What Should I Consider When Getting Bowling Shoes?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Getting bowling shoes is a task that should be approached with taking a few basic elements into consideration. Whether choosing to rent or buy the shoes, addressing these elements will ensure that you get the highest level of comfort possible, as well as help improving your bowling game. Bowling shoes can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your time at the bowling alley, as well as become part of your personal image.

Boy playing with a ball
Boy playing with a ball

When renting bowling shoes, it is very important to consider the size of the shoe. This means getting the best fit possible as far as length and width. Many bowling alleys will include shoes up to a size thirteen for men and women, as well as offering three basic widths to choose from. In addition, make sure the sole of the shoes is not worn unevenly, as that can throw off your game from the moment you step up to the lane. Making sure the rental shoes fit properly is very important.

When purchasing bowling shoes, knowing that there is more than one type of sole is very important. Bowling shoes are usually equipped with a traction sole and a sliding sole. People who normally rent shoes to bowl may not be aware of this, since rental shoes use multi-purpose soles. In order to get the right combination of sliding and traction soles, it is important to consider whether you are right or left handed. Right handed people will want to purchase a left sliding shoe with a right traction shoe in order to make the best use of the shoes.

However, if you tend to bowl at a number of different establishments, interchangeable soles may be the answer. Along with allowing you to adjust based on which hand you use to hold the ball, the interchangeable soles also allow the bowler to compensate for the conditions and position of the lanes. While bowling shoes of this type tend to cost a little more, they are well worth the price for avid bowlers on the go.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I don't know why rental bowling shoes look so much like clown shoes to me. I guess it's so people won't be tempted to sneak them out of the bowling alley, but honestly, who would want to own a pair of those things?


I have noticed over the years that rented bowling shoes don't always match up with my regular shoe size. I often find that a size 10 bowling shoe is larger than my regular shoe, so I feel like I'm sliding around in my shoes while trying to bowl. I tend to ask for at least one full size smaller at most lanes.

I don't bowl often enough to warrant buying bowling shoes, but I'm glad the article mentioned something about handedness when it comes to selection.

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