Your Guide to Buying Bowling Shoes
If you go bowling, you’ll either have to rent shoes from the bowling alley, or bring your own. One of the reasons for bowling shoes is to keep any foreign substances off of the lane. Moisture, dirt or food residue from your shoes or sneakers might make the approach area in the bowling lane dangerous. This is due to hazard of slipping or sticking to the surface–they might interfere with the next person who bowls. But bowling shoes are also made so that you can bowl better—to find the proper balance between sliding and braking as you approach the foul line. So you have to have special bowling shoes. But what should you look for? Here is a guide to some of the best bowling shoes on the market.
Types of Bowling Shoes
Athletic shoes: These are non-specialty shoes, which will be for beginners. Both the right and left shoes will be of identical construction—with a sliding sole, rather than a braking sole. BSI makes a basic athletic bowling shoe in the neighborhood of $40.
Performance Shoes: These will be specialized shoes, that make allowance for whether you are right- or left-handed. One shoe (the one opposite your bowling hand) will be a sliding shoe. The other shoe will be a friction shoe, to push off as you start your approach, and to slow you down as you actually bowl the ball. These will be more expensive, around $100 and upward.
What People are Saying
Based on all the consumers’ reviews we’ve scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:
Saves money: When you have your own shoes, you don’t have to rent them from the bowling alley. Athletic bowling shoes will be around $40, and renting can be $3 every time you go bowling. So you can expect them to pay for themselves. You also should consider the fact that they won’t wear out very soon, and they can see several years of use.
Customized for you: When you rent shoes from the bowling alley, it will be difficult to get a proper fit. When you own your own shoes, you can be sure that they’re the proper length and width. You can also have them customized, with the sole and heel as you want.
Takes time to break them in: A big concern is getting the right size when ordering a shoe. Even if they feel small at first, it might simply be a factor of having to break them in.
Useful Tips for Shoppers
Difference between European and American sizes: If you’re buying bowling shoes over the Internet, you will have to be sure that you’re buying the correct size. Take note of whether the shoe’s size is in the European or the American system.
Choosing the sole and the heel of the shoe: Dexter has a system for choosing the heel and sole of their shoe. You typically brake with your heel and slide with your sole, so you look for a heel that provides more friction. It is not recommended to have a heel that slides more than the sole of the shoe—at most they should be equal. Some shoes allow you to use interchangeable soles, according to the conditions that you experience at the lane where you are bowling. #1 means minimum sliding ability, whereas #10 means maximal sliding ability. If the floor is a waxed, slippery surface, you’ll prefer a lower number sole.
Test out your shoes: If you have changed your soles or heels, make sure to test the shoes out without a bowling ball, to master the approach with the new shoes.
Shoes for left-handed people: You’ll see bowling shoes with the “LH” designation. That means that they’re for left-handed people. The left foot will have a rubber sole and heel, because it will be used more for braking (rubber has a greater friction with the alley’s surface). If you’re left-handed, the left foot will also be the foot with which you push off.
Dexter—was founded in 1957. They manufactured several innovative products in bowling shoes for both competitive and recreational bowlers, and have since become a premier name in bowling shoes and apparel.
Brunswick—was founded by John Moses Brunswick in 1845. They originally made billiards tables and equipment, but then moved into bowling equipment, phonograph records, automobile tires, and more. Their headquarters is presently in Lake Forest, Illinois.
BSI—are makers of a wide range of bowling shoes for both men and women, in a wide range of styles. They also make a number of sports accessories.