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The Best

Bowling Shoes – Up Your Game with the Best Bowling Shoes

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 perfect pair of bowling shoes for most effective play.

Obtaining the perfect pair of bowling shoes for your specific needs is going to make quite a bit 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.

Well, Alley Cats, we are here to assist. To help you find the perfect pair for your needs, we have developed the below recommendations and in-depth buyer’s guide for the best bowling shoes. With our detailed research and trials, we have discovered which pairs work best, and which ones fall flat.

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 on 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 2020 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 really professional-level bowling shoes.  That may be for you, and it may not.  They definitely cost a bit more, so if you're just looking for an alternative to the rental pathogen incubators (and in 2020, who isn't?) there are definitely some more affordable options as you move down the list.

Second, we're not sure why, but the high-end Dexter shoes seem to attract the counterfeiters on Amazon.  We went ahead and linked out to Dick's instead (they are an authorized Dexter retailer).  Do whatever you like though, if the price on Amazon is better, who are we to stop you?

Our hope is 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.

Here are the Best Bowling Shoes you can buy:

The Best Bowling Shoes - Detailed Reviews

1. Dexter T.H.E. 9 - Best Overall

Profile view of the Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoe for Women and Men

Are you looking for the bar-none best overall men’s bowling shoe on the market today? A shoe that will adapt to your ever-improving level of bowling skill? If so, look no further than the absolute shoe juggernaut that is the Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoe. These high-performance shoes were designed to assist in the execution of more expert-honed moves when on the approach in the lanes.

There are plenty of incredible features available with the Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoe. However, they are developed with the mindset of intermediate to advanced level bowlers, and the features are set to such. Some of its most unique features available that aren’t common with comparative shoes are “hyperflex” channels as well as a reinforced toe-hold. Features such as this lead to the T.H.E. naming of this shoe, which stands for Toe-hold Hyperflex Engineering.

If you’re curious of the features you are going to get with the Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoes, you aren’t alone. However, their high-value innovations promise a long-lasting, durable, sustainable bowling shoe with an impressive lifespan.

These shoes do not come with interchangeable soles, which Dexter has noted can create a weak point in higher-priced bowling shoes. Their unique engineering processes were developed to address these issues.

Pros

  • These shoes come in a variety of different color options, allowing wearers to express their individuality and style with these shoes.
  • The Dexter T.H.E. 9 Bowling Shoe was manufactured with durability in mind. The features we mentioned above are innovative, creating a sturdy, tough pair of bowling shoes.
  • These shoes can be customized based on the techniques and skills of those wearing the shoes. They feature patented symmetry throughout the outsole, letting you skip the common process of trimming sole pads when placed.
  • By far, these shoes are some of the most comfortable bowling shoes on the market. They are made with breathable, soft leather, keeping you from worrying about foot pain when bowling.

Cons

  • Don’t expect this to be a cheap pair of shoes. Instead, they are the most expensive bowling shoes that are on our list. However, for a high-performance, professional-level bowling shoe, this should come as no surprise.

2. Dexter SST 8 - Runner Up

The SST 8 Bowling Shoe by Dexter for both Men and Women

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 the wearer with exceptional breathability and ventilation. This allows you to play comfortably, without having to worry about slipping around with sweaty feet.

The sole of the Dexter SST 8 bowling shoe 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. This can lead to issues providing the power needed to get the ball down the lane faster and more effectively.

The shoe’s inside is one of its strongest features. The Dexter SST 8 comes with a padded collar, providing extensive comfort for the wearer. However, the comfort doesn’t stop with the collar, as the insole is also designed for the highest possible levels of comfort while bowling.

EVA midsoles are utilized to assist the sole with molding to the foot shape. This also reduces break-in time that you might experience with competing bowling shoes. To be honest, one of the only downsides we found with these shoes after extensive research was that they are very far on the expensive end of the spectrum compared to alternatives.

Pros

  • An EVA midsole is included with these shoes, which adds to durability, stability and comfort levels.
  • The Dexter SST 8 bowling shoe provided the best ventilation of any of the shoes we tested and researched.
  • With extensive comfort levels, there is no break-in period that should be expected with these shoes, minimizing pain and discomfort at the start.

Cons

  • These are some of the most expensive shoes that are on our list of the best bowling shoes.

3. Pyramid HPX - Best for Dexter Haters

Pyramid High Performance Mens Bowling Shoe

Men's

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, strong slide, and great braking power, in addition to total control of your fluidity and movements when on the alley.

