It’s the first frame of your first bowling game.
You are setting yourself up in your stance.
You’re keeping your eye on the pins as you mentally aim where your ball should go.
Finally, you begin your throw down the bowling lane.
The execution feels good as you begin to let go of your bowling ball, and… you slip and fall right over the foul line.
Thankfully, you are not hurt, but you can’t help but wonder, “What happened?!”
Then looking down, you see them, your outdoor athletic shoes.
In your excitement to begin bowling, you had forgotten to put your bowling shoes on!
Many sports require special types of shoes to help give them an edge in their field. Track and Field, Soccer, American Football, and even Cross Country, to name a few.
Bowling is no different from any of these sports!
To perform well, you need the right equipment, including bowling shoes.
In this article, we will be answering some common questions about bowling shoes and offering our suggestions for brands of bowling shoes should you be looking to invest in a pair.
- 1 Why Does Bowling Require Special Shoes?
- 2 What Is Different About Bowling Shoes from Regular Shoes?
- 3 Can I Wear My Regular Shoes for Bowling?
- 4 Can I Wear My Own Bowling Shoes for Bowling?
- 5 Are Bowling Shoes Slippery?
- 6 What Is the Material on the Bottom of Bowling Shoes?
- 7 Why Do Some Bowlers Use a Shoe Slide Cover?
- 8 Can You Wear Bowling Shoes Outside?
- 9 Can Bowling Shoes Be Used for Everyday Wear?
- 10 Would It Be Better to Buy My Bowling Shoes?
- 11 What Are the Best Type of Bowling Shoes?
- 12 Are There Women and Men’s Bowling Shoes?
- 13 Can I Order Bowling Shoes Online?
Why Does Bowling Require Special Shoes?
A critical reason bowling requires specialized shoes to play the sport is safety.
When you are bowling, the posture and way you throw the ball can put a lot of strain on your arms, hips, or back if there is no give in your stance.
You are essentially taking a solid weight and throwing it with your whole body, and while this can strain muscles and joints, it can also throw off your center of balance.
Keeping your balance is where bowling shoes come in.
With their unique design, the bowling shoes work to allow your body to glide forward as you throw your ball, helping prevent injury and keeping your balance centered.
The unique sole in the bowling shoe also helps by allowing some give in your approach to let you glide forward as you move, maintaining balance and lessening the risk for injury on the throw.
What Is Different About Bowling Shoes from Regular Shoes?
The main difference between bowling and regular shoes is the shoe’s sole.
On Universal bowling shoes, a particular type of material sits on both soles of the shoes, and there is no heel. Left-handed bowlers want the slide sole on the right shoe. Likewise, right-handed bowlers slide sole is on their left shoe. wear Universal bowling shoes. The unique material on the bottom allows friction to form between the shoe and the alley’s lane to prevent slippage while bowling.
Regular shoes do not have this protective sole, and their raised heels only add to how easily they can slip and slide on a well-polished alley.
Bowling shoes can also change each sole’s sliding pad, allowing the bowler to adjust the level of friction needed for different lanes.
Can I Wear My Regular Shoes for Bowling?
The short answer to this question is no. You can not wear regular shoes because regular shoes cannot gain the same traction and friction on slippery lanes as bowling shoes, resulting in dangerous slips and spills.
Many bowling alleys do not even allow patrons on the bowling floor unless they have the proper footwear because of these safety concerns, and we can’t say we blame them!
You wouldn’t play American Football without the proper safety equipment, and bowling is no different! Make sure you wear the correct shoes to keep you and other bowlers safe.
Can I Wear My Own Bowling Shoes for Bowling?
Of course, you can! We encourage it!
By owning a pair of bowling shoes, your body becomes accustomed to that pair, making it easy to balance and adjust yourself as you bowl.
It’s just like riding a bike. Your body remembers the muscle movements and trains itself to use the shoes efficiently as you bowl.
This helps you adjust and use your stance and form to increase your skill level and protect your body from strain and injury.
Also, if you are a bowler looking to take your game to the next level, your shoes become a necessity versus a luxury.
With modern shoes that have interchangeable soles and are specifically tailored to left and right-handed bowlers, having your pair of shoes is essential to giving you that professional edge!
Are Bowling Shoes Slippery?
Yes… and no. A bowling shoe is generally constructed out of rubber and leather.
The soles are made out of a material that allows you to slide while bowling to prevent injury.
However, there is also a rubber edge on the sole that bowlers can use as a braking system, allowing them to stop the glide and preventing them from slipping over the foul line during their approach.
Bowling shoes are also designed explicitly for slippery alley lanes, so while your foot may slip here and there from time to time, the shoe’s design allows you to catch your balance and prevent any fall that might have occurred with regular shoes.
What Is the Material on the Bottom of Bowling Shoes?
Many bowling shoe brands use leather or synthetic leather for their bowling shoe soles.
This type of material is excellent for allowing well-controlled slides and glides while bowling, with the rubber brake scouting the edge of the sole.
Performance bowling shoes will also use a particular type of microfiber for their soles, allowing for additional traction and braking abilities for different levels of bowling.
Why Do Some Bowlers Use a Shoe Slide Cover?
A shoe slide cover is a sock-like device that goes over the toes of your bowling shoes to help prevent you from ‘sticking’ during your bowling approach.
As mentioned earlier, a gentle slide is expected of a good bowling form, and many bowlers spend years perfecting the art of their graceful glide.
