Heart and “Sole”

To ensure your optimum performance, take care of your feet with the right type of shoes.

My mother always said, “If your feet hurt, then everything else hurts, too.”

When marching season rolls back around, consider the comfort of your feet and the shoes you’re squeezing them into.

Learning drill in sneakers brings up an interesting challenge because you are continually rehearsing in shoes that you will not actually wear during performance. Tennis shoes go from the street to the field a little too easily; they allow you to feel a little too comfortable during rehearsal.

While practicing in your heeled marching shoes will simulate actual performances, it may not be ideal for long periods of time. So, the idea is to get to a point where your tennis shoes feel comfortable during long rehearsal hours but also allow you to transition into performance mode.

Feet Together

First, you need to know your feet— do you have high arches? Do you need insoles? What kind of tennis shoes feel best on your feet when you are standing and moving around for long periods of time? Do you need a running shoe or will a standard athletic shoe do the job?

Also consider sneakers that have mesh on the sides and top to circulate air, so that your foot is not sitting in a puddle of sweat, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms.

Sock It to Me

You will want to find the right socks for rehearsals as well. Some of the best socks that I have ever worn are running socks, which will not scrunch down into the shoe as you move around throughout the day. For the long hours of rehearsal, this type of sock is basically perfect.

However, these socks may not work best with your tighter-fitting marching shoes, which may require you to wear a thinner sock.

Performance Mode

In general, you should consider a shoe that will give you a bit of ankle support, especially if you have weak ankles. Also make sure that your shoes are not too heavy, which can lead to leg fatigue and affect your overall energy. I also don’t recommend marching in shoes with a thin sole, which do not have any arch support.

Moving from practice to performance, if you wear insoles when you rehearse, then you should also wear them during show times. Additionally, if your marching shoes have given you blisters during previous performances, consider putting on band-aids preventatively where you got blisters in the past.

Wearing a comfortable shoe and good socks keeps you cool and performing well from the ground up.

About the Author

After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts). Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.

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