What Are Bowling Shoes For?

Bowling is an affordable and popular activity worldwide that you can do with your family and friends. If you’ve gone bowling before, you’re probably pretty familiar with the workers there providing you with bowling shoes, and you might be wondering why and what are bowling shoes for exactly?

Bowling shoes are a requirement at most bowling alleys. They help in protecting you and allowing you to perform well when bowling. 

With their sleek design, bowling shoes allow you to glide across the lanes more smoothly and prevent you from getting stuck or stopping suddenly. Plus, bowling shoes help in protecting the lanes from getting dirty. 

What Are Bowling Shoes For?

Do You Actually Need Bowling Shoes?

While you may not think much about them, bowling shoes are a pretty darn important accessory when visiting a bowling alley. These shoes will help you be a better bowler while also providing protection to you, your companions, and the lanes. 

Are Bowling Shoes Required to Play Bowling?

Bowling shoes are made with smoothness in mind. This helps to ensure that bowlers can slide along the floor and to the lane without getting stuck. Normal shoes do not have the sleek design that bowling shoes do and may result in your feet sticking, which can cause injuries to your ankles or feet.

Read more on the topic here: Are Bowling Shoes Required to Play Bowling? 

Difference Between Bowling Shoes and Regular Shoes

There are several differences when it comes to comparing bowling shoes and regular sneakers. The main difference between these two shoe types resides in the sole. 

The soles of bowling shoes are placed on both sides to assist both right-handed and left-handed bowlers. These soles are referred to as “sliding soles” as they help bowlers to slide more proficiently. 

The soles are generally softer than normal and are made without heels, meaning they are less prone to accidental slips. 

What Happens if You Don’t Wear Bowling Shoes?

By ignoring protocol and the usual rules of wearing bowling shoes, you risk muddying up the lanes, which can cause them to become less slick, thus affecting your game. 

Wearing regular dirty sneakers to bowl in can also create excessive filthy conditions that the workers will have to spend additional time cleaning up. 

This dirt and debris can also permanently damage the lanes by leaving scratches and marks behind that can be difficult to repair. 

Do You Have to Rent Bowling Shoes? 

Renting bowling shoes is not your only option. Suppose you don’t feel comfortable sharing bowling shoes with other bowlers or just want to have your own pair for whatever reason. In that case, you can absolutely buy your own and bring them with you on your bowling adventures.

This will give you more comfort and save you some money in the long run since you’ll no longer have to spend a few dollars per visit on rental shoes. 

In addition to the above benefits, there are also many different colors and styles of bowling shoes available on the market. You’re sure to find one that suits your style more than the rentable ones do. 

Want to see what’s trending right now? Here is a list of the Best Selling Bowling Shoes.

What to Consider When Buying Bowling Shoes

There are a few important factors that you should consider when purchasing your bowling shoes.

The Durability

Durability is going to be one of the most important factors to keep in mind when purchasing your own bowling shoes. Remember that, like most things in life, all bowling shoes are not created equal. 

That being said, it’s important to purchase a pair of bowling shoes that will last a long time and can withstand various conditions. These shoes are often made from soft leather. 

The Type

There are two main types of bowling shoes available for purchase: athletic and performance. 

If you’re a beginner, intermediate, or just enjoy a casual bowling session, athletic shoes will be perfect for you. 

On the other hand, if you prefer bowling competitively or professionally, performance bowling shoes will be better suited for you. Usually customizable, these shoes are made to fit each person’s skill level and style. These shoes also come with soles for sliding and braking to ensure optimal performance. 

The Material 

A few of the main materials that bowling shoes are made from are leather, mesh, and rubber.

Leather will give the overall best performance and will be more durable than faux leather, mesh, and rubber. While they are generally more expensive, the benefits of these shoes more than make up for the cost. 

Mesh shoes, on the other hand, are more breathable, flexible, and comfortable than leather shoes. If you’re someone who enjoys bowling for leisure, then mesh shoes would be more than appropriate for you. 

Rubber is used to manufacture most bowling shoes’ soles and outsoles. This material helps in providing bowlers with a good amount of traction and slide in their performance.

The Fit

You’ll want to make sure that you get fitted for your bowling shoes before buying them. Bowling shoes differ when it comes to sizing, and not all shoes marked in your size may work for you. 

To help in getting a good fit, you may consider purchasing a customized set of bowling shoes. 

The Cost

Cost is an important consideration for many people. Bowling shoes can cost quite a bit of money, especially those made from leather and for high-performance bowlers. 

If you’re someone who does not bowl professionally, it should be perfectly fine to invest in a cheaper pair of bowling shoes. However, suppose you are a professional bowler. In that case, it will benefit you to invest in a more expensive pair that will last you a long time while also providing you with enhanced performance.

Here you’ll find many bowling shoes in various price ranges: Best Selling Bowling Shoes.

Can You Wear Bowling Shoes Outside? 

It is recommended that you do not try to substitute your regular sneakers for bowling shoes. Bowling shoes are designed specifically with bowling in mind. Their soles are made to help with the slippery lanes inside bowling alleys. 

If you choose to wear bowling shoes outside, you risk slipping on various surfaces and causing minor injuries to yourself. 


It’s important, and almost always required, to wear bowling shoes when bowling. Not only will they provide you with safety, but they will also make cleaning up easier for the staff. Whether you choose to rent bowling shoes or buy your own, you need to adhere to the rules of the bowling alley and be prepared to wear bowling shoes.

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