The Best Shoes for Bowling at the Alley in 2018 Review

Product Expert supports our readers with thousands of hours of research and reporting to help you find the products for your life and your family. You support us through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about what we do.

That best approach, slide, and release not only requires practice but also the best bowling shoes you can get. Making that spare or bowling a strike depends on how you release the ball, the smooth motion from the approach to release at that is determined by the slide. These are specifically designed to offer you the ability to release the ball smoothly down the lanes. You can always rent a pair of bowling shoes when you hit the lanes, but that is not ideal if you are somebody that is a regular bowler.

You need to get your own pair that is best for your bowling comfort. We review some of the top shoes for bowling on offer, we look at not only style and comfort but also their slide, and whether they are best for left or right handers and how they will improve your game in general.

best overall rating
  • Extra-long slide soles
  • Fully fabric-lined
  • Padded tongue and collar
premium choice rating
  • Full grain, soft leather uppers
  • Interchangeable sole construction
  • Rubber traction soles
great value rating
  • FlexiSlide Technology
  • Microfiber slide pad
  • Universal Sole

Specifically, we look at the soles of the shoe to determine how well it will slide and how durable it is. In our buyers guide we also look at how they are designed and why you have to wear a pair when bowling instead of your regular footwear.

What are the Highest Rated Bowling Shoes for Men and Women?

best overall rating

1. Dexter Jack

Dexter Jack Shoes,

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

When deciding what bowling shoes are best for you, you need to take into consideration the style, support, comfort and slide it will offer you and the Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes are shoes that offer you everything you need to perform on the lanes in style. The upper is soft, yet durable and it offers a lace-to-toe pattern that will fit your foot best offering the best support.

Remembering when you are bowling you are on your feet for long periods, padding and comfort are important. If you have sore feet, you will never bowl the best 300. The fully fabric-lined Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes offer a padded tongue and collar to ensure that your foot rests comfortably and prevents those aching feet that distract you from giving your best.

The most important part of a bowling shoes are its slide, and the Dexter bowling shoes offer extra-long slide soles. The approach and slide are what determine how well the ball will travel down the lane, it allows you to put spin on the ball and make that "spare" or bowl a "strike" ball after ball. The rubber outsole is non-marking so you will not scuff up the approach and allows you to brake you slide before you hit the “foul” line.

Why We Like It

  • Extra-long slide soles
  • Fully fabric-lined
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Rubber outsole is non-marking
  • Soft and comfortable lace-to-toe pattern

Our Verdict

Hitting the lanes for your weekly bowling session in style with these Dexter Jack’s Bowling Shoes is the way to go. They are comfortable with great padding for your feet and offer extra-long slide soles to ensure a great approach and release. That best 300 is never out of reach when bowling in Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. Dexter Men’s SST 8

Dexter-Mens-SST-8

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

The best of the best is what you get with the Dexter Men’s SST 8 Bowling Shoes. They will not only offer you the best comfort, durability as well as the ability to deliver the ball down the lane smoothly with their sole slides.The leather uppers provide you with support as well as looking very stylish. The leather is a full-grain, soft variety that is very durable and will last you a long time.

But it is the soles of these shoes are what makes them the ultimate bowling shoes on the market today. The SST 8 bowling shoes offer you a unique interchangeable sole construction. This means that the slide can be changed depending on if you are a leftie or a right-handed person, coupled with rubber traction soles that are replaceable.

The full rubber sidewall provides even extra protection for the player during their push-off and durability for the sole and sides of the midsole. The drag protector is there to stop the slide sole from peeling back after use and during aggressive play. The sole construction is such that it will work for either left or right handed players as the soles are completely interchangeable.

Why We Like It

  • Full grain, soft leather uppers
  • Interchangeable sole construction
  • Rubber traction soles
  • Full rubber sidewall
  • Drag protector

Our Verdict

One of the best bowling shoes for men from a best 5 shoe brand that specializes is bowling shoes, if you want to improve your performance on the lanes, you need this bowling shoe. Great traction for breaking, interchangeable slide soles on your bowling shoe, and drag protector on the toe of your bowling shoes are just some of their outstanding features.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. Brunswick Men’s Flyer

Brunswick-Mens-Flyer

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are one of those people who hit the lanes occasionally, but enough not to want to have to wear those awful rentals bowling shoes, then you need a pair of shoes that will not cost the earth but will offer you great slide, comfort and a touch of style. The Brunswick Men's Flyer Bowling Shoes will do all of the above for you and help you improve your game too.

