All You Need To Know About Bowling Shoes

Do you enjoy bowling? Whether you’re a recreation player or a champion, bowling shoes are your best weapon to dominate the game. Bowling shoes are a rare sight in everyday life. It’s because they’re specialized shoes.

Some but not all bowling shoes are the same size as regular shoes. It depends on the level of your game. The more advanced you get, the more difference you’ll notice in shoe size. It’s because bowling shoes focus more on performance than aesthetics.

Today’s bowling shoes are much more advanced than they used to be a few years ago. If you’re learning about them, then you might have tons of questions. Rightly so, the right pair will help you make or break your game. In this little guide, you’ll get all the answers you need.

Main topics of this article:

Are Bowling Shoes The Same Size As Regular Shoes?

Your regular shoe size isn’t always the same as your bowling shoe size. Bowling shoes follow different requirements than regular shoes. While you can find bowling shoes the same size as your usual shoes, it can be defeating the purpose of wearing bowling shoes in the first place.

You can do two things about it:

  1. Simply find bowling shoes you like in your regular size and play with them. In case they give you outstanding performance, keep them. If they don’t, exchange them.
  2. Go to a local shoe store and get an accurate measurement of your feet size. You might find that your feet size is different from your regular shoe size. Based on your feet size (instead of shoe size), you can shop for the right fit.

The width of your feet is what matters when wearing bowling shoes. Not too long ago, it was a serious concern. But today, many models come with adjustable widths.

Whether you can find a bowling shoe in the same size as your regular shoes or not, it’s something you can overcome easily. Sometimes, your favorite bowling shoes will be the same as your normal shoes, and sometimes, you’ll find a different size that works for you.

When shopping for brand new bowling shoes, it’s best to shop the best. Some of the well-known bowling shoe brands are Dexter, Hammer, and Brunswick.

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How Should Bowling Shoes Fit?

Your bowling shoes should fit you as your regular shoes do. You need a little wiggle room for your toes in the front and the width shouldn’t be too lax nor too tight. It just has to hold your feet in place.

When you feel like the shoes are hugging your feet, as opposed to strangling them, you know it’s the right fit. When playing in the fitting bowling shoes, you’ll feel it supporting you. When you feel like you’re dragging in your feet, there might be a problem.

The right fit feels light, helping you move like you’re walking barefoot but in a comfortable way.

While bowling shoes came a long way in fitting technology, it may be hard to find the perfect fit. In that case, you can find any other sports shoes and customize them for bowling. If you’re bowling at your local alley, contact them and ask if they have specific requirements first. If you’re competing professionally, the organizers should let you know their specifications.

Next, get a pair of shoes that fit and either customize them yourself or let a professional shoemaker do it for you.

All in all, your bowling shoes should fit properly regardless of whether it looks good.

What Shoes Can You Wear When Bowling?

Most bowling alleys provide you with a free pair of pre-used shoes. You use them to play and return them by the end of the game. If you’re okay with using the same shoes as someone else, go ahead.

The bowling alley takes care of disinfecting every pair after the players use them. There’s nothing wrong with playing in the shoes that your bowling alley provides. Don’t worry about it.

If you play sporadically, the shoes that the bowling alley provides will be enough. But when you want to play bowling more often, you’ll need to bring your own bowling shoes.

You’ll improve your game when you play in comfortable shoes. You can also purchase bowling shoe accessories like interchangeable soles. What’s more, it’ll give your game more performance, enjoyment, and professionalism.

You can also wear other sports shoes if they make you feel comfortable. Provided that, you keep them for bowling exclusively. It’s highly unprofessional to bowl in your regular shoes. Keep your bowling shoes clean and only use them for bowling.

Can I Wear My Regular Shoes When Bowling?

The bowling lanes are pretty sensitive to regular shoes. The floor must remain slick to allow the ball to slide fast. The purpose of wearing bowling shoes is to protect the polished wood flooring without scratching it.

Furthermore, the lanes have polished wood. The bowling lanes look pretty shiny and super slippery. If everyone uses their regular shoes, they’ll soil the floor and degrade the oily surface. Bowling shoes serve a double purpose. First, they protect the lanes. Second, they help you move better.

When you wear your regular shoes when bowling, you’ll damage the lanes. It’s because small rocks can stick to the sole of the shoes. Since you go everywhere, your shoe keeps collecting dirt. When you play on the lanes, the mud from your shoes will cause lots of damage.

