Marching in Style: The 2019 DSI Footwear Line

Shopping for shoes is a tedious undertaking when you’re in the market for just the right pair. And in the marching industry, there are so many considerations when choosing the marching shoe that will be right for a number of “someone elses.” Picking shoes that will work for your students (that’s who will have to live in those shoes after all), while staying on budget, and understanding the kind of movement that will be done in those shoes, and determining quality… *gasp*

It’s a lot. What muddies the water even more is that there are so many options out there from which to choose, and all options use the same terminology to describe why their shoe is the best for your band. But it doesn’t have to be this unclear. 

At DSI, we want to be transparent in the products you are purchasing for your performers. We’ve set out to elaborate on the function of each of our best-selling shoes as well as provide insight into the lingo of marching footwear. It’s our hope that with a stronger understanding of each shoe, you are marching one step closer to 1st place.

A Dictionary of Footwear terms:

What is a twin sole? An ankle collar? A Power Blok heel? Before we get into the specifications of each of the shoes in our footwear line, we’d like to take the time to better inform you on the terms used to describe each product. 

  • Ankle Collar: Provides additional cushion at the back of the heel to prevent against blisters and hug the foot in place.
  • Articulated Sole: Feature in the Velocity shoe that provides additional traction on the lower-arched sole of the Velocity in order to prevent slippage on wet surfaces.
  • Eyelet: A hidden feature on the DSI Crossover. We’ve added a secondary eyelet at the tongue of the shoe for added ankle support. By threading the laces through this extra eyelet, you close the mouth of the shoe and allow it to hug to the top of your foot. This adds the perfect amount of support for quick direction changes, pivots, and dance maneuvers.  
  • Heel Cup: Offers stability to the heel by locking the foot into the shoe from the back
  • Power Blok heel: Provides absorbing support for attacks on the step off and impact when striking the heel upon stepping.
  • Tendon Fit: A feature in the Crossover shoe that hugs the foot and aids in keeping the foot in place at the mid-foot.
  • Toe Box: The space at the front of the foot typically narrowing from the ball to the ends of the toes. A wider toe box will offer more space for the toes to breath without squishing them together. A narrower toe box looks more sleek, but can squeeze toes together. 
  • Twin Sole: A feature in the Viper shoe that offers cushion for the heel striking motion of a marching step, but also provides the advantage of the split sole on a jazz shoe. The perfect marriage of traditional marching support and contemporary dancing flexibility.
  • Upper: Refers the entire front piece of the shoe that covers the top and side of the foot. DSI offers mesh uppers in the Crossover and ​and ​soft, pliable uppers​ in the rest of our shoe line.
  • X-TremeTrak Sole: Feature in the MTX shoe that provides extra traction for slippery turf and muddy grass fields. Much like the tread of a tire, the X-TremeTrak sole provides a channel for water to flow out of so your performers won’t hydroplane at 160 BPM.

A Note on Style

It’s no question that drum corps and marching bands alike are finding new and fashionable means to creating the perfect costume! Many of the 2019 drum corps sported colored footwear or footwear worn under a stylized spat. Boston Crusaders added golden shin armor to their 2019 Crossovers; the Blue Stars transformed their Vipers into fuzzy camping boots; the Bluecoats sported shoes as blue as their performance suits.

These are design decisions made after purchase by the individual drum corps, and DSI cannot customize shoes. However, we are proud to offer a full line of shoe spray that can be purchased to create a shoe as colorful as your uniform! What makes the DSI shoe line so unique is its versatility of wear, whether you’re sporting a traditional or modern, show-specific marching uniform!

Find your perfect match with the DSI Marching Footwear Line:

We offer 5 markedly different siblings in a family that values quality, need, and comfort. 

How do you know if a shoe is really the right choice for your performers? Well, it’s important to start with 2 criteria: Price/Budget and Marching Style. Are you on a tighter budget? Does money not ultimately make a difference? Does your program march in a more traditional style (forward, backward, left right)? Has your program adopted the modern theatrical style that requires dance from the performers? Does your uniform, production, etc. require a specific style to match “the look” you desire? Look no further than the DSI footwear line. We offer 5 markedly different siblings in a family that values quality, need, and comfort. So how do you choose which DSI shoe is right for your program?