Made from a soft durable material with textile lining, padded tongue and collar and non-marking rubber outsole, and featuring Komfort-Fit construction, these bowling shoes are just what you need. The universal sole of these shoes mean that you can use them whether you are left or right-handed, and the roomy fit of the shoe gives your foot the comfort it needs.

The microfiber slide pad is found on both soles and the FlexiSlide Technology allows you to make your best approach and release, sliding effortlessly and stopping before you cross the foul line. Having your own bowling shoes are not out of reach with these great shoes and you can be sure that you will drastically improve your game and enjoy playing when you put on these Brunswick bowling shoes.

Why We Like It

  • FlexiSlide Technology
  • Microfiber slide pad
  • Universal Sole
  • Komfort-Fit construction
  • Padded tongue and collar

Our Verdict

You don’t bowl often enough to want to spend a fortune on bowling shoes, but you bowl enough that the cost of renting shoes is becoming exorbitant. Brunswick Men's Flyer Bowling Shoes is the answer. A bowling shoe that offers not only great slide but also good looks and comfort for a very reasonable price.

Editor Rating

4. BSI Women’s #651

BSI-Womens-651

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you bowl once a week or even more than once or twice a month renting bowling shoes every time can become a very expensive exercise. They are also not the most comfortable and do nothing for your game. The answer is to buy your own pair but you do not want to spend a lot of money on a bowling shoe. The BSI Women's #651 Bowling Shoes are your best bet.

Not only are they durable and comfortable, they will save you money in the long run. These bowling shoes have a sporty leather upper with a padded tongue and collar to keep your feet comfortable during those long three hour or more games. Most importantly they have a great slide which is stitched and glued, so is secure and will not let you down.

A very lightweight shoe with an EVA midsole, it is best for those league nights, and an embossed logo on the side of the shoe is sure to make you and your new pink bowling shoes stand out no matter if you are a novice or a more accomplished bowler.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight EVA midsole
  • Embossed logo
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Sporty leather upper
  • Universal slide

Our Verdict

Enjoy being on the lanes, without the hassle of having to queue for those terrible rented shoes and improve your game at the same time with the BSI Women's #651 Bowling Shoes. These cute, sexy in pink bowling shoes will make you a standout on the lanes. Save money and make an impression while improving your game.

Editor Rating

5. Dexter Men’s Ricky III

Dexter-Mens-Ricky-III

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Another great offering from Dexter a great brand in bowling shoes. This shoe is made from soft and durable material upper with fully lined fabric inner and padded tongue and collar, this is an extremely comfortable shoe to wear when playing your weekly league games.The approach and slide are what make your game and the Dexter Men's Ricky III Bowling Shoes provide a great slide that is found on both the soles of the shoes.

This is important as it can be used for both left and right-handed players without any hassles. Stopping you slide is as important as the slide itself, or you might find yourself having your best strike disallowed. The non-marketing rubber soles offer a defined heel and the ability to stop yourself without crossing the foul line. A very durable shoe that is not only comfortable but very stylish so you will look good on the lanes during those weekly games with the boys.

Why We Like It

  • Soft and durable material upper
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Non-marketing rubber soles
  • Slide soles on both shoes
  • Durable and stylish

Our Verdict

Hitting the lanes once a week for your league games, you need your own shoes. These Dexter Men's Ricky III Bowling Shoes with their soft uppers are durable and comfortable and with great slides on both shoes, these are what you need to impress the boys and improve your game.

Editor Rating

6. Dexter Turbo II Wide Width

Dexter-Turbo-II-Wide

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Yet another great offering from Dexter, the Dexter Turbo II Wide Width Bowling Shoes are best for those of you that struggle with wide feet. These shoes will accommodate a wide width and offer a great comfortable fit with a raised rubber heal and soft durable man-made leather upper. The inner shoe is fabric lined with a padded collar and tongue for maximum comfort. These shoes are best for both left hand and right-hand bowlers as the microfiber S8 slide soles are found on both shoes.

