In my time, I have worn pretty much every type of shoe from 4-inch heels to bare feet when performing at the piano. To find the perfect shoe for a female pianist is no easy task. Shoes with a platform sole are unsuitable as you can’t properly ‘feel’ the pedal beneath your foot, so ignore the rather glamorous looking shoe to the left as this would be a duff choice for a recital! Stiletto heels, whilst looking gorgeous, can be a bit slippery and unstable depending on the floor surface and also even a bit scratchy or squeaky . I played at a church with a wooden floor once in very pointy heels and I could feel my heel grinding and crunching into the wood as I was pedalling. Stilettos and high heels also carry the extra peril of falling en route to the piano which is never a great start to a performance! Trainers and thick rubber-soled shoes are usually useless as they squeak on the pedal so the audience will have to endure a rather painful sound throughout your performance. Ballerina pumps are a good choice if you can find ones that don’t look too plain, although I’m not a big fan of the totally flat-footed look, especially if teamed with an evening dress. Wedge heels offer stability but look a bit clunky and don’t give you total freedom of the foot whilst playing.
A kitten heel seems to be the a pretty good match for purpose – not too high that you have to worry about falling flat on your face or squeaking and sliding around whilst pedalling, yet still elegant enough to offset a posh frock. I used to think of kitten heels as the ugly middle child between cute flats and sexy heels but since I messed my back up from wearing ridiculously high heels, I’ve since found myself favouring slightly more sensible shoe choices. Or maybe I’m just getting old… Anyway, here’s a choice of shoes that I think fit the needs of the fashion-conscious pianist. I recently purchased the Accessorize shoes and they get the thumbs up for pedalling!