Like many other sports, bowling requires the players to wear a specific type of shoe. Choosing the right pair of bowling shoes is easier than you think. We’re here to provide you with the insight you need to make the right choice. So, let's first look at the reason why bowling shoes must be worn during the approach.
On a bowling shoe, there are sliding soles on each side to accommodate a right or left-handed bowler, which your daily sneakers don't have. Sneakers are too “sticky” and will cause you to abruptly stop as you approach the foul line. This puts you at risk of injury, and because your sneakers will leave scuff marks, dirt and other unpleasant junk behind, other bowlers are at risk as well. This is why bowling shoes are made with a gliding/sliding motion in mind.
There are three types of bowling shoes - rental bowling shoes, athletic style bowling shoes, and performance bowling shoes.
Rental bowling shoes are a good choice if you only go bowling two to three times a year. However, if plan to go more often or join a league you will want to invest in a pair of your own shoes. Rental shoes will usually cost you around $4 each time you go to the bowling alley. If you go bowling six times, that’s $24, enough to buy an inexpensive pair of bowling shoes. You now have them for any time you want to go bowling and if you don’t use them often, they will last for years.
So, now you’re ready to buy a pair of bowling shoes. Athletic style bowling shoes fit the needs of most beginner and intermediate bowlers. These shoes look and fit like a typical sneaker. They also have your typical sliding/gliding sole. These shoes are good for bowlers who usually only bowl once a week at one bowling alley because their approach won’t change. This small investment also gives you more control in your game as opposed to using rental shoes that can vary in quality and fit.
If you bowl more than once a week at many different bowling alleys and/or tournaments you probably want to check out performance bowling shoes. These shoes are more specifically designed for your style of bowling and can be customized for different approaches. Performance bowling shoes are made with different types of soles for each foot, depending on if you’re right or left handed. One shoe is considered the braking shoe (on your dominant foot) and the other is the sliding shoe (on your opposite foot). For example, if you bowl with your right hand, the sliding sole will be on your left foot. The benefit of having a braking shoe is that it provides more traction to stabilize your body as you make your delivery. Performance bowling shoes also have interchangeable soles, so your slide can match your style, and the surface you’re bowling on.
In conclusion, you can get away with rental shoes if you bowl once or twice a year. If you are a more regular bowler or just joined a league you should consider an athletic style bowling shoe because not only will it save you money, it will improve your game. Lastly, if you’re competing in tournaments or bowling in a few different leagues at various alleys, you should definitely look into a good pair of performance bowling shoes. The adaptability they offer will be worth the investment.