The non-marking rubber outsole will ensure that you do not mark up the approach area, and are able to stop your slide before crossing the foul line and having your “strike” or difficult “spare” disallowed. The Dexter Turbo II Bowling Shoes are not only comfortable and offers great slide and support, it is also a stylish shoe that will look good on those bowling evenings with the boys.

Why We Like It

  • Wide width fit
  • Fabric lined
  • Soft man-made leather upper
  • Padded collar and tongue
  • Microfiber S8 slides on both shoes

Our Verdict

Avoid the hassle of renting a pair of shoes every time you bowl. These Dexter Turbo II Wide Width Bowling Shoes are not only an extremely comfortable shoe offering a wider than normal width, they are also durable and incorporate a microfiber S8 slide sole on both shoes, best for both lefties and right-handed players.

Editor Rating

7. Women’s Dexter Vicky

Dexter-Vicky - WhiteBlue

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Look great on the lanes as you bowl your way to the best 300 in these Dexter Vicky Bowling Shoes for Women. Not only are they super comfortable, durable and stylish, but will also give you the best slide on the approach. Soft and durable uppers coupled with a fully fabric lined inner and padded tongue and collar and a U-Throat upper pattern will ensure that you get the most support for your feet during the game.

Rubber outsoles with a defined horseshoe heel help you to be able to keep your footing and will not mark the surface during the drag. The approach slide and release are the most important part of the game, and these low profile EVA midsole shoes offer the S8 microfiber slide on both shoes making them best for both left and right-handed players.

Why We Like It

  • S8 Microfiber slide on both feet
  • U-Throat upper pattern
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Non-Marking Rubber Outsoles
  • Defined horseshoe heel

Our Verdict

Bowling is a lifestyle and much like any other sport, having the right shoes will make all the difference to your game. The Dexter Vicky Bowling Shoes are not only designed to give you the best slide, great comfort and durability it will allow you to look stylish on the lanes and help you to improve your game.

Editor Rating

8. Dexter Women’s Ana

Dexter-Womens-Ana

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Another great pair of ladies bowling shoes from Dexter that will leave your friends admiring more than your slide. The soft synthetic suede upper and plaid upper graphics of these shoes are eye-catching retro and are available in three different colors. The universal soles with a slide on each of these shoes make them best whether you are a left handed or right handed bowler.

Non-marking rubber outsoles round out the Dexter Ana Bowling Shoes ensuring you do not mark up the approach and giving you great traction when stopping you slide and during your push off and drag. Not only are these shoes are ultra-comfortable but also very durable and well worth the investment.

Renting can add up to quite a few dollars if you are a regular player, and they do nothing to help you lift your game to new heights. You will not regret giving up renting every time you want to play, and investing the Dexter Women's Ana Bowling Shoes which will not only make you look stylish on the lanes but help you bowl that “strike” time after time.

Why We Like It

  • Soft synthetic suede upper
  • Non-marking rubber outsoles
  • Universal soles
  • Available in three different colors

Our Verdict

Another great pair of Dexter bowling shoes for women that will have you bowling at your best and in style. Universal soles make them best for anybody to use and they are available in three great colors to suit anybody’s style. Soft, comfortable and durable, these are great bowling shoes.

Editor Rating

9. Mens Flyer’s

KR-Strikeforce-M-030-110-Flyer

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Comfortable, stylish and very well priced the Men’s Flyer Bowling Shoes are the best alternative to renting when you hit the lanes. Renting a pair of bowling shoes can add up to a lot of money, and the Flyer Bowling Shoes are so well priced it will pay for itself after only a few games with the boys. The Flyer is made by KR Strikeforce and offers you a universal sole. This means that each of the shoes has a slide sole, which makes them best for both left handed and right handed bowlers to enjoy.

With a simple yet stylish design, the Flyer Bowling Shoes will make you look great on the lanes. The soft yet very durable synthetic upper gives your feet comfortable and supported throughout the game. The rubber outsole prevents you from sliding too far when making your delivery. You cannot go wrong with these great value bowling shoe for men.

Why We Like It

  • Universal Sole
  • Synthetic soft uppers
  • Rubber outsole
  • Simple and stylish design

Our Verdict

Buying your own bowling shoes for those regular boys’ nights out does not have to be an expensive exercise. Men’s Flyer Bowling Shoes are not only cheap but also comfortable and with a universal slide, they are best for both lefties and right-handed bowlers to use.

