You’ve got your ball, you’ve got your bag, now what, Lebowski? One of the most important things to improve your bowling game is ensuring you have the best pair of bowling shoes for the most effective play. Well, Alley Cats, we are here to assist. We’ve paired our top 10 recommendations with an in-depth buyer’s guide. With our detailed research and trials, we have discovered which pairs work best, and which ones fall flat. And we’ve updated our recommendations for the new year, so go with confidence into 2024!
Finding shoes for your specific needs will make quite a lot of difference in your performance. You can run up and launch the ball without worrying about embarrassing or hurting yourself. Overall, you get a much more precise, balanced game.
If you find your scoring plateauing, a new pair of shoes could make all the difference. In this guide, you will discover how much of a difference the right pair of bowling shoes will make in your game. When it comes to bowling, after a customized ball, a strong pair of shoes is going to provide an ample boost to your result.
Our Choices for 2024 and Beyond
Before we unveil the secrets to our research and due diligence, we figured we would provide you with a list of the shoes that have made our list of the “best of the best”.
Two quick words. First, the top choices are professional-level bowling shoes. That may be for you, and it may not. They cost a bit more, so if you’re just looking for an alternative to the rental pathogen incubators, there are some more affordable options on the list.
Second, we’re not sure why, but the high-end Dexter shoes seem to attract counterfeiters on Amazon. We went ahead and linked Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bowlingball.com, official retailers of Dexter shoes. Of course, if the price on Amazon is better, who are we to stop you?
We hope that this will make it a breeze for you to compare features and shoes to your personal needs. In the end, we hope you can discover the shoes that work best for you. Here are our choices for the best bowling shoes on the market in 2024.
The Best Bowling Shoes for 2024:
- Best Overall, Strike!— Dexter T.H.E. 9 Men’s | Women’s
- Best Runner Up, Spare.— Dexter SST 8 Pro Men’s | Women’s
- Best for Men on a Budget— Pyramid Ra
- Best for Women on a Budget— Pyramid Path Lite
- Best for Wide Feet— Dexter Ricky IV Wide
- Best With a Cult Following— 3G Mens Tour Ultra
Evergreen Options— Still The Best!
- Best if You Hate Dexter— Pyramid HPX High Performance
- Best for Beginners (Men)— Dexter Pro Am II
- Best for Beginners (Women)— Dexter Vicky
- Best for Having Youth Sizes— StrikeForce Flyer
Best Overall, Strike!— Dexter T.H.E. 9
These high-performance shoes were designed to assist in the execution of more expert-honed moves when on the approach in the lanes. Look no further than the absolute shoe juggernaut that is the Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoe, which will adapt to your ever-improving level of bowling skill.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that the Dexter T.H.E. 9 bowling shoes were developed for intermediate to advanced-level bowlers. Some of their most unique features available that aren’t common with comparative shoes are “hyperflex” channels as well as a reinforced toe-hold. This led to the shoes’ name: T.H.E. stands for Toe-hold Hyperflex Engineering.
Their high-value innovations promise a long-lasting, durable, sustainable bowling shoe with an impressive lifespan. The upper is a soft, full-grain leather that comes primarily in black with red or white accents. Leather is an excellent material for adding breathability to a shoe, and the mesh tongue adds to this.
These shoes can be customized based on the techniques and skills of the wearer, with a removable THS7 slide pad, THT2 traction pad, H5 ST, and H2 UB. They feature patented symmetry throughout the outsole, letting you skip the common process of trimming sole pads when placed. The Dexter T.H.E. 9’s also have a secure-fit last, giving you more control with a closer fit.
One complaint that wearers had of previous models of the same shoes was soles separating up front, usually because of toe drag. Dexter has addressed this issue with newer models, and reinforced the toe hold on replaceable soles, extending the life of the shoe.
