumset and Marimba Artist) and Ed Harrison (Principal Timpani - Lyric Opera of Chicago) In 2005, Rick received a Master's Degree of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he studied with Will Hudgins (Percussionist - Boston Symphony Orchestra), and Fred Buda (Drummer - Boston Pops). While in graduate school, Rick performed with the Boston Philharmonic, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall in Boston.  

As a performer, Rick has performed with orchestras all over the world. He has also played drums for several groups in everything from rock bands to musical theater. He has worked with such world-renowned conductors as Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, and Michael Tilson Thomas. He has performed with the New World Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the National Reperatory Orchestra, and the Schlesvig Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany. Rick is also the drummer for the band Standby Radio. In 2010 they recorded their first album entitled When Signals Cross, and they released Awake at Midnight in 2012.

In the summer of 2005, Rick moved to Chicago and became Music Director of the A.A. Stagg Percussion Ensemble. He also created and served as the resident conductor for the "Bad Vibes" new music ensemble. In the fall of 2005, rick became a percussionist with the West Michigan Symphony under the direction of Scott Speck. In 2009 He became the resident conductor of the Lincoln Park Percussion Ensemble. In 2011 they premiered his latest percussion ensemble work entitled Over 4. In the Fall of 2010, Rick enrolled in the "Music Composition for the Screen" program at Columbia College under the direction of Andy Hill and David McHugh. While studying with Mr. Hill and Mr. McHugh at Columbia, Rick also studied Film Composition with Gary Chang and Hummie Mann. He also studied conducting with Alan Tinkham.

In the Spring of 2012, Rick received his Master's of Music from Columbia College and moved to Los Angeles. Since moving to Southern California, Rick has played with the San Diego Symphony and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He is currently the Percussion Ensemble Director of the Open Academy of Los Angeles.
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