All marchers should take care of their bodies. Proper marching techniques can help prevent injuries, but the stress on your legs and feet can cause harm. One of the best ways to avoid injuries in Marching Band is to buy the Best Marching Band Shoes for practice and performing.
|Best Overall Athletic||Best Overall for Men||Best Overall for Women|
|New Balance: Minimus TR BOA||Adidas: Terrex Agravic Ultra Trail Running Shoes||Adidas: Terrex Agravic Ultra Trail Running Shoes|
|Lightweight, breathable, made from recycled material.||Lightweight, Excellent Grip.||LIghtweight, breathable, made from recycled material.|
To the untrained eye, Marching Band doesn’t seem like a very athletic sport. It’s just walking around a football field playing music; how is that hard? Marching Band is a sport that pushes players’ bodies in many ways.
Doctors have determined that the marching arts is a high-intensity sport. That requires a large amount of strength, muscular flexibility, and extended cardiovascular capacity. The repetitive movements of learning how to march/reviewing technique and drill do a number on your muscles and joints, especially your feet!
What Makes a Good Shoe for Marching Band?
Marching Band Shoes used in performances are different from your practice shoes, but both kinds of shoes need to be able to do a few different things, including:
- Good traction
- Strong structure
- Made for high impact
- Supportive to feet and ankles and arch
Your shoes need to be able to grip and retain traction on any surface, such as concrete astroturf and auxiliary fields. Even in a college band, the number of times you practice on your school’s manicured football field/stadium will be few and far between.
Having shoes that reduce the chance of slipping while executing faster drill or sharp direction changes helps keep you safe. With Marching Bands, marching in the rain at practice or during halftime is a reality for all marchers. Having shoes that are water-resistant or made with materials that can hold up when wet is a must.
Top Tip: The structure of your shoes is the most crucial aspect in buying shoes for Marching Band.
Cross-training athletic or running shoes will be your best option for shoes to wear to practice. Cross-training and running shoes are made for high impact. They will have support throughout the entire shoe and keep your feet and ankles within a limited range of motion but not restrictive.
Flexibility in your feet and ankles will allow you to have high toes when roll stepping and standing on the balls of your feet while marching backward.
Caution: Vans or Converse are too flexible, making sprains and strains far more likely than an athletic shoe will.
Don’t forget arch support! Having arch support, insoles, or orthopedic insoles for your shoes may sound like something only old people do. In Marching Band, you can make practice and performance shoes more comfortable.
Marching band is an entirely different way of walking than you naturally do. Without support inside your Marching Band Shoes, your feet will hurt, or your arches will cramp. With these different features in mind, there are a wide variety of shoes to wear at Marching Band Practice.
Best Athletic (Tennis) Shoes for Marching Band
Structure and support are far more important than style when finding the best Athletic Shoes for Marching Band.
You want athletic shoes that are solid, well-constructed, and can take the wear and tear of marching.
As you attend regular rehearsals, the heel of your shoe will become worn down or will become smooth and start to look curved. This is due to the angle of your foot when roll stepping (sometimes called glide stepping), which is very typical and expected.
For students in Marching Bands that use high step style, you want to find a shoe that protects the ball of the foot and has ankle flexibility for chair steps/raised leg. You want shoes that can protect the delicate metatarsal bones in the feet from the impact of high-step marching.
High-step marching is often used at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or other collegiate Marching Bands.
Here are some Athletic Shoes for Marching Band. These shoes are highly recommended by orthopedic doctors familiar with Marching Band injuries. The lists below are suggestions; if they are out of your price range, don’t worry. If you buy shoes that are not like the list below, it is strongly recommended to find a good quality shoe insole.
3 Best Athletic (Tennis) Shoes for Marching Band: Males
- The first brand of shoes is Adidas. The best models of men’s Athletic Shoes for Marching Band from Adidas are the Terrex Agravic Ultra Trail Running Shoes.
Available in 3 colors, the Terrex Agravic Ultra shoes were designed to be worn when running on mountain trails.
These shoes are made with light materials which won’t add more weight to your feet and legs. The shoes have strategically placed padding at the heels and toes, as well as having soles that were made to grip any terrain.
Top Tip: If you can’t find or afford the Terrex Agravic Ultra shoes, a good alternative is the Ultraboost 22 shoes.
🎵 Usually, Adidas sneakers will be up to 50% off in June or July as part of an “end-of-season sale.”
🎵 You can also get a student discount directly through Adidas.
- The second brand that has been recommended for Marching Band is New Balance. The best shoe from New Balance for Marching practice is the Minimus TR BOA.
These shoes are made for cross-training and have exceptional support. This version of their Minimus TR shoes is durable, breathable, and lightweight.
What makes the Minimus TR BOA shoes great for Marching Band is the inclusion of BOA chords and a dial to adjust the fit of the shoe. The chords stabilize the mid-sole and lock your heel in place.
New Balance shoes are expensive but you are paying for quality.
New Balance shoes are highly recommended in the athletic community for their support and how long the shoe lasts. Making it a solid choice of a Marching Band Tennis Shoe. The entire foot is cushioned, and the shoes are designed to reduce and evenly distribute impact from pronation.
