Long gone are the days when bowling shoes were an eyesore. Today’s bowling styles mimic the latest footwear trends, and we’re loving it! In fact, some love their bowling shoes so much that they want to wear them off the lanes.
If you’re wondering whether you can do that, you’re in the right place. In this article, we answer the question, can I wear bowling shoes outside?
Can I Wear Bowling Shoes Outside
Anyone can wear any shoes they’d like outside, but it isn’t always a good idea. Bowling shoes are not made to withstand outdoor conditions and can lead to preventable accidents. Even though it is possible, no one should wear bowling shoes anywhere but at the bowling alley.
Just as it isn’t a good idea to wear bowling shoes outside, you should never wear them in place of your regular, everyday shoes. Even if you wear them to work and the entire office is carpeted, microscopic debris can still destroy the soles of your shoes.
In addition, the moisture in our environment is nearly unavoidable and can trip you up as you walk.
Why Bowling Shoes Should Not Be Worn Outside
Many people who don’t understand the importance of bowling shoes believe they can bowl with any kind of shoe they want. They argue that dress shoes can replace bowling shoes since some have slippery bottoms.
This is 100% wrong. Bowling shoes are specialized shoes with unique properties, and they should only be used in the bowling alley.
If you’re not yet convinced, the following list may help clear things up further. Here are a few more reasons why your own bowling shoes should not be worn outside the bowling alley:
- Targeted Design. Bowling shoes are designed to be used on lane floors and nowhere else.
- Reduced Performance. If you wear bowling shoes outside, it will ruin them. Once this happens, there’s no point in wearing them at the alley again. The soles will be scratched and won’t perform well.
- Damage Risk. After wearing your bowling shoes outside, you risk bringing small stones into the alley and scratching up the lane approach, ruining the game for everyone else. And if the bowling alley staff finds out that you’ve damaged the floor, you may be liable to pay for damages.
- Fall Risk. Once the bottom of your shoes has been damaged by outside elements, they are no longer safe for you to use while bowling. The slip and grip they initially had to let you bowl with ease have been compromised. Your shoes could catch on the floor, causing you to fall.
What Is the Point of Bowling Shoes?
Unless you’re an avid bowler, you might not really get why you have to wear bowling shoes at your local bowling alley. Bowling shoes make a big difference not just in how you play but in your safety. Here’s why bowling shoes are so important to wear only on the lanes:
- Sliding Support: There’s no question that bowling lanes are slippery. When you bowl, your approach requires you to be able to move fluidly. Your bowling shoes can slide with you instead of squeaking and catching on the floor like you would if you wore street shoes.
- Precise Release: Your approach will always end with a release at the foul line. Your bowling shoes allow you to combine your throw with the proper footwork to make that happen. If you bowl with anything other than bowling shoes, your approach would be choppy, and the release may be more of a lofting down the lane.
- Stop Potential Injuries: If you’ve never seen bowlers on the professional circuit, you should take a moment to watch a video of them right now. The physical involvement and power these bowlers have in their game can leave a person in awe. Believe it or not, their bowling shoes allow them to bowl as powerfully as they like while reducing their risk of injury.
Falls are always possible if you don’t have the proper footwear and technique when bowling. You can fall if your shoes stop or stick at any point during your roll. This could result in strained muscles, connective tissue tears, and even fractures.
Bowling shoes are built to help your body stay in motion without abrupt stops or loss of control.
- Better Bowling Games: Bowling shoes give a bowler the support they need to build up the energy they need in four or five steps to throw their ball and maximize performance. Street shoes, including flip-flops, simply can’t do that.
Bowling shoes are a vital part of any bowler’s game. In addition, they’re the most responsible choice for the wearer, the bowling alley, and even other bowlers.
Are Bowling Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, bowling shoes are comfortable! They have to be because you’ll be wearing them for an extended period when you’re bowling. They’re also designed to be lightweight and don’t weigh you down.
They are typically made out of leather or synthetic materials. The soles are usually made of rubber to provide good traction, and they often have a supportive insole to cushion your feet as you walk.
How Long Do Bowling Shoes Last?
With proper care, a pair of bowling shoes can last for about two years. However, the sliding sole on your bowling shoes will eventually wear out and need to be replaced.
Depending on how often you bowl, the sliding sole on your bowling shoes may need to be replaced every few months. Replacement sliding soles are readily available and easy to install.
Here’s a quick overview of how to replace the sliding sole on your bowling shoes:
- Remove the old sliding sole from your bowling shoe.
- Clean the surface of your bowling shoe where the new sliding sole will be attached.
- Attach the new sliding sole to your bowling shoe.
- Test the new sliding sole by delivering a few practice balls down the lane.
- Adjust the position of the new sliding sole as necessary.
Can You Wear Bowling Shoes to the Bathroom?
You shouldn’t wear bowling shoes to the bathroom. You might think the shoes are already being used in the building, so it should be fine to wear them into the restroom quickly, but that’s a risky mistake.
When you leave the lanes, you risk walking through water spots and spilled or dropped food, all while picking up other debris on the soles of your shoes. The fact is that bowling shoes should only be worn at the lane itself.
Can Bowling Shoes Get Wet?
No. If you can avoid getting your bowling shoes wet, do that. If the shoes get wet, it can cause sudden stops during your approach and release. Bowlers’ entire games depend on the success of each approach and release, meaning wet shoes could ruin your whole game or, even worse, lead to injury. Buy shoe covers.
If your rented bowling shoes get wet, trade them for a dry pair. For those wearing their own shoes, pat the spot dry as best as you can. Put them away in a shoe cover and rent some house shoes if you need to finish your game.
The best way to handle getting wet bowling shoes is to avoid getting them wet at all. If you’re arriving at the alley and it’s rainy or snowy, don’t bring your wet shoes anywhere near the lanes or sitting area. Keep your bowling shoes safe and protected from moisture until you can get to the lane.
What About Socks?
If you’re wondering if you can bowl in bowling shoes while not wearing socks, it is possible if you’re wearing your own personal shoes. You should check with your local alley to review their policies regarding socks and rental shoes. It is not recommended that you wear borrowed bowling shoes without socks.
You have a greater risk of skin issues without socks’ absorbent and protective fabric. It’s always best to bring socks with you to your bowling outing. Not only are bowling alley socks expensive, but they may not be available at all bowling alleys.
For those wanting to wear socks for bowling instead of bowling shoes, it’s not a good idea. Not only are you likely to be asked to leave the alley, but you also put other players at risk because of the sweat from your feet. In addition, it can make the lanes sticky, making each approach dangerous.
So, there you have it; you should not wear your bowling shoes outside. Better yet – you shouldn’t wear them anywhere except the lane area. It’s for your own good.
Though it may be tempting to wear your new bowling shoes everywhere, it’s best to wear only street shoes outside. We hope that you found this article to be helpful and that you’ll follow our advice. Good luck!
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.