Editor Rating

10. Brunswick TPU X LE

Brunswick-TPU-X-LE

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you are a serious bowler that takes part in competitions and has a regular bowling league, then the Brunswick TPU X LE Bowling Shoes are the shoes for you. They are specifically designed for right-handed players and are sure to give you the edge over your opponents when competitively bowling. The comfortable, flexible and durable full grain leather outsole requires almost no break-in time and both heels and soles are interchangeable. The ortholite 3D insole will allow your foot to breath and offer it superior cushioning.

Biomechanically contouring will provide the ultimate in both performance and comfort as it molds to your foot giving you the ultimate in support and comfort, while the rubber push off sole allows you great traction. The slide is genuine Clarino Microfiber and the fixed TPU toe guard ensures you get a longer life out of your shoe. Additional features include a heel locking system, flexx shoe cover, branded accessory bag and an extra pair of laces for your shoes.

Why We Like It

  • Ortholite 3D insole
  • Heels and soles are interchangeable
  • Genuine Clarino Microfiber slides
  • Fixed TPU toe guard
  • Biomechanically contouring

Our Verdict

Superior and high performance bowling shoes from Brunswick that will give you support, comfort and durability. The slide is best for right-handed players and will definitely improve the way you deliver the ball. Heels and Soles are interchangeable so when they wear out you don't have to replace the whole shoe.

Editor Rating

11. Dexter Vicky

Dexter-Vicky-GreySilverPurple-9

CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Looking stylish on the lanes has never been easier with the Dexter Vicky Bowling Shoes in grey, purple and white. These athletic style bowling shoes look like sneakers but have the great slide soles you require to be able to perform at your best on the approach. These shoes have universal soles are great for both left and right-handers to use and the rubber outsoles are non-marking.

The traction giving on the horseshoe heel are best for you to be able to stop your glide before you cross the "foul" line and have your ball disqualified. The low profile midsole along with the microfiber S8 slide ensure that your approach and release are smooth and you get your ball going where you want it too and not ending up in the gutter.

Why We Like It

  • S8 Microfiber slide on both feet
  • U-Throat upper pattern
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Non-Marking Rubber Outsoles
  • Defined horseshoe heel

Our Verdict

Cute, funky and sure to get you noticed, not only for your great bowling but for your style as well. Dexter makes the finest bowling shoes and you are guaranteed to get the best slide, comfort, and support from these great bowling shoes, allowing you to go for the best 300 score prize.

Editor Rating

Buyers Guide Questions

The Best Shoes when BowlingIf you are a regular bowler, you will understand how important it is to have a pair of performance footwear that are comfortable and provide just the right amount of slide to get you that best delivery. Like many other sports such as golf and tennis, you are required to wear the right kind of shoe in order to participate. The same goes with a bowling. You need the shoe that is specific to the sport and will enable you to play properly.

Now that you have decided that bowling is something you want to do regularly, you need to choose the right footwear. This is a lot easier than many people may think and we will try and give you some pointers as to what styles and types of shoes there are to enable you to make a good choice.

There are three basic types of performance footwear you can opt for. The rental bowling footwear that are provided in every bowling alley. Athletic style footwear, which are great for novice to the seasoned intermediate player and then you get the high-performance bowling footwear.

Rental bowling shoes
These are the performance shoe examples that you will find for rent in all bowling alleys. These are a great choice if you are only going for a night out once or twice a year with your friends. They are not the best shoes in town, and they are often stretched and damaged by the sheer number of times they are used on different feet.

If you are thinking about bowling regularly, as in more than say six times a year, or if you are looking to join a league, then these are not the best option for you. They are quite expensive over a period of time. In fact, you could probably buy yourself a good cheap pair of bowling shoes if you are going to hit the lanes and have to hire shoes more than five times in a year.

Another bonus of having your own shoes, even if you are not somebody who plays every week or even every month, is that the less you use them the longer they will last and you will never have to worry about waiting in line for a pair of those nasty rentals.