- Come in a variety of different color options
- Manufactured with durability in mind
- Some of the most comfortable bowling shoes on the market
- Made with breathable, soft leather, preventing foot pain when bowling
- Some of the most expensive bowling shoes that are on our list
Best Runner Up, Spare.— Dexter SST 8 Pro
In our opinion, the race for first and second on this list might be interchangeable depending on the bowler. We recommend T.H.E. 9 for bowlers who tend towards toe dragging since they were designed for that, but plenty of others will prefer the SS8, and it’s no surprise why. The Dexter SST 8 bowling shoe is one of the highest-quality shoes for professional and semi-professional bowlers
This shoe is comprised of high-quality, premium, full-grain leather, ideal for durability and long-lasting shoe endurance in and out of the alley. Additionally, these shoes provide exceptional breathability and ventilation. This allows you to play comfortably, without having to worry about slipping around with sweaty feet.
The sole is made specifically for interchangeability as needed. However, their typical rubber outsoles are perfect for extensive durability and a strong slide.
Due to the toe’s unique design, you aren’t going to be hindered sliding around more than anticipated, which can lead to issues providing the power needed to get the ball down the lane faster and more effectively.
The shoe’s interior is one of its strongest features. The Dexter SST 8 comes with a padded collar, providing extensive comfort for the wearer. In addition, the EVA midsole assists the sole with molding to the foot shape. This also reduces the break-in time that you might have with competing bowling shoes.
To be honest, one of the only downsides we found with these shoes was that they’re also pretty expensive compared to alternatives. If you’re on a budget, we recommend trying one of the Pyramid shoes recommended below.
- An EVA midsole that adds to durability, stability and comfort levels
- Provides the best ventilation of any of the shoes we tested and researched
- No break-in period that should be expected with these shoes, minimizing pain and discomfort at the start
- Some of the higher-priced bowling shoes on our list of the best
Best Bowling Shoes for Men on a Budget— Pyramid Ra
As well as being great shoes for beginners, the Pyramid shoes are also fantastic for bowlers on a budget. They’re a mainstay shoe brand from Bowlingball.com, committed to quality bowling products at affordable prices.
Depending on your budget, you may want to wait for a sale to scoop them up. Any time you’re buying specialty shoes for a specific sport, it pays to invest a bit more in quality. You’ll get shoes that include features that are not only necessary for the sport, but keep your feet (and the rest of you by extension) safe and healthy while you do it.
The Pyramid Ra’s made the top of our budget list because of these essential features. For one, they have a microfiber slide sole, and any bowler will tell you that you need a pair of shoes that slide. They also have a rubber push-off on the right shoe for more control at the release and more roll on the ball. We found that the slide is extremely smooth (dare we say “like butter”?) and although we wish a left-hand option was available, these are great for a budget option.
A few other points to note are the comfortable fit and synthetic leather upper, as we found them comfortable to wear and easy to break in. The appearance is also quite stylish, offering shoes in black, black and silver, and black and blue.
- Excellent quality for the low price
- Microfiber slide sole and rubber push-off on right shoe for more rev on the ball and control/power
- Comfortable synthetic leather upper, easy to wear and break in
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Green packaging with an eco-friendly shoe bag, no box
- No left-handed option
Best Bowling Shoes for Women on a Budget— Pyramid Path Lite
Riding on the heels of our recommendation for the men’s is the Pyramid Path Lite bowling shoes for women. As a brand, Pyramid packs a lot of quality into an affordable shoe, often surprising even experienced bowlers looking to save a buck and not expecting much. However, you’ll quickly find that these are an excellent and accessible alternative to the higher-priced shoes on this list and out on the market.
First and foremost, the shoes are universal, meaning right- and left-handed bowlers can use them. There are microfiber slide soles on the front and rubber pads on the heels, providing both slide and power and control no matter which hand you bowl with. One downside is that neither the heels nor soles are changeable, but that’s to be expected with budget bowling shoes.
The Pyramid Path Lites live up to their name and are indeed lightweight, even down to the rubber outsole. The mesh upper is seamless and breathable, reducing sweat and reducing any chance of your feet slipping around or odor. The raised rubber heel plus the comfort footbed add support and stability, preventing foot fatigue.
We found these shoes comfy, stylish, and athletic, a great purchase for both beginners as well as regular bowlers on a budget.
