You can't just go to the store and grab the first pair of shoes that catch your eye in your regular shoe size if you're looking for bowling shoes. Comfort, support, and the ability to maintain your balance and footing while bowling are all hallmarks of a quality pair of footwear. It's important to think about how the shoe fits in the front and back of your foot, as well as the arch and the ankle. Naturally, you're looking for a pair of shoes that can weather the elements for at least a year. To help you become a better bowler, we've compiled a list of everything you should think about when shopping for bowling shoes.

Bowling Shoe Buying Guide

Shoes used for bowling and their classifications

Bowlers of all ages, genders, and bowling styles can find the perfect pair of bowling shoes.

Bowling shoes for kids are slightly different from those for adults because they are lighter and have less padding. Your children's enjoyment of bowling will be enhanced if they wear their own shoes instead of the rental shoes provided by the bowling center.

If you want to slide at the foul line comfortably, wide-width shoes are the way to go. These may be more difficult to track down, but they're well worth it if you care about the health of your feet, your comfort during the game, and your lack of pain afterward.

Due to the differences in male and female foot anatomy, men's and women's bowling shoes are constructed differently. Women's feet tend to be narrower and smaller, while men's are typically wider.

If you're right-handed, your bowling shoe will be the one doing the sliding, while the other shoe will give you traction for the approach, because right-handed-only shoes are designed for the right hand.

In left-handed-specific footwear, the grip sole is located on the left foot and the slide sole is located on the right foot.

If you're confident sliding with your non-dominant hand, you can use your universal bowling shoes to slide with either foot. If you're just starting out or don't take the game too seriously, you might want to start with a pair of cheaper practice shoes.

Instead of needing a separate pair of shoes for each bowling surface, bowlers who use shoes with interchangeable soles can simply swap out the shoes' bottoms. To bowl in a variety of bowling alleys, they are a fantastic choice.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bowling Shoes

The sole

When shopping for bowling shoes, the sole is one of the most crucial components to look at. It's obvious that these aren't your typical footwear  

Slides are defined by their smooth soles. Sliding with them on will aid your delivery by facilitating a more efficient approach and follow-through. If you wear sliding shoes on both feet, you run the risk of accidentally stepping over the foul line. This is why many affordable and high-end bowling shoes come with removable heels and soles. Adjust the amount of slide effect with this. Cheaper and more beginner-friendly bowling shoes typically feature non-removable sliding soles on both the left and right feet. In contrast, more expensive bowling shoes typically have one sliding sole that can be adjusted and one traction sole.

You can get more momentum when you throw with traction soles, which are typically only found on high-end and competitive footwear. They also make it simpler to make adjustments in the middle of the delivery process. Shoes designed for traction should have a flexible ball of the foot. They are a must-have for serious bowlers, but you can put them off for a while if you aren't a regular player.

Choose bowling shoes with a combination sliding and traction sole if you want a pair with good traction. Your leading foot, the one closest to your dominant hand, should have the sliding sole, while your other foot, the one farther from your dominant hand, should have the traction sole.

The structure of a shoe

When picking the most long-lasting and cozy shoe, focus on the specifics.


The inside of the shoe, the vamp, and the quarter should be lined with a sock-like material for maximum comfort.


The uppers of most bowling shoes are made of leather or synthetic materials. Look for ventilation holes or perforations to see if the fabric is breathable.

Protective coverings for the toes and backs of the heels

Heel stabilizers will keep your heel in place while you move, and toe caps will protect your toes from wear and tear when pivoting.


The insole of a shoe is crucial to its overall support and comfort. They're typically lightweight and detachable so you can add an insole tailored to your specific arch type.

Wedge and midsole

Extra cushioning is provided by the midsole, and a heel wedge helps you bend your ankles less, so your feet are always in the right place to pivot.

Cupped heels and a cushioned collar.

The heel cup will keep your heel in place, and the padded collar will keep your ankles supported and comfortable.

Ground-preserving sole

Bowling alleys may require players to wear shoes with non-marking soles to protect their flooring.

Finding the Perfect Bowling Shoe Fit

Your feet's width and volume should be accommodated by the right pair of shoes, as this will prevent you from experiencing any rubbing or blistering. Shoes should fit snugly without slipping at the heel, with about a quarter of an inch of room between the toes and the tips of the shoes.

Think about the thickness of the socks you plan on wearing while playing and whether or not the construction is stretchy when choosing your size. You need to make sure your arches are getting the same amount of support from your footwear, so you might want to consider getting custom insoles.

Why, exactly, do bowling alleys require special shoes?

Before releasing your bowling ball, you must first reach the approach, the area of the lane closest to the foul line. This section of the road must be level, clear of obstacles, and moderately slippery. You can help keep the bowling lane in pristine condition by using bowling shoes that you bring with you or rent from the center. This is for your own protection, especially since you are toting around some fairly heavy balls.

Can regular shoes be converted into bowling shoes?

With the right glue, any pair of shoes can be converted into bowling shoes. While bowling shoes may have the right soles, regular shoes may lack the support and structure necessary to perform at your best.

How often should bowling shoes be changed?

The shoes of a regular bowler should last for at least two seasons. If you bowl once a week but take care of your shoes, they could last for years. If the soles or heels of your shoes are worn, you should get a new pair.