Pros

  • The Pyramid HPX High Performance comes with interchangeable heels and soles, allowing the user to customize their bowling shoe to adhere to their own unique playing style and comfort level.
  • These shoes are also 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.
  • For a performance bowling shoe, the HPX is quite affordable. As it also comes with the level of quality expected from bowling mainstay brand Pyramid, so you can be sure that it’s pretty much a steal.

Cons

  • The sizing of these shoes has been known to be a bit tricky. Thus, it is important to keep a good eye on the relevant measurements if you plan to make an online purchase.
  • It is important to also note that these are not ambidextrous shoes, instead coming in Right-handed, Right-handed wide, and Left-handed models.

4. Brunswick Vapor - Best for Men on a Budget

White Bowling Shoe - The Vapor by Brunswick

Men's

The Brunswick Vapor Men’s Bowling Shoe is a stellar choice for those bowlers who may be newer to the scene and unsure as to what shoe is the right fit for their unique playing style. With a professional-looking design, it lets you push past the newbie stage into the ranks of more high-level bowlers.

However, despite the professional, minimalist, and stylish appearance, these shoes are also quite comfortable and stable. They are the perfect option for beginner bowlers, mainly due to a universal sole option. For that reason, if you’re not looking to shell out major coin for a pair of pro-level slide machines, the Vapor from Brunswick is a solid best bowling shoe option that will check all the boxes you are wanting.

Aside from an appealing overall design, it should be noted that the construction and materials are far above what should be expected at the price point these bowling shoes fall at. It also comes packed with additional features, including an ultra-light EVA outsole, padded collar and tongue, and cushioned interiors, built to keep your feet comfortable.

If the low price gives you concerns about overall performance, there is no need to fear. Brunswick’s patented Pre Slide soles are built from microfiber, promising to provide a stellar job to make your desired movements and slides far simpler to achieve as you improve your bowling skill and find your rhythm.

Pros

  • These shoes look quite stylish for entry level bowling shoes. If you like the look of many sophisticated bowling shoes worn by professionals, you’ll be keen on these.
  • The Brunswick Men’s Vapor is one of the most affordable bowling shoe options on our list of the best bowling shoes. Despite this, knowing that the shoes are made by industry steadfast member Brunswick, there is no need to be concerned about quality.
  • These are some of the most lightweight bowling shoes on the market today, perfect for those starting out and spending a lot of time in the lanes honing their craft.

Cons

  • With a lower price point, it can be expected that the quality of materials is not going to hold a candle to some of the more expensive, higher-level bowling shoes.
  • As expected with Brunswick, the fit can be a little bit tricky from shoe to shoe. There are some who claim them to be a bit too narrow, and others who say they are a little wider than anticipated.

5. Dexter Vicky - Best for Women on a Budget

Womens Bowling Shoes - The Vicky by Dexter Bowling

Women's

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. 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.

Pros

  • These bowling shoes, while stylish, are also ambidextrous, working wonderfully for both left-handed and right-handed bowlers.
  • Rubberized outsoles provide extensive protection and support for the midsole and sole, and are impressively non-marking, assisting the approach with a nice, clean run.
  • Padded tongues and collars, microfiber slide soles, a U-throat upper, and a horseshoe heel work together to make these some of the most comfortable bowling shoes for women on the market today.

Cons

  • While these shoes are durable, stylish, supportive, and comfortable, they come at a higher price than some might expect with even a good pair of bowling shoes.

6. Dexter Turbo II - Best for Wide Feet

The Turbo 2 Bowling shoe for wide feet

Men's

The Dexter Turbo II bowling shoe is gold standard for bowling shoes for men. It follows the same trend as many comparative models that are on our list. With synthetic materials, rubber soles, and a low-profile design feature, these are a standard “little bit of everything” bowling shoe option.

One thing that sets them apart from comparable models, though, is that they are “ambidextrous”. They work fine for both right-handed and left-handed bowlers, letting you comfortably bowl without the need to adjust styles or methods of getting the ball down the lane to the pins.

The heel of these shoes is a bit raised. While this isn’t ideal for some players (especially taller ones), shorter players may get an advantage upon ball delivery. However, these taller players might be a bit uncomfortable upon ball delivery. Yet, with the added heel, the Dexter Men’s Turbo II Bowling Shoe has impressive sliding option. This allows you to have a strong game, round after round, frame after frame.

One of the most liked features of the Dexter Turbo II (outside of the modern style) is its inner padding. The padding has been amped up along the back of the shoe, as well as the tongue. This impressively thick padding, while breathable, helps to avoid potential rubbing and abrasions that can occur with prolonged use.