- Lightweight rubber outsole
- Breathable and lightweight mesh upper coming in hot pink, purple, teal, and white
- Microfiber slide sole and rubber heel on both shoes for right- or left-handed bowlers
- Raised heel and comfort footbed provide support
- Machine-wash friendly for easy cleaning
- 2-year warranty
- Heels and soles not changeable
- Can’t be returned if they’ve been worn for bowling
Best Bowling Shoes for Wide Feet— Dexter Ricky IV Wide
Having wide feet can make the task of finding shoes that fit a hassle. Your toes need space to adequately spread out for balance as well as comfort. This is especially true for sports shoes, bowling included. We recommend the Dexter Ricky IV wide for those bowlers who need quality bowling shoes with enough room in the toe box for their wide feet!
The Ricky IV’s are from Dexter’s new DexLite Collection. The shoes have increased durability thanks to their lightweight outsoles and drubber-defined horseshoe heels. They also have a Flex Channel at the balls of the feet for additional flexibility, and lightweight, molded EVA insoles to hug your foot and provide comfort. One little feature we also really liked was the toe bumper for toe drag protection, since that’s often the culprit when soles start to come off. Dexter has put a lot of effort into resolving this issue across the board, and we appreciate it immensely.
Now, what matters for this review is the space of the toe box. We found them roomy and comfortable, providing enough wiggle room while still staying secure when laced up. That said, Dexter shoes are known to run a half size big, so wide-footed wearers can also benefit from that additional space allowing them to adjust the laces for the perfect fit.
Cared for properly, your Ricky IV’s can last you well into 10 years. Even if you upgrade to something with interchangeable soles in the future, your Ricky IV’s will stick by you and make a stylish backup.
- Lightweight outsole and rubber-defined horseshoe heels
- Flex Channel adds flexibility
- EVA molded insole molds to your feet and provides cushioning
- Toe bumper to combat and protect shoes from toe drag
- Roomy toe box (shoes run 1/2 size large)
- Long-lasting and durable for years
- Soles aren’t interchangeable
Best Bowling Shoes With a Cult Following— 3G Mens Tour Ultra
This is the ultimate bowling shoe for the ultimate bowling professional. The Tour Ultra Bowling Shoes from 3G are manufactured from kangaroo hide, which is the strongest and lightest leather available today. As such, the 3G Tour Ultras are the perfect blend of versatility, performance, and high-value durability, all wrapped in a stylish, unique package that is sure to please even the pickiest of shoe enthusiasts.
The comfortable and tough bowling shoes come with a wide array of interchangeable heels, cleats, and soles, which allow bowlers young and old, new and professional, to match their shoes to the conditions of a variety of techniques and approaches. Additionally, precision-engineered sole frames ensure perfect placement time and time again.
A versatile package, these shoes come with plenty of extras, including four soles, three heels, shoe trees, and slide sole cover, vented insoles, and a carry bag, as well as a replaceable Kevlar toe cap. The options for customization are truly endless.
- Include four easily interchangeable soles made from back skin, deer skin, cleats, and chrome leather
- Come with three different, interchangeable heels: rippled, flat normal, and back skin
- Made from durable kangaroo leather, with traction soles of Kevlar rubber and replaceable DuPont Kevlar toe caps
- Some may be uncomfortable wearing shoes made from kangaroo leather compared to synthetic alternatives
- Higher price point, especially if you’re new to the sport
Best Bowling Shoes if You Hate Dexter— Pyramid HPX High Performance
The HPX High Performance Pyramid bowling shoe makes top marks on our list of the best bowling shoes, and are the best “performance” option we found. As a higher performance option, you can expect to get quite a bit of feature-rich qualities out of these.
For starters, the Pyramid HPX High Performance has a stellar design, looking more like a stylish pair of athletic shoes than a gaudy, standard pair of rental bowling shoes. Despite this, there is no mistaking that these are shoes for the most serious of bowling professionals. With their modern athletic style, they are set apart from just about any other bowling shoe on our list.
Regarding fit, you can expect a strong level of comfort, although HPX has been known to be finicky with the sizing of their bowling shoe options. Despite this, these shoes come with something HPX refers to as “biomechanical contouring”. This contouring was designed to follow the natural curve of the foot, providing extensive comfort and support when bowling.