Athletic bowling shoes
Now you have decided that going with the rental shoes is not an option for you, you have to decide which shoes will suit you best. The Athletic style bowling shoes are the best shoe from beginner to intermediate bowlers to use. They have the look and fit of a standard sneaker and give you an advantage on your opponents who are using the rentals.

The slide or glide on the soles of these types of shoes are usually universal. This means that they will be suitable for both left and right-handers and they are the type of shoe that somebody who often plays, at least once a week, casual league bowler would go for. These style shoes are both comfortable, offering padded tongues and collars, as well as fabric lining inners that keep your feet cool and dry.

Athletic style performance footwear can vary in price from reasonably cheap to moderately expensive, but as you will be bowling regularly they will save you money in the long run. They will also suit the part-time bowler as they do not require that you change the way you approach you release, but will give you a lot more control as opposed to rentals that often have a poor fit and poor quality to them.

Performance bowling shoes
The bowler who goes for these types of shoes are those that regularly participate in tournaments and bowl at many different alleys. They often bowl more than once a week and need a pair or bowling shoes that are designed for their specific needs in regards push-offs, slides and breaking. These shoes are highly adaptable and can be customized to suit your particular approach style.

They do not have universal soles but are designed specifically for either the left or right-handed player. That means the braking shoe, or the dominant foot (right foot if right handed) will have traction on it and the sliding shoe (left shoe if right-handed), will have the slide sole. Having a braking shoe that offers you a traction sole is important as it will help you to be stable on your feet as you deliver your ball.

These types of shoes often have interchangeable soles, this means that you can adjust your slide plate to suit your approach style, or the surface that you may be bowling on. So the bottom line is if you are a once in a while bowler who only hits the lanes once or twice a year, you can make do with the rental shoes that are available at the bowling alley.

If however you have decided to join a league and are going to be bowling regularly, on a weekly basis, then you should get yourself an athletic style bowling shoe as it will not only save you money but will also help you to improve your game. Finally, if you are somebody that bowls more than once a week, is entered into more than one league and regularly participates in tournaments in various different bowling alleys, then you need to consider making the investment into a pair of performance footwear.

What are Bowling Shoes?

A bowling shoes are specifically designed to be used when ten pin bowling. They are designed to be able to slide along the approach section of the lanes and allow you to release the ball in one flowing action. Nobody really knows when and where bowling shoes were invented, however the first leather bowling shoes with a slide, was introduced to the United States around 1888. Many people will ask why use this particular footwear when bowling, and not a regular pair of footwear.

A lot of people who do not play very often resent having to rent specific shoes to bowl with, when they feel that they can use their sneakers just as well. The main difference between a regular pair of shoes and bowling shoes are the sole of the footwear. Bowling shoes have a slide that is attached to the sole. This is to allow the player to approach the lanes and slide into their release.

This is of major importance if you are going to be able to deliver the ball smoothly and allow it to run true down the lane towards the pins. Wearing sneakers or shoes with traction and no ability to slide, can also prove a danger to you, as you are liable to trip and fall when making your delivery. This is one of the main reasons for insisting on bowling shoes when bowling. Another reason that bowling alleys insist on you wearing performance footwear is for the protection of their approach area.

This is an area of smoothly polished wood that is designed to accommodate the bowler as they slide towards the lanes and release the ball. If they allowed people to use their regular footwear, these approach areas would get damaged but the soles of their shoes and ruin it for the rest of the more serious bowlers. Some footwear pieces have slides on both of the soles,

However, there are those that are specifically designed for either left or right handed players, that only have a slide on one sole and a non-marking rubber sole on the other.If you are a left-handed player, the right shoe will have the slide and vice versa. Another important aspect of any bowling shoes are the traction it offers on the outsoles to allow the bowler to stop their slide, as well as well protected toe pads for the drag that happens with the non-sliding foot.

When you bowl you may not cross over the “foul” or release line, although you may release the ball earlier than that line, if you do cross this line after your release, your ball will be disqualified. Therefore being able to stop yourself properly and being able to stay on your feet at all times is imperative and this is where the traction and outsole come into play.

The comfort and fit of a bowling shoe is also a defining factor. The footwear cannot be too large as you will not be able to get the best glide or slide when bowling. When you bowl for long periods you need to be comfortable, so padding and comfort are of major importance when it comes to performance footwear. Men’s and women’s shoes are not so different in many ways, apart from style and sizing.