However, varying factors such as unpolished alley lanes, worn shoes, or unmaintained grounds can cause problems in the bowler’s shoes’ sticking’.
Sticking is where the glide is stopped abruptly, causing the bowler to either lose balance or have their form and posture thrown off.
Sticking shoes can be very annoying for bowlers of all levels, and many professionals wear slide covers to keep from these different challenges.
Can You Wear Bowling Shoes Outside?
NO! We cannot stress how important it is NOT to wear your bowling shoes outside.
Bowling shoes are designed to keep your body and those around you safe by allowing a gliding motion to occur so you can maintain your posture and balance.
Gliding works best when the soles of the bowling shoes are clean and well maintained.
If you were to wear your bowling shoes outside, dirt, grass, gum, garbage, or any other debris found in walkways could become trapped in your shoes, tarnishing them and preventing them from doing their job correctly.
Many bowling alleys require all outdoor shoes to be removed before bowlers enter the floor and change into their bowling shoes.
Changing shoes prevents sand, gravel, and anything else tracked in from outside from getting on the shoes and damaging other bowlers’ lanes and bowling shoes.
While having a good pair of bowling shoes is very important for all bowlers, proper shoes are crucial for senior bowlers or individuals prone to fall and injure themselves.
Can Bowling Shoes Be Used for Everyday Wear?
They technically can. Bowling shoes are functioning shoes, after all. However, once worn outside, the shoes become a hazard to you, other bowlers, and the bowling alley itself.
As stated above, wearing bowling shoes anywhere else but the bowling alley can cause loose dirt and gravel to become trapped in the shoe.
Wearing bowling shows anywhere off the lane; can lead to a loss in traction with your slide approach, scratching up the lane, and damaging other bowlers’ throws.
Would It Be Better to Buy My Bowling Shoes?
While rental shoes are an option for people who don’t bowl as often as those who participate in a league or bowl professionally, you might want to buy yourself a good bowling shoe if you find yourself bowling often.
Since it costs money to rent shoes, many bowlers find it easier and cheaper to buy shoes that will quickly pay for themselves instead of renting bowling shoes a pair repeatedly.
There are many options of shoes to choose from to fit all types of needs and budgets, allowing bowlers to find what they are looking for with relative ease.
Make sure you do your research beforehand to find the best type of shoe for you since bowling shoes tend to last a long time, and you want a shoe that is both efficient and comfortable.
What Are the Best Type of Bowling Shoes?
When it comes to narrowing down the best type of bowling shoes, it can be a little tricky.
Many different factors involved in bowling affect what type of shoe is best for you. There are shoes for right-handed bowlers and shoes that are specifically tailored to left-handed bowlers.
The best shoe for you can be based on which foot you slide on and which one you use to brake and how often and how hard you bowl.
If we have to choose a specific brand to recommend, we will go with Dexter shoes. Known for its durability, flexibility, and comfort, this brand of bowling shoes has consistently put out high-quality shoes year after year.
Bowlers of all levels can find what they are looking for in the wide range of shoes available to them through the Dexter brand and try out different shoes for different needs.
The only drawback is that these shoes can be a little on the pricey side, but you typically pay for quality in this case.
Our runner-up brand would be a BSI shoe. While this type of shoe falls under the Dexter brand in quality, it is still a powerful presence in the bowling shoe world.
BSI also boasts a wide variety of selections to help every bowler find what they need.
If you are looking for good quality, affordable bowling shoes, we recommend a Brunswick shoe. While not as high quality as a Dexter or BSI, the Brunswick still provides comfortable bowling shoes and durability.
Are There Women and Men’s Bowling Shoes?
Like all types of shoes, bowling shoes come in women’s and men’s sizes.
But like regular shoes, the size that best fits you can vary by brand. Make sure you do your research, and you can try on the different types of shoes to find the best fit.
Can I Order Bowling Shoes Online?
Yes, you can! Many sites and online shopping venues offer a variety of choices, sizes, and brands of stylish bowling shoes. You can also order different parts and accessories like interchangeable heels and slip shoe covers.
If you choose to go this route, make sure you do your research. Many online platforms have varying prices for the same brand of shoes, different promotions, or different shipping rates.
Make sure you do your research and read customer reviews if they are available. Through these reviews, you will gain fresh insight and tips from people who have already ordered a product you are interested in and figured out the hiccups in sizes and brands.
So when it comes down to bowling shoes, the basic fact is that they are a valuable and necessary part of the sport. They help keep your body from injuring itself, protect other bowlers from accidents and help maintain the bowling lanes to ensure everyone has fun bowling.
While the types, sizes, and brands of shoes can vary, by taking your time and doing your research, you can be well on your way to finding the shoe that is the perfect fit for your needs and style of bowling.
So the next time you are at a bowling alley, and you’re getting ready to throw that first ball, make you’ve taken the time to put your bowling shoes on.
You and everyone around you deserve to have a fun, competitive game without anyone getting hurt because taking away that risk helps you bowl a lot better!
Kira Byrd, who holds a B.S. in Accounting and operates as an Internal Auditor during the day, has been an enthusiastic bowler since she was a small kid. She’s passionate about the sport and has been a member of several bowling clubs. Kira’s passion for helping others learn how to bowl as she realized how much her family and friends enjoyed the sport. Kira started Bowling for Beginners to teach new bowlers the game and help them improve their skills.