The shoes are manufactured from soft, full-grain leather, leading to a minimal time for the shoes to be broken in, especially in comparison to other bowling shoe options. Additionally, their Ortholite 3D Deluxe Insole ensures wonderful levels of stability and cushioning for the life of the shoe.
All these features work together to provide agility, a strong slide, and great braking power, in addition to total control of your fluidity and movements when on the alley.
- Comes with interchangeable heels and soles, allowing the user to customize their bowling shoe to their own unique playing style and comfort level
- Compatible with many alternative brand replacement soles and heels, providing great convenience to those bowlers who tend to wear out shoe soles quicker than others
- Biomechanical contouring was designed to follow the natural curve of the foot, providing extensive comfort and support when bowling
- Affordable and good value bowling shoe with the level of quality expected from bowling mainstay brand Pyramid
- Sizing has been known to be a bit tricky
- Shoes are not ambidextrous, instead coming in right-handed, right-handed wide, and left-handed models
Best Bowling Shoes for Beginners (Men)— Dexter Pro Am II
Dexter’s Pro Am II is a stellar right-handed bowling shoe, designed for the elimination of slipping when you are bowling. It does a wonderful job in doing so.
These shoes are manufactured from extremely durable synthetic leather. As such, their upper is quite soft, leading the shoes to be more comfortable throughout the upper than comparative alternatives. They truly mold well to the foot shape.
Also, the collar of these shoes is fully padded, compared to the thin collar of many bowling shoes of yesteryear, and even a few that are on this list. This collar wicks away a bit of the moisture common when bowling extensively.
The outsole of the Dexter Pro Am II is comprised of expected rubber. It provides a comfortable slide when playing on slick bowling lane surfaces. Additionally, it has an added heel, which provides a bit of a height boost, as well as greater control over the slide while bowling.
Price-wise, these bowling shoes are hard to beat. They are extremely affordable when compared to some alternatives that provide the same level of material quality and comfort.
For the value and the level of quality you get, the Dexter Pro Am II comes highly recommended from us here at Shoe Guide. They are a great, affordable shoe that will delight any beginner to intermediate bowler looking to improve their game.
- Very comfortable inner collar, perfect for longer games
- One of the best slide options of any shoe we tested
- Among the most affordable, high-quality bowling shoes on our list
- The fit doesn’t seem to range too large or too small.
- Outsole durability may be lacking; it started to wear away towards the back of the outsole over time, faster than we expected
- Additional sole can end up leading to additional breakdown over the life of the shoe
Best Bowling Shoes for Beginners (Women)— Dexter Vicky
The Vicky bowling shoe by popular brand Dexter is a great way to look great while getting ahead of the curve on your bowling game, even for beginners. Not only are these shoes comfortable and stylish, they also provide an advantage needed when approaching, sliding, and pushing your game forward to the next level of play.
The soft uppers of the Dexter Women’s Vicky bowling shoe pair with a fully-lined, soft fabric inner, padded collar and tongue, and U-throat pattern in the upper. These all combine to ensure you receive the support your feet will need frame after frame.
The durable rubber outsoles have a well-defined “horseshoe heel”, which works to ensure you can maintain your footing when releasing the ball down the lane and breaking your slide. A microfiber S8 sole for sliding, as well as an EVA midsole are additional features of note with the Dexter Women’s Vicky.
- Ambidextrous, working wonderfully for both left-handed and right-handed bowlers
- Non-marking rubberized outsoles provide extensive protection and support for the midsole and sole
- Padded tongues and collars, microfiber slide soles, a U-throat upper, and a horseshoe heel
- One of the most comfortable bowling shoes for women
- Come at a higher price than some might expect
Best Bowling Shoes for Having Youth Sizes— KR StrikeForce Flyer Mesh
Are you not the type of person who bowls often enough that you are going to need a special pair of bowling shoes, but also the type who doesn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a new pair, the StrikeForce Men’s Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes are a stellar option.
These bowling shoes are athletically-styled, comprised of durable, soft materials. Textile inner sole linings, a padded tongue and collar, and StrikeForce’s “Komfort-Fit” construction provides impressive support for the foot when bowling, and a comfortable wear time and time again.