How Should Bowling Shoes Fit?

How Should Bowling Footwear Fit?The fit and comfort in a bowling shoe, next to the slide, is the most important aspect of your shoe. When you are bowling, you are going to be standing for long periods of time, a game can take three or more hours depending on the number of people per team. So you need to make sure that you comfort levels are high in the shoe you chose, and then of course that the slide is not only slippery but also that it is located in the right place depending on whether you are a left or right-handed bowler.

Bowling shoes need to provide you with support for your feet and heels when bowling. They are often made from a soft flexible leather or synthetic leather material, that is both durable and will offer you the support you need when bowling. Bowling the best ball is not all about the wrist action, it is about the approach and slide and this is all up to your footwear.

A bowling shoe will take a lot of pressure, especially in the toe area when you are sliding or breaking, so you need to a great fit in order to ensure that your feet do not slide inside your shoe. You also need your feet to have some room and the shoe must be breathable or you will find yourself overheating.

There is no real difference between a men’s and ladies pair of bowling shoes except in style and size. It is important that you chose the right size as a men’s size 7 and a ladies size 7 will not fit the same, men generally have wider feet that ladies and this can make a big difference when you are sliding as the shoe will not be secure on your foot.

Where do you buy Bowling Shoes From?

You can buy your footwear at almost any sporting goods store. You can also get bowling shoes from Sears, K-mart and the like. These places, however, will usually only sell the shoes that are in the lower price brackets and they will not usually stock the professional, or high-performance footwear. Performance shoes you will be able to get at specialized sporting stores, the manufacturers themselves as well as online.

Most people will do their shopping online for their bowling shoes at sites such as eBay and Amazon. Amazon offers a wide range of bowling shoes, from the athletic style shoe that is best for the beginner to the intermediary, to the more performance style shoe such as the Dexter SST 8.

Depending on the style and performance you want you will need to decide where you want to purchase your shoes from, bearing in mind that when you do buy online you cannot try them on to check out the fit, although often you will get better prices at Amazon than at your sporting goods store.

A good way to get around this problem when you want to purchase online is to go and try on the shoe you are looking to buy at a store, make sure you know what size you need for the best fit and then place your order at Amazon to get the better pricing for your footwear.

Who Makes the Top Shoes for Bowling?

Who makes the top footwear for Bowling?This is a very debatable question and will depend on who you speak too. There are quite a few manufacturers out there but of all of them, you can count on Dexter shoes and Brunswick shoes to provide the goods for you. Dexter shoes have been in the game for a long time and owns the lion’s share of the market when it comes to bowling shoes. Both Brunswick shoes and Dexter shoes manufacture both the athletic style shoe which is in the more reasonably priced range, to the professional type shoe that is a little more on the expensive side.

They also manufacture shoes for men, women, and children and are by far the best two on the market. Apart from these two best brands, there are a few on the market that offer great value for money in bowling shoes, specifically suited to the part-time bowler that does not want to spend too much money on their footwear. There are also custom-made shoes by various brands that are meant for the pro’s to use.

If you are looking for the best line, high-performance shoe then you need to look at a Dexter or Brunswick shoe, some of which we have reviewed for you here. They are stylish and designed to be customized with interchangeable soles, great slides, great traction and superb support and comfort. These shoes offer you total control and the best slide you will get on the market for both men and women. Most of these shoes are not universal in nature.

They are designed to accommodate only left or right handed bowlers and their slides and traction soles. Some like the SST 8 do have interchangeable soles so you can use them either way, however, most will not. Another thing to remember when purchasing the best performance shoe is whether it gives you the option of adjusting the slide and traction depending on what surface you are playing on and what your unique approach is like.

There are some on the market that cater for this such as the TPU X LE Bowling Shoes, Right Handed. No matter what brand of bowling shoe you chose, you will find them a lot more comfortable and with better fit, slide, and control than you will get from any of the rented shoes you get at the bowling alleys.

Are Bowling Shoes Required?

Many people will say that bowling alleys are just out to get your money and that is why they insist on you renting out special bowling shoes when going out for a night of bowling. This is simply not true. The fact is, in order for you to enjoy the game properly and for them to protect their bowling area, you have to wear specialized shoes. Think of it this way, a golfer cannot play unless they have the correct golf shoes, a tennis player the same and a squash or hockey player the same.