Pronation is how the foot rolls to absorb shock and support your body weight. If you look at the bottom of your shoes, the left or right side of the sole will be worn down more than the other. Your feet can roll inwards, outwards, or both as you step.
Top Tip: Shoes based on pronation correction reduce injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs.
New Balance Minimus TR shoes are great for Marching Band, and New Balance sells great insoles and arch support. That you can use in another shoe if buying these shoes isn’t possible.
- The third shoe brand of shoes for Marching Band practice is Asics. The best model of Asics is the Gel-Kayano 27 shoe.
Asics are one brand of shoes that long-distance runners love. The Gel-Kayano 27 shoe is available in 15 colors and is made for the biomechanical needs of men. The upper area of the shoe is made with mesh to keep feet cool, even on the warmest days of Marching Band practice. These shoes are lightweight but made with strong materials to offer the most stability and support to the entire foot.
The gel cushions in these shoes were designed to reduce shock to the foot, even when performing more intense Marching Band techniques and maneuvers.
Of all the Asics Kayano shoes, the most recommended for Marching members are their 27 series. These shoes have been included in the suggested shoe list for Drum Corps International (DCI) members for the 2022 season. Another option from Asics is their Gel-Venture shoe.
The chart below compares the features and prices of an additional two brands not listed above. All the brands in this article are the Best Marching Band Shoes you can buy; one shoe isn’t better than the other.
|Brand||Shoe Name||Stability on a 1-5 Scale||Arch Support on a 1-5 Scale||Best Features||Price|
|Terrex Agravic Ultra Trail Running shoes.|
Hybrid grip for grass and rocks
|New Balance||Minimus TR BOA||5/5||5/5||BOA ® Fit System||$149.99|
|Pronation specific structure|
|Saucony||Excursion TR15 GTX||4.5/5||5/5||Waterproof||$45.00-|
|Nike||Reax 8 TR||5/5||4.5/5||Responsive cushioning||$120.00-$180.00|
3 Best Athletic (Tennis) Shoes for Marching Band: Women
For this list the same brands in the male section will be compared.
- The first brand of Marching Band Shoes for women is Adidas. The best model of shoes is the Terrex Agravic Flow 2.0 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes.
Available in 3 different color options, these Terrex series shoes for women are waterproof and made for any terrain, in the rain, and under the sun. The mesh upper area of the shoe has been engineered to be abrasion-resistant so that you can wear these shoes for more than one season. The shoes are lightweight and breathable for easy marching movements.
If you can’t find or do not like how the Terrex Agravic Flow 2.0 Gore-tex Trail Running shoes feel, a great alternative is the Adidas Run Falcon 2.0 shoes. Both shoes cost the same price but are built differently.
2. The second brand recommended for Marching Band is New Balance. The best shoe from New Balance for Marching practice is the Fresh Foam Arishiv3.
These shoes were designed to be flexible and lightweight. The shoe has unique features like a cored outer soul (visible in the image above). The foam insert makes these shoes comfortable and protects the midsole of a foot from shock.
They are made to grip the grass or concrete, making these shoes usable, even in the rain. They are not water-resistant, but the mesh upper area of the shoe makes them breathable to help keep feet dry during Marching Band practice.
Another New Balance shoe that is also great for Marching Band is the Minimus TR BOA shoes. This pair of shoes will give you the comfort of the Arishiv3 shoes but were made to support the entire foot.
3. The third brand of women’s shoes that are the best for Marching Band Practice is Asics. The best shoe from Asics for Marching Band maneuvering is the Gel-Cumulus 24.
These shoes are versatile and runners of both short and long distances love these shoes. The gender-specific construction means these shoes are designed to best support women’s feet.
These shoes are lightweight, and the heel has been improved for this third series of the Cumulus shoes for improved security and stability. The mesh upper of the shoe has been made with an engineered strong mesh for breathability.
Another pair of Asics shoes that will support your feet and prevent over-pronation is the Gel-Venture 8 shoe. These are made for trail running and have larger grips on the bottom of the shoe.
The chart below compares the features and prices of two more brands not listed above. All the brands in this article are the Best Marching Band Shoes you can buy; one shoe isn’t better than the other.
On a 1-5 scale
On a 1-5 scale
|Terrex Agravic Ultra Flow 2.0 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes|
|New Balance||Fresh Foam Arshiv3||5/5||4.5/5||Foam inserts and midsoles||$69.99|
|Saucony||Mad River T2||5/5||5/5||Grip||$100.00|
|Nike||Nike React Pegasus Trail 4|
|Adjustable midfoot support|
Best Performance Shoes for Marching Band
When you perform in competitions, games, or anytime you have to wear your Marching Band uniform, you have to wear the uniform’s shoes. These will be black or white and look a bit like old-school nurse shoes. These performance shoes look almost identical to each other. The quality is what matters. You will likely have to buy your own pair of Performance Shoes.
Unlike shoes for practice, you do not have a choice in the brand or color you will wear in your marching band. The Band Director is the one who makes the decision of which performance shoes the entire band must wear. The shoes are unisex; everyone wears the same shoe. These shoes are very firm, and buying gel inserts or arch support inserts is a good idea.