The rubber outsole of the Flyer Mesh bowling shoe protects the slide of the shoe, as well as both the midsole and sole. This shoe has what can be considered a “universal sole”. What this means is that both feet have a slide pad made of microfiber, and are ambidextrous, good for both left- and right-handed bowlers. The level of slide determines the smoothness at which the bowling ball is released. With StrikeForce’s FlexiSlide technologies, you are in good hands.
The StrikeForce Men’s Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes also offers some of the best traction, perfect for stopping an impressive slide before being out of bounds. Bowling shoes that are rented aren’t ideal for this. Instead, owning a comfortable pair of your own, stylish bowling shoes will serve to greatly improve your game. Luckily, these won’t cost a fortune, either.
- FlexiSlide technology offers some of the best slide opportunities of any entry-level bowling shoe we researched
- Padded tongues and collar ensure that players receive high levels of comfort frame after frame after frame
- Among the most affordable bowling shoes for beginner to intermediate bowlers
- Universal soles and Komfort-Fit help to ensure that these shoes work well for both left-handed and right-handed bowlers
- The durability leaves a bit to be desired
- Lack an interchangeable sole common with comparable bowling shoes
Most Important Features of the Best Bowling Shoes
At this point, you should have a far stronger understanding of which bowling shoes are the best on the market right now. However, it is also important to determine which features should be used to decide which bowling shoes are best for your needs.
By taking advantage of these features, you will be equipped with the information needed to obtain the best bowling shoes for your specific set of requirements. Do the shoes we recommend above not fit the bill? Check out our features below to determine what should be focused on.
Focusing on Durability
Durability is one of the most important factors to consider when looking at a new pair of bowling shoes. As these shoes tend to be quite expensive, and don’t get a ton of use outside of the alley, you aren’t going to need to purchase new pairs consistently. However, ensuring you choose the right shoes, you can save a bunch of money in the long run when you go for durable options.
Many less expensive models of bowling shoe use synthetic leathers. While lightweight and flexible, these may not be as durable as more advanced, premium leather options available with more expensive options.
Textile is yet another material that can be considered. However, this material has been found to be somewhat lacking in features that are warranted when bowling. We will touch on this a little bit later.
Focusing on the Insole
The insole is one of the most important components to be looked at in about any shoe that you are purchasing. However, for bowling shoes, they play an even more important role than most other shoe types.
This part of the shoe represents the area where the feet should be snug when bowling. If the insole is not made from the proper materials, you may find the shoes to be ineffective when you are in the game.
As a result, we at Shoe Guide highly recommend using EVA for insoles. It is relatively low-priced, and can easily mold to the foot shape. Even if purchased after the act, it provides an effective option for bowling with stellar levels of comfort.
Do you find yourself suffering from issues such as plantar fasciitis or flat footedness? If so, one of the best methods to alleviate this when bowling is to use orthotic, memory foam insoles. However, these can be rather expensive. Comparatively, polyurethane insoles provide an affordable insole option, but don’t mold to the foot shape like EVA and memory foam would. In the end, it is all up to your personal preferences.
Focusing on the Outsole
In a typical bowling game, the ability to slide is crucial to both the technique and the style of a bowler. Thus, outsoles should be comprised mainly of rubber. However, in comparison to just about any other shoe we have reviewed here at Shoe Guide, you are not going to be wanting traction or grip to be a major design focus.
Instead, you are going to want to look for shoes that have micro-fibers added to the sole of the shoe. This enables you to get that ideal slide when bowling, in addition to delivering extra power to your bowling shots.
It should also be noted that, in regards to outsole material, we don’t recommend using anything besides rubber. Rubber provides far better durability than just about any other alternative. Additionally, it can take quite a bit of wear and tear common with more advanced and professional level bowlers.
Focusing on the Shoe Design
One of the major draws of bowling is that it can be played in just about any type of clothing. However, the general trend of “bowling shoes” being mainstream means a complete outfit should have shoes that match your style being presented. After all, this isn’t a birthday party for a 15-year-old.