So why should bowling be any different? Owning a pair of good bowling shoes can make all the difference in your approach and delivery and can make the difference in bowling a “strike” or having a “gutter ball”, it also allows you to aim the ball better so picking up those “spares” is also a lot easier for you.So what makes these shoes so important when hitting the lanes?

There are a number of different aspects that distinguish a bowling shoe from a regular shoe and we will have a look at them here. All of these aspects are important reasons for using proper bowling shoes when playing.

Is a Bowling Shoe RequiredSole (Traction and Slide)
The sole of the bowling shoe is markedly different from your normal sneaker. You sneaker or even any other shoe has traction on both soles, this is to prevent you from slipping or sliding when walking or running. Bowling shoes are the opposite. They have special slide plates on the soles to enable you to slide as you deliver the ball. Most of the athletic style bowling shoes are made with universal slide soles. This simply means that they will have a slide on both soles, in order to accommodate both left and right-handed players.

All of your rental shoes will also have slides on both soles, as keeping the required number of left or right handed shoes is an impossibility considering a number of people they cater for. The performance shoes, however, will have a slide sole on the sliding foot (the left if you are right-handed) and a braking sole with traction on the opposite foot. These shoes can be customized giving you the ability to adjust the slide depending on conditions you are bowling in, as well as your own unique approach style.

These are the more expensive types of shoes and are recommended for people who bowl in tournaments and more than once a week. Traction on your sole is as important as the slide sole on your bowling shoes. The reason for this is you are not allowed to overstep the “foul” line or your ball will be disallowed and your “strike” will not be counted.

Being able to stop your slide and remain stable on your feet is of paramount importance as you don’t want to end up following your ball down the lane. The traction on your shoes sole should also be non-marking so that you do not scuff up or damage the approach of the lanes. Some shoes have removable traction soles so that when they wear out after a while, you can replace them without having to replace the entire shoe.

Safety
Using a pair of bowling shoes is important for your safety and that of the bowling alley as well – click to read the typical guidelines and rules. If you wear shoes that do not have the slide sole, you may end up face down when trying to deliver your ball down the lane. More importantly, wearing these types of shoes is vital to maintaining the approach of the bowling alley.  The approach is the section of the bowling alley that you use when you are walking up to the fault line to deliver your ball.

It is a smooth, well-polished area and keeping this area clean is paramount to being able to bowl properly. Bowling alley owners would have great difficulty maintaining the approach if they did not insist on you using their rented shoes instead of your own sneakers or shoes when bowling.  Any debris carried in could jeopardize the integrity of the approach area, especially things such as chewing gum and mud that you could track in from outside.

This is also why you should never leave the bowling area with your bowling shoes on, even if you are just stepping away to go to the toilet.  Most people who own bowling shoes will have shoe covers that they put on to protect the sole, not only the sliding plate but also to stop any debris from attaching itself when they leave the bowling area.

Having a scuffed, damaged approach or one with a lot of debris and other gunk on it could lead to you falling and following your ball down the lane.  This could lead to serious injury. Ensuring that you are not wearing any shoes that may have debris on their bottoms is one way to make sure you don’t transfer it to the floor of the approach.

Outsole
The outsole of your bowling shoes are also important for support and to help with braking. Often the outsole is rubber and it should also be non-marking so that it does not damage or scuff the approach of the alley.

Comfort
This is a very important aspect of your shoe. Bowling games can take longer than three hours to complete, depending on the number of players. If you are participating in tournaments and leagues you can be on your feet for many hours and have sore feet is not conducive to great bowling that is why having very comfortable shoes are a prerequisite. Padded collars and tongues, fabric linings, toe protectors and more all help to ensure that you get great comfort and support from your shoe. If you are playing for that long, you may even want to invest in a foot massager – click here for the top choices!

Accessories
Many bowling shoes offer you accessories such as shoe covers for when you need to leave the bowling area. It is important that you do not wear your bowling shoes in areas other than the approach area of the bowling alley. The reasons for this is to avoid damage to your slide as well as to avoid you picking up any debris and transferring it to the approach area and causing an accident.