However, these shoes do have a few downsides that we would be remiss not to note. One of the most common downsides that is noted is that the fit is wider. As a result, those who are shorter or smaller, with narrower or longer feet, may find these shoes to be a bit loose.

But, when checking the price point, it is somewhat simple to leave this potential downside on the backburner, because, while being remarkably stylish for a bowling shoe, they are also some of the more affordable options that made it to our list.

These bowling shoes are a wonderful investment to beginner and intermediate level bowlers. As a result, we would recommend them as strong bowling shoes for any men who are looking to improve their game.

Pros

  • These shoes are great for continued development and improvement of newer to intermediate level bowlers.
  • The Dexter Turbo II is resistant to abrasion both inside (rubbing on the feet) and outside (scuffs and marks on the shoes).
  • These bowling shoes are some of the most affordable options on our list of the best bowling shoes.
  • The design of the Dexter Turbo II is stylish, modern and timeless, which is not something often found in bowling shoes.

Cons

  • Many have found the fit to be quite a bit wide, even though they are not considered a “wider” bowling shoe.

7. Dexter Jenna II - Best Beginner Shoe for Women

The best womens bowling shoe for beginners - The Jenna 2 by Dexter

Men's

Dexter’s Women’s Jenna II is an impressively unique bowling shoe offering. They have a knit fabric upper, offering a breathable and lightweight alternative to comparable thin leather options. It also provides the comfort needed to bowl frame after frame after frame.

However, the draw to the Jenna II goes far beyond simple support and comfort. These bowling shoes also come with high-performance technologies build right into the rubber sole, helping to provide an impressive amount of slide for even the most beginner of bowlers.

Overall, the Dexter Women’s Jenna II provides a beautiful blend of bowling technology and high levels of comfort, mixing to create a wonderful, adaptable, and comfortable bowling shoe.

Pros

  • These shoes com with a lightweight and breathable knit upper, far more adaptable than leather competitors.
  • With a U-Throat patterned upper, a fabric-lined collar and tongue, and a “hot melt” toe feature, these shoes are all about comfort and support.
  • A defined rubber horseshoe-style heel and an EVA outsole ensure that these shoes will be in top notch working condition for years.

Cons

  • The price for these shoes can be a little high for what you get.
  • Dexter’s Jenna I ran a bit larger than sized, a trend that seems to have continued with the Jenna II.

8. Dexter ProAm II - Best Beginner shoe for Men

The Dexter Mens ProAm 2 Bowling Shoe

Men's

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 an 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 are 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.

Pros

  • These shoes come with a very comfortable inner collar, perfect for longer games.
  • With one of the best slide options of any shoe we tested, we were impressed with how they glided across the lanes.
  • For the price, these are dollar-per-dollar some of the most affordable, high-quality bowling shoes on our list.
  • The fit doesn’t seem to range too large or too small.

Cons

  • We noticed a bit of durability lacking in the outsole. It started to wear away towards the back of the outsole over time, faster than we expected.
  • The additional sole is nice, however can end up leading to additional breakdown over the life of the shoe.

9. KR StrikeForce Flyer - Best for Having Kid's Sizes

The KR StrikeForce Flyer Bowling Shoe

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.

Pros

  • With FlexiSlide technology, these bowling shoes offer 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.
  • The StrikeForce Men’s Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes are some of 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-landed and right-handed bowlers.

Cons

  • While these shoes are incredibly affordable and well-constructed, the durability leaves a bit to be desired.
  • The StrikeForce Men’s Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes lack an interchangeable sole common with comparable bowling shoes.

10. 3G Tour Ultra - Best for Having a Cult Following

The Professionals Choice - the 3G Ultra Tour Bowling Shoe

Men's

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.

Pros

  • These shoes include four soles that are easily interchangeable, made from back skin, deer skin, cleats, and chrome leather.
  • The 3G Tour Ultra Bowling Shoes also 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, these bowling shoes are sure to last frame after frame for several years.

Cons

  • Some may be uncomfortable wearing shoes made from kangaroo leather compared to synthetic alternatives.
  • The price point for these is likely going to be higher than you might expect when looking for a pair of bowling shoes, especially for those new to the sport.

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

View of bowler rolling a strike

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.

Strong Ventilation

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

Bowling's dreaded 7-10 Split

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. The above recommendations don’t come lightly. A ton of research, testing and reading went into our decisions on what shoes made the cut and what shoes didn’t.

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