While style is not as crucial of a focus compared to durability and comfort, obviously, it should not be completely overlooked. In this vein, it’s important to find a shoe that combines quality with sought-after styling.
Focusing on the Weight of the Shoe
When you are bowling, you will likely be moving rapidly to push the bowling ball down the lane. If your shoes are on the heavier side, you are going to find yourself more fatigued after each frame. This can be detrimental to the effectiveness of your overall game in the long run, especially when doing multiple games in one day.
This being the case, we highly recommend checking the weight of a shoe. Compare the trade-off of a heavier shoe that may be more durable, compared to a lighter shoe that may not be as long-lasting, but is far more user-friendly when bowling frame after frame.
Focusing on Shoe Size
Sizing is one of the most important pieces of a bowling shoe. As such, your bowling shoes are definitely going to be sized appropriately to guarantee positive results.
Many shoes tend to have varying issues in sizing. If you’ve spent any time with rented shoes in a bowling alley, you know this pain well. It can become very frustrating. Larger shoes can be uncomfortable on the feet, and slip around in all the wrong places while bowling. Comparatively, smaller shoes may not slip about, but can be very painful and tight.
Other Features Common with Bowling Shoes to Keep in Mind
There are additional features that might not be considered as important in the purchasing decision as those mentioned above. However, they can still be buy or not-buy catalysts, and be game changers for those who are dependent on effectiveness when on the alley.
A Snubbed Toe
Does your technique involve a good bit of sliding on the toe of your bowling shoe? If so, you may be better off getting a shoe that has a snubbed toe. While this design is currently not the most in-style for bowling shoes, it provides for a far more effective movement. Additionally, more enhanced bowling shoes have larger sole rims, which are also useful for more slides.
An Inner Collar
The inner collar can, at times, be one of the most important comfort-focused aspects of any show, inside or outside of bowling. However, as it relates to bowling, inner collars are wonderful for avoiding rubbing and abrasions on the front of the foot.
Additionally, the inner collar needs to be able to provide users with properties to wick away moisture. They also serve to reduce sweat build-up.
An Added Heal
Yes, added heels may make your shoe seem a bit more stylish and a bit less clunky compared to a lot of the bowling shoes that are on our list above. However, their effectiveness is completely dependent on your individual bowling style. Some love it and swear by the added heel. Others abhor it and want nothing to do with it.
Added heels also obviously add weight to the shoe. If sliding is a major part of your “move”, you might be disappointed with the lack of give an added heel provides to an otherwise glide-prone shoe. However, as noted, it’s all up to personal preference.
Do you play for an extended time frame without removing or changing shoes? If so, having good ventilation is crucial. This can sometimes be considered a vital feature. The level of ventilation will be dependent on the material composition of the bowling shoe.
While these features may cause you to have a higher-priced bowling shoe, if you consider yourself somewhat of a serious bowler, all the above featured can come in handy. Overall, they will be quite beneficial to your game.
Ensuring Proper Care of Bowling Shoes
It doesn’t matter if your bowling shoes cost $50 or cost $350, the shoe is one of the most undervalued and important piece of your bowling equipment arsenal. Properly caring for your bowling shoes are a wonderful way to ensure your asset stays solid for years to come. But how do you best take care of a pair of bowling shoes? Below is a quick list of some of the best ways to keep your shoes looking good and staying strong time and time again.
- If you bowl daily, get two pairs of good quality bowling shoes and trade off every other day.
- When you are removing your shoe, don’t do the “other foot shoe horn” method. Instead, loosen the laces and remove them carefully.
- Store shoes in a dry, cool place. Tossing them in your trunk is a good way to get the material to degrade quickly in heat.
- Wear absorbent and clean socks every time you wear the shoes, to help wick away sweat and moisture.
- Thinking about storing your shoes for a little bit in the bowling off-season? If so, utilize shoe trees to ensure your bowling shoes don’t fall flat. In the same vein, avoid your shoes being crushed or flattened when stored normally.
- The oil used in some bowling alley lane maintenance will mess with the integrity of synthetically-manufactured soles over time. To avoid this, wipe your shoes off after each use.