Many shoes will also offer shoe covers for you to store your shoes in, this is to keep them cool and to keep your shoes dry, both very important things in order to preserve the slide and traction soles on your shoes. As you can see there are many and varied reasons for wearing bowling shoes when bowling.

Whether you are an occasional bowler or not it is an important aspect of the game both from the point of view of the bowling alley owner and the bowler. So no matter if you wear your own bowling shoes or rented shoes, you need to be wearing them when you step onto the approach and start your game.

Conclusion

Owning your own bowling shoes, especially if you are intending to bowl more than only a few times a year, will not only save you money but will also help you to improve your game. If you are a regular bowler that likes to participate in tournaments and leagues then you need your own customizable, comfortable shoe to get the most out of your game. Renting bowling shoes can be very expensive and they do nothing for your performance on the lanes, so investing in a pair of shoes, even if you are only a part-time bowler makes a lot of sense.

Choosing the right shoe for you is important. You need shoes that will give you not only a great slide and braking action but also offer comfort and support to your foot. You also need to ensure that you either get a universal sole or if you are going to for a custom made shoe, to choose the one that caters for your handedness, or you could find yourself with an expensive pair of bowling shoes you can’t use.

Dexter Jack Shoes,

Top Pick

It should come as no surprise that we have chosen a Dexter bowling shoe as our top choice in our list of the greatest sneakers for the bowling alley on the market for 2018. The Dexter Jack Bowling Shoe is everything you will ever need in an athletic style bowing shoe. The Dexter Jack offers you an extra-long slide on both soles, so it is best for either right or left handed players and the style will suit any player from beginners to intermediate level.

The comfort of the shoe is as important as the slide, if you are not comfortable you will not be able to concentrate on your delivery and bowling sessions can last up to three or more hours depending on the number of players. The upper of the Dexter Jack is soft and it has a lace-to-shoe pattern to ensure a good fit and offer you the best support.

It also has a fully lined inner with a padded tongue and collar which will keep your foot snug and safe. The rubber outsole of the Dexter Jack is non-marking so it will not scuff up the approach, it also offers you great traction which is necessary for breaking before you reach the “foul” line.

Dexter-Mens-SST-8

Premium Choice

You are the type of bowler that participates in tournaments and plays more than once a week and you need a shoe that is suited to your style of approach and can is adjustable to playing conditions, then our premium choice, the Dexter Man’s SST 8 Bowling Shoe is the one you are looking for. These are performance bowling shoes and their features show it clearly, from the leather upper to the traction and slide soles. This unique bowling shoe offers you an interchangeable sole construction, so it can be converted from a left to a right-handed shoe.

The traction sole will enable you to brake efficiently so you are never in danger for bowling a foul ball, and they are removable and replaceable. The SST 8 offers a rubber sidewall that provides protection during push-off and durability for both the soles and the sides of the midsole. There is a drag protector to stop the slid sole from peeling back during aggressive play. As for styling, you will not get better than the SST 8.

Soft leather upper not only looks very stylish but also offer superb support for your feet and heels. It is also very durable and easy to clean, along with the removable soles, you can be sure that the Dexter SST 8 will last you a good long time before you need to replace them. Dexter has not disappointed with the Dexter SST 8 and any serious bowler would do well to consider investing in these great quality, high-performance bowling shoes.

Brunswick-Mens-Flyer

Great Value

Brunswick is another great manufacturer of bowling shoes and they have not disappointed with the Men’s Flyer. This great athletic style shoe is packed with features to help improve your game and it is one of the more reasonably priced on the market, making it our great value choice bowling shoe. These athletic styled all black shoes are best for the bowler who hits the lanes once a week for league play or likes to play casually more than a few times a year.

They are very well priced and will save you money in the long run on rentals, as well as give you greater control over your game and help you to improve. Stylish and comfortable, they offer slides on both soles, best for both lefties and righties to play in.  With durable material uppers that allow your feet to breath, along with textile lining and padded tongue and collar,

the Komfort-Fit construction of the shoes will not leave you sore foot at the end of your game. It offers a very roomy fit so it will handle a little wider foot easily. FlexiSlide technology ensures that your approach and delivery are as good as you can give and the traction allows you to brake in time to prevent you crossing the “foul” line.