The list below features three of the most common brands of Marching Band Performance shoes you will encounter in your band.
3 Most Common Shoes for Marching Band Performances
- The first brand of Performance Shoes for Marching Band is Dinkles. Their most popular styles of shoes are Glide Marching Shoe or Vanguard Marching Shoe styles.
The Vanguard shoes.
Dinkles Marching Band Shoes are classics regarding the shape, structure, and materials used to make each shoe. Many high schools and university bands will wear Dinkles over any other brands. They are high quality and tested in a laboratory for strength, structure, and weather resistance. Dinkles have a “Triad Heel” (also known as a “roled heel”) that provides stability when roll stepping.
- The second most common brand of Marching Band Performance Shoes is Bando shoes.
Unlike Dinkles and the other brands of Performace Shoes, Bando’s Classic Marching Shoe comes in only one color. These shoes are lightweight, and the heel cup inside the shoe has been designed to be non-slip, which helps in preventing blisters. The shoe has a rolled heel which prevents the ankle from wobbling when the toe is pointed upward in a roll step. The soles are non-slip rubber to prevent slipping when marching on any surface.
- The third most common Marching Band Performance Shoe is Director’s Showcase International (DSI). The two most popular styles for this brand are the Velocity Marching Shoe or the Viper Marching Shoe.
The Velocity shoes.
DSI shoes are popular with DCI bands, and the shoes can withstand fast and complicated marching and dance steps. Their styles range from sneaker-looking to standard marching shoes, all of which are terrific. DSI shoes have a rolled heel and are incredibly comfortable on a field, in stands, or during parades. The Achilles tendon is cushioned and supported with a lightly padded heel interior.
The chart below compares the shoe brand, features, and price ranges of an additional two brands of Marching Performance Shoes. While you don’t have a say in the shoe you have to wear, remember that all Performance Shoes mentioned are exceptional and made for marching feet.
On a 1-5 scale
On a 1-5 scale
|Black & White|
$30.95 to $40.95
Black & White
|?Purchase from a Dealer|
|Drillmasters||5/5||5/5||Black & White||$38.95 to $42.95|
|4.5/5||4.5/5||Black & White|
$19.75 to $42.99
Overall Best Shoes for Marching Band in 2023
The Best Sneakers for Marching Band Practices and Band camps are running or trail running shoes. They are strong, built for high impact, and padded where the foot carries the most weight as it rolls from heel to toe. The structure is more important than style because these shoes are for long days of Band Camp and regular rehearsals after school. Find the best shoe for YOU!
The brands in this article are all recommended by orthopedists specializing in Marching Band-related injuries. Many of these shoe brands have sales and can be found at local shoe stores. Buying a pair of shoes over $160.00 isn’t for everyone, and that is okay, do consider these Sneakers for Marching Band as an investment.
The Best Marching Band Performance Shoe is a tie between Dinkles and DSI marching shoes. The same family has made Dinkles since the 1980s, and the lab testing on these shoes means you are buying the best shoe. DSI shoes are also one of the best brands for Performance Shoes. Drum Corps is intense on the body and feet. If DCI uses DSI shoes, they will be built for intense marching.
Unfortunately, you do not get to choose what brand, color, or style of your Marching Band Performance Shoes. All the brands mentioned in this article are high-quality shoes. With all brands, you can successfully march a halftime show with shoes that have been made for marching bands for decades. If you find the shoes uncomfortable after your first game, adding an insole or arch support can make a huge difference in comfort.
FAQ About Marching Band Shoes
Are running shoes good for marching band?
Many marching band members prefer to wear running shoes because they are comfortable and provide good support and traction. However, it is important to choose a shoe that is specifically designed for marching band use. Some features to look for in a marching band shoe include good support, good traction, and water resistance.
What shoes should I wear to marching band practice?
The type of shoe you wear to marching band practice will depend on your personal preferences and the activity level of the practice. If you will be doing a lot of walking or running, you may want to choose a comfortable pair of running shoes.
If you will be standing or sitting for long periods, you may want to choose a more comfortable pair of shoes, such as sneakers. Choosing a shoe with good traction is also important, especially if you will be doing any marching or other activities on uneven surfaces.
Are Converse shoes good for marching band?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on personal preferences. Some people find Converse shoes are comfortable and provide good support, while others find they are not very comfortable and do not provide enough support. Generally, we have found that Converse shoes don’t provide the support around the ankles to prevent injury like other choices do.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what type of shoe is best for them.
Are Hokas good for marching band?
Yes, Hokas are a good option for marching band. They are comfortable and provide good support. Additionally, they have good traction and are ideal for marching on uneven surfaces.
The main reasons we didn’t include them on our list is because the cost (much higher than our other choices) and the soles tend to be a little thicker than our other choices.
What makes Hokas shoes good to wear for marching band?
The main thing that makes Hokas good for marching band is the fact that they are comfortable and provide good support. Additionally, they have good traction and are ideal for marching on uneven surfaces.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you in your musical journey. Please let us know if there is anything that we could add or change to make this article a better resource for our readers.
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