Just as you’d never try to compete on the court without basketball shoes, take the pitch without soccer cleats, or run a race without proper running shoes, you can’t bowl without bowling shoes! While we offer bowling shoe rentals in a full range of sizes from toddler size 5 to men’s 20, more frequent or serious bowlers generally tend to invest in their own shoes.
If you’re considering buying bowling shoes, you’re in the right place. Check out these tips for choosing the right bowling shoes, and visit our Staten Island pro shop to order or ask any questions you have about bowling gear.
What to Consider When Choosing Bowling Shoes
What size do you wear?
While this sounds simple, it’s worth getting your feet professionally measured to find out what your actual shoe size is—even if you think you already know! Many people don’t realize that they may need a wide or narrow width shoe rather than a standard width shoe, or that bowling shoes are available in multiple widths. Plus, your feet can change shape and size over time, so you might be surprised at what your current size actually is.
A shoe that is too tight can lead to blisters, chafing, and pain, but a shoe that is too loose can also cause chafing by sliding around too much on your foot. This will also negatively impact your balance and can throw you off your game.
How often do you bowl?
If you only bowl once or twice a year, you may not feel the need to buy bowling shoes. After all, renting is convenient and relatively affordable. However, if you play more frequently than that, even if you’re not a regular bowler, you may still want to buy an inexpensive pair of bowling shoes. Casual, sporadic play doesn’t require the highest quality shoes, and since you’re not putting a lot of wear and tear on them, even an entry-level bowling shoe will hold up for a long time. You’ll end up saving at least as much as you would have spent on rentals during that time.
Where do you bowl?
If you bowl rarely and at the same bowling alley every time, a basic bowling shoe might be just fine. However, if you visit various bowling alleys, you may want to consider a performance bowling shoe. These higher-quality shoes typically allow for adjustments so you can respond to the unique conditions of whichever bowling alley you happen to be playing at.
How serious/competitive are you about bowling?
If you bowl regularly, whether socially or competitively, you should definitely buy your own bowling shoes! Not only will you save money on renting, but you’ll also appreciate the difference your own shoes can make in your game.
Regular use means that you should opt for a higher-quality bowling shoe, even if you aren’t in a league. You’ll want a shoe that can stand up to regular use and the wear and tear that comes with it. For social bowling, an athletic style bowling shoe will meet your needs. These look like sneakers as opposed to the classic bowling shoe style.
However, if you bowl competitively, you’ll definitely want to opt for a performance bowling shoe.
Do you need interchangeable sole and heel pads?
Competitive bowling requires a higher quality shoe, known as a competitive or performance bowling shoe. These shoes usually feature interchangeable sole and heel pads, allowing the bowler to adjust the slide vs. traction of their approach according to whatever surface they’re bowling on.