Bowling is one of America’s number one recreational sports. The roots of bowling can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt and many different versions of “pin” games have existed since that time, but the popular version we play today became popular in the early
Bowling is a popular sport because while there are different skill levels, the game itself is fairly straightforward you simply throw a ball down the alley and try to know over as many pins as possible.
Bowling is fun to participate and to watch as the skill level of pro bowlers is amazing, yet even the youngest child can also enjoy a game of bowling.
What Are Bowling Shoes?
So what exactly are bowling shoes and why do you have to wear them?
Bowling shoes are specifically made to help maintain the proper balance and form while rolling the bowling ball down the lane, as well as to protect the wooden floor of the alley.
Regular shoes are designed to grip and help the individual wearing them maintain traction on the slippery surface to help prevent sliding and falling, while bowling shoes are designed to slide as this helps enhances the ability to the wearer to properly roll the ball down the alley.
It’s not surprising that bowling would have their own shoes as most sports do; they are used to enhance the wearer’s ability to perform.
Rent vs. Purchase
Bowling alleys will provide you with all the essentials you need to participate including ball and shoes, for a price of course. These shoes are often not very appealing and have been worn by numerous people over the years, yuck! Many individuals prefer to purchase their own bowling shoes and below are some reasons why:
- Safety– One of the main reasons individuals choose to purchase their own bowling shoes is for safety. As the bowler approaches the lane they will glide to enhance the motion of the ball and since right and left-handed bowlers approach is different not having the proper shoe(s) can cause them to lose balance and potentially injure themselves.
- Health- Although bowling alleys do their best to clean their rental shoes they still harbor potentially harmful microorganisms that include bacteria, fungus, and viruses. In addition, it can often be difficult to find a pair of rental shoes that fit properly so the wearer may end up causing damage to their feet due to the improper fit that can include bruises, blisters, and cuts.
- Style– Let’s face it rental bowling shoes don’t look very good, they are a mesh of different colors and are just not appealing to most people. If you buy your own bowling shoes not only can you find the best fit to enhance your game, you can find the right style to enhance the “look” of your game. Bowling shoes are available in a variety of styles and materials and some do not even resemble bowling shoes.
- Prestige- Some individuals enjoy the prestige that comes with owning your own equipment. Walking into a bowling alley with your own bowling bag with your personal equipment including your own bowling shoes can help to boost the confidence of some bowlers and therefore enhance their game as well.
What To Look For When Purchasing Bowling Shoes
While bowling shoes come in a variety of styles and materials and can range in price from $25 to $250 you do not have to purchase the most expensive shoe to help improve your game. Bowling shoes are different from regular shoes as they are only meant to be worn while bowling and provide a nice fluid motion while approaching the lane.
Bowling shoes provide stability while also allowing the bowler to slide and maximize the amount of energy transferred to the ball and providing the most force to knock down the pins. When selecting the proper bowling shoe it is important to look for the following features:
- Fit- As with any shoe getting the proper fit is essential when purchasing bowling shoes. If the shoe is too small or too big you can damage your feet and potentially lose your balance and fall and get injured. It is also important to purchase the right bowling shoes for which arm you are dominant. While some bowling shoes can be used by either right or left-handers, others are made specifically for which dominant arm you use while bowling. The bowling shoe worn on your dominant side is the brake shoe and the opposite is sliding shoe, this provides the proper balance and throwing motion for the bowler.
- Style– Bowling shoes come in a variety of styles from the traditional look of a rental shoe to a more athletic-style that does not even resemble a bowling shoe. This is a matter of personal preference and style.
- Purpose– Recreational bowlers and professional bowlers may require different types of bowling shoes. Recreational bowlers will be looking for shoes that provide the right amount of comfort and support while professional bowlers will need performance shoes that are customizable depending on where they are bowling. Performance bowling shoes provide the ability to change the heels and soles of the shoe which is important for professional bowlers who travel as not all bowling lanes are the same.
Best Bowling Shoes For The money
The bowling shoes above had the best ratings in their price range and customer ratings are summarized below (click on the name for more information on each product):
- Storm– Customers gave this shoe high ratings because it not only was comfortable and provided the perfect fit, they also resemble regular shoes and they found this aesthetically pleasing. This shoe is also lightweight and comes in three colors making it a great choice for recreational bowlers and the price point is also a plus.
- Elite– Customers gave this shoe high ratings because it is not only comfortable and provides strong support; it is also backed by a 2-year warranty ensuring that you are getting the most out of your investment.
- Dexter Jack– This shoe is popular because with its padded collar and tongue as well as multiple sizes including wide width because it provides a comfortable and custom fit. Customers also really liked the style and look of the shoe.
- Dexter Kory– This shoe received the highest rating because of its superior comfort and style. Customers were impressed by how great the fit was right out of the box. While they are a men’s shoe many women liked the style and fit like women’s bowling shoes can often be too narrow and uncomfortable so these shoes are great and are not too masculine looking. These lightweight canvas shoes are a great investment.
You don’t have to be a professional bowler to own a great pair of bowling shoes. Owning your own pair of bowling shoes provides you with the style, comfort, and safety you need when bowling.
Owning your own bowling shoes ensures that you will not be exposed to microorganisms lurking in rented bowling shoes as well as help to prevent any injuries that may occur due to ill-fitting shoes. With prices as low as $36 you don’t have to break the bank to own your own shoes. Go out buy your own bowling shoes and head to the lanes for fun.
Next Steps and Where to Purchase Equipment
When you’re ready to make the leap, you can read these articles to learn what bowling equipment we recommend for every different kind of player and choose what suits you better. We try to review the best bowling equipment in the market every few weeks to keep up-to-date with the current trends.