Each DSI marching shoe below has been labelled based on 5 different categories: Economical ($), Formal (F), Traditional (T), Dance (D), and Athletic (A). Each shoe has been issued 2 labels, so you are certain to find the shoe that fits your budget, style, and need.

The Showstopper Patent ($)(F) – the economical, all-occasions  marching shoe 

Fancy isn’t reserved for the stage. The Showstopper Patent shoe is a great go-between for marching and concert band at an affordable price point. Our pioneer shoe in the DSI line, the Showstopper Patent has been donned by many performing groups, most recently by The Cadets. 

Sported this year by the Madison Scouts, this shoe boasts formality and style. The Showstopper is capable of handling “outstanding wear and tear.” We’ve redesigned the sole for this purpose. It provides superior grip on the field and has a reinforced toe box to reduce wear from high intensity movement. And although this shoe looks the black tie part, the soft upper is designed with moisture-wicking material so performers don’t have to experience the suffocation of traditional dress shoes on the field or the stage.

The MTX (F)(T) – the gold standard marching shoe 

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The 2018 shoe of champions! Sported in 2019 by Santa Clara Vanguard, the Cavaliers, The Bluecoats, and The Mandarins, these shoes have been turning heads and making statements for 18 years. Stepping onto the footwear stage in 2001, the MTX was our flagship shoe; the shoe that changed the industry. 

The MTX is the SUV of shoes. Designed for the long haul, they brag comfort and durability while looking formal. It offers optimal grip in the sole functioning like a directional tread design on a tire. The heel is designed to support rapid acceleration on step offs and stability when placing the heel. So whether you are marching halftime or hauling at 160 BPM, you can be sure that your feet will be protected and comfortable. 

How do you know if this shoe is right for you? For starters, the MTX displays a formal architecture that looks like a dress shoe. Further, the MTX is the premier marching shoe for a traditional style, making it the best choice for parades and marching-dominant field shows. As previously stated, the PowerBlok heel absorbs the impact of heel strikes and rebounds for rapid accelerations. The ankle collar is padded as well to prevent against rubbing and blisters. Whether you are moving forward, back, left, or right, this shoe supports you in all the right places.

The Viper (F)(D) – the marriage of traditional and modern marching band

Like the Blue Stars and Phantom Regiment, take a step into the 2019 fall season with a formal marching shoe designed for the contemporary marching style. Similar to its brother the MTX, the Viper looks classy when paired with a traditional marching uniform. However, much like pants have become slimmer and uniforms have become form-fitting, the Viper sports a modern, sleeker look. If the MTX is an SUV, the Viper is your weekend sports car. 

The Viper’s design is sleeker and less chunky than its traditional counterpart. The sole, while still offering optimal grip and stability, is designed for a band that dances as much as it marches. We’ve placed a twin sole on the shoe, which provides the same heel support as the MTX, but offers the split sole of a jazz shoe. This added flexibility offers confidence to the marcher leading toe-first just as much as to the marcher nailing an 8 to 5 on a direction change. Further this shoe has additional padding on the ankle collar to support the Achilles during all maneuvers, dance or otherwise. 

So is this shoe right for your program? If you still desire the traditional, classic look of a marching shoe but understand that the responsibilities of the contemporary marcher require a shoe with as much flexibility as stability, then the Viper is your best choice. This shoe will look and feel good no matter what marching style the set requires.

The Velocity ($)(D) – the dancing shoe 

The Velocity takes the stylings of the Viper 1 step further. Meet “the dancing shoe.” Designed specifically for bands who dance intensively, embracing the modern theatrics of our industry, this shoe is made for pointed feet and comfortable turnout. It is the most sleek and narrow shoe in our line, but that doesn’t mean it’s the least durable. 