Thus, the bowling alley will need to clean the lanes more often. With prolonged use, they’ll need to replace the flooring more. And it’s you who’ll pay for the cleaning and polishing.

The staff at the bowling center will likely stop you from playing in your regular shoes. They’ll either provide their pre-used shoes or ask you to use your own. Either way, when you want to enjoy bowling, you’ll want to wear suitable gear.

In fact, the fastest way to separate between an amateur bowler and a professional one is the shoes they wear.

Are Bowling Shoes Required?

Bowling shoes give you sliding power on the slick floor. When moving on smooth surfaces, you need your shoes to be slippery. So, if you use non-slippery shoes, you’ll find great difficulty at throwing the ball.

Anatomically, bowling shoes save you from muscle strains and bone fracture. Without bowling shoes, your body movement when throwing the ball could harm you. You won’t get the needed support and injure yourself. Wearing bowling shoes is more than a luxury.

Every sport has its own set of rules. In casual bowling, you may play without bowling shoes. But you won’t enjoy most of the experience. Give yourself the advantage of wearing bowling shoes. You wouldn’t go swimming in a full suit, you need a swimsuit.

And if you’re bowling professionally, bowling shoes will be mandatory.

Why Are Bowling Shoes Slippery?

Think of ice skates. They contain blades so you can slide on icy surfaces. The same principle applies to bowling shoes. They’re slippery because they allow you to slide on the silky wood flooring.

The bottom of bowling shoes has two parts. First, the sole, It’s the slippery part of the shoe. Second, the heel, it’s at the heel part of your feet. And it works like a break.

So, when you go to throw the ball. The slippery part will let you slide a little bit. That way, you may perfect your shot. But the rubber part will stop you from falling and injuring yourself.

Players also need traction on their other non-sliding foot to push the ball harder. For example, if you’re right-handed, you’ll need traction for your right foot. For optimal performance, use a right-hand specific shoe. Your sliding shoe will be your left shoe, and your traction shoe will be your right foot.

The nature of the lanes also dictates using slippery shoes. It’s not only more functional but safer for the players.

What Are Bowling Shoes Made Of?

Bowling shoes can regulate your energy while delivering your shot. But for some reason, they’re ignored. Many bowlers don’t give it a second thought, but it can make a big difference in increasing your average.

All bowling shoes come with a sliding component in the sole area. The purpose is to help give the player the speed to throw the ball on the lane. Most bowling shoe brands compete on offering the best “sliding effect.”

Usually, they create the sole from leather-like microfiber material.

The hobbyist bowling shoe features sliding pads for the pair. It’s a “universal” shoe because both shoes contain the sliding material. It’s the perfect choice for beginner players and those who bowl regularly but not every day.

For professional bowlers, only one of the shoes features a sliding pad. The other shoe features a rubber heel to “break” the sliding. With this pair, you can improve your game and begin to master the game. It’s the type of shoes that bowlers would use in tournaments.

The primary materials in bowling shoes are leather, rubber, and other synthetic materials. Some brands add other textiles to provide better performance.

Why Do Bowling Shoes Look Like That?

The available bowling shoes at your bowling alley may look all the same. It’s because they sacrifice looks for performance.

Bowling shoes don’t have to look amazing. The purpose of wearing bowling shoes isn’t to impress other people. You wear them to play bowling. So, makers focus on creating shoes that perform well on the lanes.

Furthermore, modern bowling shoes combine style and performance. They feature attractive designs and colors.

High-performance bowling shoes feature a slightly higher cushion for the sliding sole. Some models are low-profile with a sliding sole for both shoes.

Professional bowling shoes look different because each shoe serves a contrasting purpose. And they also depend on whether you were right-handed or left-handed.

When you’re not pleased with how your bowling shoes look, you can always modify them to your liking. Finding the perfect pair is a journey that’s not always straightforward.

Are Bowling Shoes Vegan?

Not all bowling shoes are vegan-friendly. Still, you can find synthetic leather bowling shoes that are vegan. Synthetic leather isn’t as durable as natural leather. But they’re flexible enough to provide excellent performance.

Vegan bowling shoes, typically made with an mesh upper, are also lightweight, and they feel better. They’re perfect for prolonged bowling because you’d feel less fatigue using them.

The inside of the shoes features soft cushions for your feet. Thus, you’ll feel like your shoes are molding to the shape of your feet. It gives you extra comfort.

