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Do Bowling Shoes Run Big or Small? Same Size as Regular Shoes?

A pair of bowling shoes made from a leather-like microfiber material without a sliding sole or interchangeable soles.

Sizing bowling shoes can be difficult because, as with most athletic shoes, there is no industry-wide standard for sizing. This is unfortunate because the size of your bowling shoes significantly impacts your game.

One of the most common questions people have when shopping for bowling shoes is whether they run big or small. So, do bowling shoes run big or small? Or are bowling shoes the same size as regular shoes?

In this article, we’ll explore how modern bowling shoes are sized and give you some tips for getting the perfect fit.

Do Bowling Shoes Run Big or Small?

When shopping for bowling shoes, it is essential to remember that they often run large. This is especially true for men’s shoes and shoes you’ll find at the bowling alley.

Many brands size their shoes according to the width of the foot, which can result in shoes that are longer than average (i.e., heel-to-toe length). This is not necessarily bad, as it gives you more space to wiggle your toes and helps you maintain your balance while bowling.

These bowling shoe sizes have little wiggle room at the top and adjustable widths for many bowlers with wider feet.

Do Dexter Bowling Shoes Run Large?

Dexter’s bowling shoes do not run large. They tend to run small, so you may want to order a size up if you have wide feet. Dexter is a good choice for bowlers with narrow feet, as the shoes are designed to fit snugly. The Dexter brand tends to be very popular among professional bowlers.

Do Brunswick Bowling Shoes Run Large?

It turns out that Brunswick bowling shoes generally run true to size. So, if you usually wear a size 10 shoe, you’ll likely need a size 10 Brunswick bowling shoe.

There are always exceptions to the rule, of course. But if you’re looking at Brunswick shoes and wondering if you should size up or down, the consensus is that you should buy your regular shoe size.

Shoe cupboard showing a standard width shoe in a half size made from natural leather.

Brands May Have Different Shoe Models

Keep in mind that different brands often offer different shoe models, each of which may fit differently. Though Dexter bowling shoes tend to run large on average, some of their shoes may fit more snugly.

The same goes for other bowling shoe brands that offer multiple shoe models. To ensure that you’re getting the correct size, always read the product description carefully and consult the size chart if one is available.

When in doubt, it’s always best to try on shoes before you buy them. If you’re shopping online, check the return policy in case you need to exchange them for a different size.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing Bowling Shoes

Some casual bowlers believe that bowling shoes are bowling shoes, but this isn’t true. The quality of your bowling shoes dramatically impacts your performance as a bowler, so we recommend that you choose bowling shoes very carefully.

Here are some factors that determine the quality of a bowling shoe:

  1. The sole type: You’ll find three main sole types on bowling shoes—slip-on, stitched, and slide. Slip-on soles don’t have any stitching, which makes them more affordable but also less durable. Stitched soles are more expensive but will last longer. Slide soles, which enable you to glide as you release the bowling ball, are costly but offer the best performance.
  2. The shoe material: Bowling shoes are made from leather or synthetic materials. Leather is relatively expensive but more durable and aesthetically pleasing than other materials. Artificial materials are less expensive, but they’re usually not as durable. 
  3. The size and fit: As we mentioned earlier, bowling shoes often run large compared to regular shoes. This means that you may have to order a size up from your normal shoe size in most cases. Generally, bowling shoes should fit snugly and not slip on the foot when walking. So, when trying on bowling shoes, walk around in them to see if they’re comfortable and fit well. 
  4. The style: Bowling shoes come in various styles, from traditional to modern. The style you choose is a matter of your personal preference.
A man is shoe shopping (or choosing shoes) as he tries to find the right pair of sliding shoes for wooden bowling alleys.

How Much to Spend on Bowling Shoes

You don’t have to break the bank to get good bowling shoes. There are plenty of high-quality bowling shoes available at a reasonable price. Just be sure to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase.

Casual and beginner bowlers can find affordable bowling shoes for as little as $40.

Note: The above applies loosely to competitive bowlers. If you’re a competitive bowler, you may want to invest in a more expensive pair of shoes because the quality does make a difference in your game.

Consider Whether You’re Left or Right Handed 

When shopping for bowling shoes, you’ll notice that they come in left-handed and right-handed models. In each model, the soles of the shoes are different.

If you choose right-handed bowling shoes, the sole of the right shoe will grip the floor when you slide your left foot forward as you release the ball. The left shoe will assist in sliding. The opposite will be true for left-handed bowling shoes.

Bowling alley players that bowl regularly looking for a good pair of shoes with sliding soles that come in half sizes.

Do You Need Extra Features?

Some bowling shoes come with more features than others. These features may include sliding pads which you can change regularly, cushioned insoles, and padded linings, among others.

These features maximize your mobility and stability as you bowl – they also make your shoes more comfortable. Whether or not you need these features depends on your budget and preferences.

Shoes with extra features are primarily for experienced bowlers.

As a beginner, you likely won’t need all the bells and whistles. Just get a good quality shoe that fits well and is comfortable. You can always upgrade to a more feature-rich shoe as you become a more experienced bowler.

A shelf full of the same size bowling shoes store at the bowling alley right next to a stand of house bowling balls.

Research Thoroughly Before Buying

You can find bowling shoes in multiple places, from reputable online platforms like Amazon to local sporting goods stores and shopping centers with pro shops.

However, the quality and legitimacy of the shoes vary from one dealer to another, and so does the cost.

Before buying from a dealer, ensure that you choose the one with the best offer without compromising on the quality.

You should also read through some of the reviews from the previous customers as well as the refund policy – just in case the shoes don’t fit as expected.

Should You Rent or Buy Bowling Shoes?

If you only plan on bowling for fun every once in a while, there’s no need to buy your own shoes. You can simply rent a pair at the bowling alley. However, if you’re serious about bowling or plan on joining a league, you should buy your own shoes.

This is because your own shoes will be more comfortable and better fitting than rental shoes. In addition, you’ll be able to break them in so that they fit your feet and bowling style perfectly.

Some people find bowling shoe rentals unsanitary; if that’s you, buying your own bowling shoes will be best for you.

Also, those who wear an uncommon bowling shoe size may have difficulty finding rentals that fit well. In this case, it would also be best to buy your own shoes.

Regardless of the previous points, if you have the funds and want to buy shoes for your casual bowling outings, you certainly can. There really aren’t any rules when it comes to whether you rent or buy.

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In conclusion, some bowling shoes run large while others run small. It really depends on the brand you’re considering. Do your research to find the right size for you.

And if you’re a beginner, don’t worry about extra shoe features—just get your hands on some shoes that are the right size and feel comfortable.

You can always upgrade as you become more experienced in the game. We hope that this article has been helpful to you and wish you the best in your search for bowling shoes.