The Velocity brags a low, more attractive profile, hugging the foot and appearing to represent the shape of a jazz shoe more than a marching shoe. The tread pattern is more inset that the other shoes in our line as well, and the rounded front and back of the sole allows for smoother transitions between the heel and toe. Further, the sides of the shoe are lower to the ground and the toe box, while narrower, includes additional padding. This sleek, hugging architecture thus allows the marcher to manipulate their feet more freely than in the MTX or Viper. Also, the shoe is lightweight, so marchers won’t feel the burden of clunky shoes while executing ground rolls. But while the Velocity is constructed to feel and appear as invisible as possible, it is capable of functioning on field turf and parade street with no notice of terrain change. 

Is this the shoe for your program? Carolina Crown is known for the complexity of movement executed by their hornline. Like colorguards, they jump, roll, and flutter set to set. It’s no surprise that the Velocity matches their marching style. The lower profile of the shoe allows marchers to feel the ground they dance on. Further, in conjunction with the modern marching band fashion (transitioning from traditional school-specific to production-specific uniforms), these shoes become a part of the costume more than marching-oriented shoes. If your program is challenging students to embrace the theatricality of new marching band, then this shoe is the best option for you. Further, it is the most economical shoe in our line. If you budget is tighter, the Velocity is a reasonably priced option for your students. 

The Crossover (A)($) – the only athletic training shoe for marching band

Band directors press that their marching members have shoes with proper support for the day-to-day demand of drill, technique block, and conditioning. But stress on the feet doesn’t stop once rehearsals or over. Sports coaches can’t expect peak performance by putting their cross country runners in shoes without arch support, nor can they guarantee soccer victories in shoes without proper cleats. Band is no different. 

Although the shoe was originally intended to be a rehearsal shoe, corps have embraced the Crossover as their desired performance shoe.

The Crossover was developed specifically for marching bands, WGI groups, and drum corps by a world-class podiatrist who regularly works with professional athletes and top drum corps. Designed to meet the extreme demands of high performance marching movements, the Crossover outperforms other well-known athletic footwear. And although the shoe was originally intended to be a rehearsal shoe, corps such as the Boston Crusaders and the Blue Knights have embraced the comfort and stability of the Crossover as their desired performance shoe as well. 

The Tendon Fit in the midfoot of the shoe provides unmatched support and stability. An extra eyelet on the top of the lace pattern was installed as well for narrow feet or for marchers to just need that extra safety net of support. One marcher even bragged that his shoe came untied during a rep and the shoe continued hugging his foot despite the loose laces. Further, the material is a breathable, durable mesh, so marchers can feel comfortable enduring long days of band camp, parades, and the show site waiting game. 

Does your band need the only athletic marching shoe on the market? Well, the wellness-conscious answer is yes. Every marcher needs these shoes for the day-to-day support of marching rehearsals. But as Boston and the Blue Knights popularized, you can wear your athletic trainers as performance shoes and still look amazing. The shoes were not designed for a specific marching style, but the sole pattern does support the durability needed in a heel cup for traditional marching movements with a raised arch in the sole providing flexibility for more dance-like maneuvers. Additionally, the shoes were designed with budget in mind, as the group that asked for them wanted a shoe that cost less than name brand athletic shoes. The Crossover is the all-in-one shoe we’ve been looking for. It is a testament that if you take care of your feet, your feet will take care of you.  

So what’s consistent?

Oftentimes, we sacrifice support for style when purchasing footwear. It’s easy to choose looks over comfort when the shoe just completes an outfit. But at the end of the day, if you work for you feet, your feet will work for you. With DSI’s footwear line, you don’t sacrifice a thing. All DSI shoes are designed with a thick, cushioned insole and heel cup for superior comfort and support; so no matter which shoe you choose for your group, you are investing in quality, comfort, and style with a fine reputation to match. It’s no wonder 11 of the top 12 DCI groups and many more still march for 1st place in a DSI shoe. You could too. Step into a DSI shoe and take the first steps toward first place.

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