- Also wipe down the shoe exterior well with a microfiber cloth before storage. This will help not only with lane oil, but also with dirt and debris that can build up.
- Don’t wear your bowling shoes outside of the lanes, period. Do you need to use the bathroom? Change shoes. Need to jog out to your car quickly? Change shoes.
- If you must wear your bowling shoes outside of the lanes, utilize protective shoe covers that are available for more serious bowlers.
- If your shoes are really dirty, use the same type of bristle-brush common with cleaning more expensive dress shoes.
- Avoid getting your bowling shoes wet at all costs. However, if the soles get a bit damp, use a little bit of shoe conditioner when wiping them off.
If you treat your bowling shoes as a cross between an expensive pair of dress shoes and a good pair of running or basketball shoes, they will treat you well in response.
Strongest Benefits of a Good Pair of Bowling Shoes
There are ample positive benefits to a good pair of the best bowling shoes your budget will allow. Bowling shoes can tend to be quite expensive, and are only a piece of the “customized” things you will need to be a high-level bowler. However, these shoes provide a specific level of benefits that serve to drastically influence your style, and ultimately your game.
Below is a bulleted list of some of the most common benefits you will experience on the lane if you decide to purchase a pair of the best bowling shoes.
- Knowing how to properly glide and slide across the floor is a wonderful method to ensure a more accurate throw with a bit more power behind the ball. With a good pair of bowling shoes, you will have a more improved glide experience. This provides an extensive benefit over somebody who doesn’t have the proper shoes, as well as providing you the extra boost to win against players at the same skill level.
- While floor protection might not be top of mind for you, it will be to bowling alley owners, as well as other bowlers who want a nice, clean, well-maintained floor. Some of the more expensive bowling shoes are developed to maintain the protection of the lanes, which will help you and others play a strong set of frames. In fact, more serious bowling clubs and groups won’t let you play with shoes that can cause damage to the lanes.
- Many of the most effective (and expensive) bowling shoe options come with solid warranties. These warranties help to ensure you are protected from damages that may occur in the alley. But, some of the less expensive options may not offer this, leaving you to ensure your shoes are kept protected and undamaged. We also recommend washing off a bit of the oil you may put on them after a game.
- Finally, many of the most advanced bowling shoes on the market today are highly customizable, a must when dealing with semi-professional or professional-level bowlers. One of the things that can be customized is the outsole. A strong outsole can improve your game, however, there are certain situations that may call for a different sole. Many outsoles can be removed or replaced with orthotic options. However, for those looking for extreme value, we highly recommend EVA.
Potential Drawbacks of Some Bowling Shoes
Mistakes are common in bowling. One of the most common mistakes that can occur when looking for a strong pair of bowling shoes is thinking there are only going to be benefits. As with any other type of shoe that we have reviewed and written these guides for, no shoe is perfect. Bowling shoes in general are no exception to this.
Here are two of the most obvious drawbacks that come with a new pair of bowling shoes:
- Bowling shoes are notorious for not being extremely durable. This lack of durability is relatively common across the board, and is one of the reason it is recommended that bowling shoes are not worn outside the alley, ever. Shoes can even sometimes break amid a frame. Remember, bowling shoes are built to offer the strongest results while bowling, while also being very lightweight. However, they won’t hold a candle to comparative outdoor or cross-training shoes.
- It should come as no surprise that even the most “stylish” pair of bowling shoes are going to be quite unfashionable. This is something that needs to be kept in mind. As a nice rule of thumb, if your shoes look incredible, they likely aren’t proper bowling shoes, plain and simple. Remember, they are made to be extremely effective in the alley, and not just to look nice on your feet, period.
The Final Frame
It’s not guaranteed that having the right bowling shoes will help you pick up a spare on this particular split, but it sure won’t make it any worse!
Getting the ideal pair of bowling shoes for your individual needs will make a significant difference in the performance you experience in the alley. With a great pair of shoes, you can line up, slide, and launch your ball down the lane without embarrassment or potential for injury. In the end, a good pair of bowling shoes provides a far more balanced and precise game.
We hope that our guide to the best bowling shoes has been helpful. Good luck improving your game in 2024!