I usually play electric guitar barefoot during my rehearsal,I feel more comfortable and it's easy to maneuver the pedals this way, and it's never been a problem. But in shows, I always been using shoes.

For some time, I been thinking in playing my concerts also barefoot, but I don't know if there is any issues that i'm not aware.

My question is, there is any real problem or risk playing barefoot on concerts? there is anything I should look before entering in small stages in order to avoid electric discharges?

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    One quick way to check the electrical situation is to touch your guitar strings to the grille of a microphone on stage. There should be no sparks. It's also wise to get a simple, three-light outlet tester and check every outlet you use before plugging in. If anything doesn't test right, find another outlet or cancel the gig. No gig is worth your life. Electrical safety has nothing to do with being barefoot or not. Commented May 23, 2016 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


I have seen musicians play on stage while barefoot. It depends on the venue as to whether that is appropriate or not. If you are in a classy music venue (Grand Ole Opry, Bluebird Cafe, Red Clay Music Foundry, etc.) or in a restaurant - the dress code might preclude going openly barefoot. But if it's a laid back outdoor concert at a music festival, there may not be a dress code (depending on the festival clothes might be optional).

Whether barefoot or not, a concert stage has many hazards that a musician must be aware of. I personally like to minimize trip hazards and keep the stage floor as tidy as possible. I bundle my cords and run them in an area that keeps the main stage free of clutter. Obviously your instrument cable and mic cable can't be tied to the front edge of the stage but most other cables can.

I certainly want to be sure that no electrical cords or cables are in use that could create an electrical hazard - whether playing barefoot or not.

You might want to try one of the minimalist running shoes or barefoot shoes such as the ones pictured below. These would offer some protection from splinters or hot surfaces or environmental hazards (germs, chemicals) while allowing better feel of your pedals. Unlike socks they have a sole that is resistant to tearing and absorption of liquids and dirt. These shoes would qualify as "shoes" in a venue such as a restaurant where the local health codes might require all patrons and occupants to wear shoes and shirt.

EvoSkins Image of EvoSkins from Wikipedia article on minimalist running
enter image description here Image from www.kensavage.com

Rugs have been mentioned and those are a great idea whether barefoot or not. A rug on stage protects your instrument and mic cables from the hard surface of the stage should you accidentally step on one. Instead of a rug, what I use is an EVA foam (rubber) mat made to go under exercise equipment or on gym floors. They roll up for transport and come in 4' x 6' or in 8 foot lengths and diminish fatigue of standing on stage. I actually have several and put my floor monitors on one in addition to placing one under foot to stand on. Compared to a rug, these mats offer more cushion, are lighter weight and easy to clean if a drink gets spilled on them. Mine are dark grey (almost black). They lay flat on their own but with mic stands and guitar stands on the edges, they don't go anywhere.

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  • @ToddWilcox I found them on sale at Walmart and thought they would be perfect on stage. I used to use the square interlocking foam pads when I played on a concrete patio or pool deck but they don't roll up like the equipment mats. They are half the weight of a similar sized rug. Commented May 23, 2016 at 17:12
  • Dancers have leather mini-sandals they sometimes wear. These sandals only cover the ball of the foot, not the toes or heel from the floor, and look quite minimal while offering a decent and comfortable amount of protection. I can't recall exactly what they are called though. A place that sells ballet slippers should also have them (and know what they are). Commented May 24, 2016 at 3:15

Musicians who play barefoot - Sandie Shaw, in the 1960's in the UK; Todd Agnew (US Christian singer) - and probably more. Our drummer plays barefoot so he can feel the pedals better.

If electric shock due to being barefoot is a possibility, taking your shoes off is the last thing to worry about! Fix the electrical problem first!

Some stages are a little rough, and a splinter may be a real concern - but a pre-concert check should sort that out, or you could take your own rug to play on (our drummer does that also).

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    Agreed. There are all kinds of things that can get on a stage, some are just gross, and some are dangerous. I would absolutely roll with my own rug big enough to handle the area I want to walk around if I were playing barefoot. I would put the rug down, build my rig, and then only take my shoes off right when I get on stage so I'm only on the rug when I'm barefoot. Too many venues have too much on their floors to do otherwise. Commented May 23, 2016 at 14:18

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