Shoes: To Wear or Not to Wear

Home Forums Coffee Break Shoes: To Wear or Not to Wear

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #109151


    In another thread here, Tony and Sylvia mentioned practicing/playing the pedal harp in their bare feet. I agree with Tony….if you get used to playing without shoes, it hard to get into the habit of playing with shoes. (This is not a life or death issue here, but I thought it might be fun to seek comments from others.)

    I always wear Nike shoes for everday. They are quite clunky for changing pedals, so two years ago, when I started playing pedal harp, I took my shoes off–wore only my socks.


    Yes, I found it very tempting to play in my socks. I mentioned it to my very fine teacher who warned me about that. I do not want to go to gigs in a gown and play in my stocking or bare feet. I think it looks awful. I saw professional harpists play in a tux with bare feet and it just looked really bad to me….as if the harpist couldn’t adapt to playing with shoes.

    The same thing happens to organists. I know personally of two who were adamant about playing without shoes until a certain teacher convinced them it was better with shoes. My own organ teacher told me what shoes to get, I did, and I never wanted to play without shoes.

    Since I started wearing a good shoe at the harp,

    Misty Harrison

    I used to practice in bare feet as a student. It is nice but I like the leverage and protection a good shoe provides. Sometimes a pedal will flip up suddenly and you can really hurt your feet with that. Some harpists have broken toes while pedaling.

    Also I agree with the other posts. Sometimes if the harpist is a jazzer and therefore out of the normal realm not wearing shoes can be acceptable to the audience but for classical harpists it’s kind of strange (too informal) and also moving pedals with barefeet has a weird tendency to make the feet look really dexterous and wide at the same time, sort of a monkey with huge feet so unless you want to look like that shoes might be a good decision. Take a look at a lot of musician pictures where it was fashionable not to wear shoes. Once in a while the people can pull it off and it looks cool but most of the time it just looks weird.


    I agree 100%.

    And the only classical musician I know who can get away with playing barefoot and not looking silly is Evelyn Glennie. She is a percussion soloist and profoundly deaf. She plays by feeling the various vibrations through her feet and in her body and can tell the note by where in her body it vibrates. She also

    Misty Harrison

    See and this works because the audience understands there is a severe need for her to do that as you point out. Also since she’s standing up, the feet thing doesn’t look as weird as when you are sitting with your feet sort of curling around the pedals.


    Briggsie didn’t you post the link for the organ shoe site? Those shoes look beautiful, are fairly reasonably priced, and come in lots of sizes and at least a couple different colors.

    It looks as though they meet the needs of pedal shoes- leather sole, shaped toe, small heel. I haven’t googled for the original link and I don’t know the heading of the original post.

    I was playing a Clio at Virginia Harp Center, and made my one pedal change in my Birks- not at all elegant but it worked OK. By the way, I thought that there was plenty of room for the pedals, even in my big ol’sandals.


    I practice either in socks or barefoot but only go shoeless if I’m playing for some kind of pit situation. I mentioned in another post a while back that Wal-Mart has some super-cheap-faux-leather men’s dress shoes that are just perfect. The ultra thin paper-like quality really lets me navigate the pedals without that horrible clunky heavy boot feel, so making the switch is no problem. Plus they’re dirt cheap. And they should be.


    Yes, Sherry….they are called organ master shoes…organ shoes. I found the pedals on a Clio to tight for my taste — but then the Clio is just too small for me anyway — 5’11” tall.



    Pits – yeah.

    Misty Harrison

    Some harpists bring carpets with them for this purpose. Just like when you record you always bring a carpet to put under you, the bench and the harp so that you can play in shoes without making any noise.


    How funny this thread is!

    Pat Eisenberger

    I’m still having day dreams from a few months ago when a guy


    Sounds more like a nightmare to me, Pat.



    Am I the only harpist who hates playing in bare feet? I do not like the way the pedals feel against my feet. It seems like I would need hobbit feet for it to work. I love a close-fitting, thin sole shoe without a huge clunky toe like most men’s shoes. Finding the perfect shoe is infinitely harder for men.

    Gotta go, my harp strings just arrived!!!


    I’m with you Vince. I have tried it barefoot and I just don’t feel right.

    And definitely, finding good men’s shoes that work with the

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.