Some other models incorporate vegan textiles such as cotton. Cotton provides more comfort and airing. The only downside to cotton is that it isn’t as flexible as synthetic leather.

Although vegan bowling shoes don’t always provide the best performance, they’re more expensive. So, if wearing vegan bowling shoes is a priority to you, prepare to pay a little more than natural leather shoes.

Popular brands

Choosing the best brand for your bowling shoes can be a daunting task, especially when you have so many options. Whether you’re a casual bowler or an avid competitor, this list of our 5 top brands is sure to have something for everyone.


One of the most popular brands for bowling shoes, Dexter offers a wide range of both men’s and women’s styles. Their shoes are known for their comfort and durability, making them perfect for anyone looking to bowl in style. Read more about Dexter Bowling shoes here.

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For the bowler that values comfort, Brunswick is one of the top brands to look at. Their shoes are known for their high quality leather and stylish designs, making them perfect for casual bowlers looking to show off some style on game day. Read more about Brunswick bowling shoes here.

Buy Brunswick bowling shoes on Amazon

KR Strikeforce

For the serious bowler that wants nothing but the best, Strikeforce is a great brand to look into. Their shoes are known for their high quality leather and low bounce outs, making them perfect for competitive bowlers looking to improve their game. Read more about KR Strikeforce Bowling shoes here.

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Storm bowling shoes

Storm bowling shoes are perfect for any serious bowler. They offer a wide range of high quality and stylish shoes at an affordable price, making them the top choice for anyone looking to take their game to another level.

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BSI Bowling shoes

BSI bowling shoes are perfect for the casual bowler. They offer a wide range of comfortable and stylish shoes at an affordable price, making them the perfect choice for anyone looking to save a little money on their bowling shoes.

Buy BSI bowling shoes on Amazon

Popular models for men

Dexter Men’s Pro Am II

One of the most popular bowling shoes, this men’s shoe by Dexter is known for its stylish design and comfortable fit. They are lightweight and come with a soft man-made upper and a classic rubber outsole. Find your Dexter shoe size here.

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Brunswick Men’s Punisher

Brunswick is one of the leading bowling brands in the world and they offer a great option for men with their Punisher shoes. These are designed to help you bowl with precision and control, thanks to the advanced technologies used in their construction. They’re also extremely comfortable, allowing you to bowl for hours on end without any issues. Find your Brunswick shoe size here.

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KR Strikeforce Men’s Flyer

If you’re looking for a bowling shoe that will help improve your game, the KR Strikeforce Flyer is a great option. These shoes are designed with Flex Slider Technology slide pads on both shoes. Extremely comfortable and no break-in time. Find your KR Strikeforce shoe size here.

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BSI Men’s #751

These bowling shoes from BSI are perfect for the casual bowler. They’re made with a man-made upper and come with a durable rubber outsole and a EVA midsole. Great value for a reasonable price.

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Storm Men’s Gust

The Storm Gust is a popular choice for men looking for quality bowling shoes. They are made with high-quality materials and offer great performance at an affordable price.

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Popular models for women

Dexter Women’s Suzana 2

The Dexter Suzana is a popular choice for women looking for quality bowling shoes. They are made with high-quality materials and offer great performance and comfort at an affordable price. Find your Dexter shoe size here.

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Brunswick Ladies Mystic

The Brunswick Ladies Mystic Bowling Shoes are some of the best on the market and perfect for ladies who want to bowl in style. They come with Pure Slide microfiber slide soles on both shoes, a comfortable fit, stylish design, and durable construction. Find your Brunswick shoe size here.

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BSI Women’s 460

The BSI Women’s 460 Bowling Shoe is another great option for women who want to bowl in style and comfort. It comes with a leather upper, a microfiber sliding sole, padded collar, and lace-up closure.

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Storm Women’s Meadow

This bowling shoe is designed for women and it has a lot of features that make it a good choice, including a soft lightweight upper with a padded collar that makes it comfortable to wear.

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KR Strikeforce Women’s Nova Lite Athletic

The KR Strikeforce Nova Lite Athletic Women’s Bowling Shoes are perfect for bowlers who want a lightweight and comfortable bowling shoe. They come with a synthetic upper, breathable mesh lining, padded collar and tongue, EVA midsole, and microfiber slide pad on both shoes. Find your KR Strikeforce shoe size here.

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