LoginCreate ProfileSubscribe

These Shoes Were Made for Drumming

Review by Rich "Doc Spoons" Spooner // January 18 2015
These Shoes Were Made for Drumming

“Special shoes for drummers, seriously? ... What? Why?” 

To the uninitiated, the above statement seems to be an initial reaction to Drummershoe, but for those of us old enough to remember some truly awful attempts by name players to put out a signature drum shoe, the reaction is a more familiar, highly skeptical, “Oh no, not again!” 

I have to confess to having that exact same reaction myself, after having my toes burned by the industry's attempts in the '90s at selling ballet shoes to drummers. I vowed to never, ever again do the special shoes for drummers thing, mainly because they all looked terrible. I got fed up with the "Are you gonna play drums or go ballroom dancing?" comments, or crippled myself walking from the car to the stage in tissue paper soles which were meant to enhance my pedal technique.

All in all I was not a fan of special shoes for drummers, preferring instead to resort to using Converse if I could get away with it—but they looked crap with a suit or Italian dress shoes (which looked great with a suit but were always getting their stupid, pointy, designer toes caught in the pedal chain or tripping me up by catching on the underside of stage steps). Not a great compromise but way safer in a gig than my preferred barefoot, which is the way I have always practiced and generally prefer to play.

Top Swiss drummer and designer of Drummershoe, Tom Beck, was unaware of my fear of “special shoes for drummers” when he invited me to check out his brand new joint creation with legendary Swiss shoemakers Kandahar. Of course I was highly skeptical for all of the reasons mentioned above, but then I saw some pictures of what was being offered and was extremely pleased to see something that looked great—not even a hint of ballet shoe! This was a good start, and so I decided to head into the Swiss capital of Bern and meet up with Tom at his studio to actually try some of these shoes on.

The Drummershoe, which launched in December 2014, actually comes in two versions (Stage and Rehearsal) and are manufactured by legendary Swiss shoemakers Kandahar, developers of the first apres ski shoe. Both models are handmade at the company's factory in the Bernese Oberland by a small team of highly skilled craftsmen and are presented with a carry bag, as these shoes are deigned solely for indoor use.

Following a two-year development period where Tom and Kandahar devised and tested many variations in material, sole, stitching and look, the two production models are now ready and both possess individual benefits to suit every players needs. So let's take a look!

Stage is a high performance, lightweight, flexible, ventilated leather shoe designed specifically for playing onstage and in the studio. Holding the shoes in your hand, you instantly notice the extremely high quality of workmanship and the weight, or lack of it! First impressions are a kind of hybrid dress shoe and sports shoe in look with a very thin rubber sole which wraps the toe and heel panels. Finished in black with suede heel and toe sections complemented by ventilated leather side panels and white stitching. Classy!

Similar in overall design, Rehearsal is made completely from beige, suede leather with contrasting white stitching without the ventilation. Once again, the thin rubber sole wraps up on the toe and heel sections and the leather itself offers a bit more stability or rigidity in its feel for the wearer. A great looking casual shoe offering the same feel at the kit as the Stage model.

Both models fit beautifully and at the kit give the wearer complete sensation of the pedals through the sole, after a few minutes it’s like I’m playing barefoot! The shoes are totally flexible allowing me to play heel up, heel down and heel/toe techniques whilst still providing enough support to enable me to walk comfortably about the room without having to worry about treading on something I shouldn’t. And they look fantastic with a suit or jeans!

So, here's the question: do you really need a specific shoe for drumming?

Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? Racing drivers have shoes very similarly in design to allow them to feel the pedals and I know of some drummers who actually use these racing shoes for those exact same reasons, so why not have shoes specifically designed for the needs of drummers?

Many people are happy with their Cons or Rockstars or whatever else floats your boat, so no problems there. For me it was about finding a workable compromise to use in a real life situation where going barefoot may be not too clever. You only need to take a look through the many drumming forums to see the “What shoe do you use?” debate playing out all over the place, so if you’re one of those players looking to get a specific pair of shoes for drumming, or don’t like to go barefoot but want something which performs like you are barefoot, then I’d suggest you take a look.

I have played a number of shows with the shoes and loved the feel and response I was able to get from my pedals—so much so that going back to my faithful old dress shoes/Cons alternatives is going to be nigh on impossible. Drummershoe's Stage and Rehearsal provide everything you would expect from a custom-designed, handmade product with that legendary stamp of Swiss quality—and that, of course, comes at a price. These are not a pair of cheap shoes you may buy on a whim; they are a proper investment and aimed at the serious semi-pro/pro player looking for a professional quality product that will perform as well as the drum set they use.





Login to view comments and join the discussion.

About the Author
Rich "Doc Spoons" Spooner

Richard “Doc Spoons” Spooner is a British professional drummer and educator, based out of Switzerland. Doc is touring & recording with multi-platinum selling artist Philipp Fankhauser. Doc proudly endorses C&C drums, Paiste cymbals, Agner drumsticks, Baskey Drumruggs & Luggs, Hardcase Cases,Protection Racket Bags & Tour Luggage,Porter & Davies Monitoring, Big Fat Snare Drum, Kelly SHU, Tuner-Fish. Visit Doc online at www.docspoons.com  or follow him on Twitter@DocSpoons

Editor's Choice