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Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes are usually made of a combination of leather and rubber. The heels of bowling shoes are usually made of rubber to make it easy to break your slide as soon as you release the ball. Bowling shoes come in various widths. While you don’t want to wear bowling shoes that are too tight, it is important to avoid shoes that are too loose. Bowling shoes that do not fit snugly can throw off your balance, and can have a negative effect on your game. Bowling shoes with padded linings and cushioned insoles will provide extra comfort. This extra support and stability helps minimize the movement of the foot within the shoe. Also the added stability can improve balance and thereby enhance your performance. Bowling shoes usually have a breathable upper mesh. There are three types of bowling shoes which are rental bowling shoes, athletic style bowling shoes and performance bowling shoes.

Rental bowling shoes are a good choice if you go bowling two to three times a year. If you plan to go more often or join a league you will want to invest in a pair of your own shoes. Rental shoes are given to you by a bowling alley attendant and it will cost you a rental fee each time you go to the bowling alley. Rental shoes usually have a sliding/gliding sole on both shoes so you can slide your feet on the bowling lane while releasing the bowling ball.



Athletic style bowling shoes fit the needs of most beginner and intermediate bowlers. Athletic style bowling shoes has the look and feel of a standard gym shoe or a typical sneaker. They also have your typical sliding/gliding sole on both shoes. These athletic style bowling shoes are good for bowlers who usually bowl only once a week at one bowling alley because their approach won’t change. This small investment in bowling shoes 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. Performance bowling shoes are made with different types of soles for each foot, depending if you are 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. These bowling shoes have a rubber sole on their non-sliding foot and a slippery sole on their sliding foot. The benefit of having a rubber 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 are bowling on.


I used to go bowling twice a a month with my girlfriend. We always used the rental bowling shoes given to us by the bowling alley attendant. I would have to pay a small fee to rent the shoes to bowl on that night. Both shoes would slide or glide along the flat polished surface of the bowling alley. If you choose the right size the shoes will be comfortable to wear while bowling. I hope this article provides useful information about bowling shoes.




  1. James Holloman

    Hey Roger,
    Like you, I bowled infrequently and had to endure shoes that didn’t fit. That made the experience pretty unpleasant which is why I stopped altogether. After reading your article, I think I will invest in a pair just on the chance occasion I do have a night out bowling. Thanks for posting.

    • Roger

      Hi James,
      I would suggest that you buy a pair of athletic style bowling shoes instead of renting a pair of shoes from the bowling alley.


  2. Eric ----

    Good tips on bowling shoes, I really don’t like to rent because you never know the history behind those shoes. I liked that you suggested a good pair if you bowl once a week and would probably go ahead a buy some if you went even once a month.

    Is it important to get a stop shoe? Or does it really make that big of a difference when deciding on the right pair of bowling shoes?

    • Roger

      Hi Eric,
      If you are a person who doesn’t bowl in a league or tournament then it is not necessary for you to get a stop or brake shoe. If you are a person who doesn’t want to rent bowling shoes then you should buy a pair of athletic style bowling shoes instead.


  3. Todd Williams

    You picked a good niche for your website. Everybody needs shoes and you offer expert advice as well.


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