Last updated: February 19, 2019

Best Bowling Shoes

Sara Fletcher
Published 5:15 pm

You are probably here because you believe that bowling is not just any sports. For you, to be able to give your best performance, you must be wearing the best shoes for bowling. We take it that you are a serious bowler or that you want to take bowling seriously.

If that is the case, then you came to the right place. In this article, we will help you find the best bowling shoes available in the market. We will also help you learn how to evaluate the best bowling shoes. And finally, we will provide you with a list of the best bowling shoes there is.

What is Bowling?

Bowling, one of the most popular sports and leisure activity in the world, has a rich and long history. In bowling, a player rolls or throws a bowling ball towards a target. In fact, bowling is one of the major forms of throwing sports.

Pin Variations

In variations of pin bowling, the goal is usually to knock over pins at the end of a lane. When all the pins are knocked down on the first roll, it is called a strike. Meanwhile, it is called a spare when all the pins are knocked over on the second shot.

The highest score you can get in bowling is 300. And this can be achieved when you get 12 strikes in a row. Three consecutive strikes is a known as a “turkey”. Further strings of strikes are referred to as the number with the word “bagger”, for instance, “four-bagger” as in for four consecutive strikes.

The most common types of pin bowling include ten-pin, nine-pin, candlepin, duckpin and five-pin bowling, while in target bowling, bowls, skittles, kegel, bocce, carpet bowls, pétanque, and boules. Both the indoor and outdoor varieties are very popular.

Target Variations

Meanwhile, in target variations, the aim is usually to get the ball as close as possible to a mark. The pin version of bowling is often played on a flat wooden floor or other synthetic surfaces This surface can be oiled in different patterns for different techniques. On the other hand in target bowling, the surface may be grass, gravel, or a synthetic surface.

Nowadays, the sport of bowling is played by millions of people in more than 90 countries worldwide. That includes 70 million people in the United States. Its popularity continues to grow through the entertainment media such as video games for home consoles and handheld devices.

What makes the best bowling shoes?

A great outsole surface, the capability to slide and brake, and amazing customizations make the best bowling shoes.

Are you constantly at the bowling alley or are you becoming a serious bowler? If either is a yes, then it is probably high time you get yourself a pair of the best bowling shoes. Unless you are comfortable with those offered by the bowling alleys. Because aside from the fact that it is kind of unhygienic, you also do not have a lot of options to choose from.

Choosing the perfect bowling shoe lies on a lot of factors. You have to classify whether you are a professional or an amateur player. Owning the best bowling shoes comes in handy for casual bowlers. However, it is critical when it comes to tournaments or when you are competing.

The best bowling shoes do not have to be expensive. They do not have to be the latest designs or the fanciest colors. Continue reading until the very end to know what you need to know about the best bowling shoes.

Outsole Surface

What distinguishes bowling shoes the most is its outsole. The outsole of the bowling shoe is the key element. Usually, bowling outsoles are completely flat. However, some designs of the best bowling shoes may feature a heel that is raised slightly. The outsole surface varies from model to model. In professional performance, the right outsole is often different from the left outsole.

The reason for this is that the outsole surface of your dominant foot features a different build compared to your opposing foot. The dominant foot is for sliding while the other is for braking. We will discuss more about this later into the article. Always remember that regardless of what your dominant foot is, the sliding and breaking relies on the design of your outsole.

Mostly, the best bowling shoes are judged by the quality of its outsole. But, there are many controversies regarding what the ideal outsole design is. Because it technically depends on one’s personal preferences and style.

Slide and Brake

Now, we come to sliding and braking. These two terms are sole parts which are features of the outsole that allow you to slide and brake. The slide and brake are separated from each other on professional shoes. However, some universal designs make soles with no particular structure. The latter is mostly used by beginners and is considered less optimal compared to the professional bowling shoe design.

In bowling technique, sliding occurs immediately after approaching the foul line. The bowlers slide once they have built their approach and after leaning forward to release. Sliding allows bowlers to keep their movements fluid and connected. This way, their release can be as accurate and controlled as possible. Every bowler desires a different amount of slide as they release.

For example, some players prefer to slide as close to the foul line as possible after approaching. Professional bowling shoes make this move much easier. Because users can apply the brake as they regulate their sliding. Remember that sliding is not easy. It is important that you, as a bowler, remain in control of your slide. Sliding must be very brief because over-sliding will cause you to either lose your balance or cross the foul line.

You should be picky when it comes to your bowling shoes, especially if you are a slider. It is necessary that you purchase a shoe that is comfortable for you. Even though all bowling shoes look the same, the design of bowling shoe outsoles can greatly vary. It will all depend on the manufacturer and the model of the shoes. So, choose wisely.


If there is another thing that the best bowling shoes must have, it is customization. Customization is a very important factor when it comes to a bowler’s professional-level practice and performance. Once a person has obtained a good grasp of regular bowling shoes, including the basic skills and techniques, one should opt for customized bowling shoes.

Customization is constantly underestimated by players who are looking to transition to professional bowling. Always remember that by the time you go pro, you will have to be equipped like a pro. That’s why you need to have the best bowling shoes that are customizable.

Even if some bowlers have similar preferences, they all have unique styles and techniques. Therefore, every bowler has different tastes when it comes to pro bowling shoes. The preferences of each bowler apply to both sides of comfort and performance.


As for the comfort side, it is a matter of how one feels in their bowling shoes. Some bowlers prefer to insert a personalized insole for better heel cushioning. Meanwhile, other players like flat shoes with thin soles. This is for them to be as close to the floor as possible and for better balance as well.


You can always optimize your practice by using equipment that fits your style of performance. The foot-dominant design is one of the very common examples of customization. Most shoe manufacturers offer their models based on designs for both left-handed and right-handed players. Every professional player of bowling buys their equipment based on their dominant hand and foot. There is nothing wrong if you follow, too.

Most bowlers do not have one specific technique because they play differently and according to their circumstances. A pair of shoes for all scenarios is not practical for them and purchasing multiple pairs of customized shoes is not easy on the pocket. That is why having customizable bowling shoe is more practical.

Removable Soles

The best bowling shoes won’t hurt your wallet because they can be customized. They consist of outsoles that are removable and can be replaced with another. It also considerably improves your performance compared to average bowling shoes.

Outsoles that are removable allow bowlers to fully customize their strategy as well as their practice. Plus, they also make shoes much more durable. Usually, you would have to get a new pair of bowling shoes or have your shoes’ soles replaced. But instead, you can just replace your soles.

What are other considerations?


When you are buying the best bowling shoes, the price of the shoes is definitely one thing that you need to take into consideration. Generally, the higher the price, the higher quality materials are being used in manufacturing the shoes. As a result, you have a more durable and comfortable pair of shoes.

However, you should not base your decision of buying the shoes entirely on the price. But, it does give you a good starting point. You also need to remember the other qualities of the best bowling shoes.

But, don’t you worry! In our list of recommended best bowling shoes, you can expect that most of the prices are mostly in the average price. Therefore, you get more value out of your money.


Next, you need to consider the size of your shoes. The size of your bowling shoe that you purchase can make a huge difference to your overall comfort level. The size can even affect your bowling game.

The best bowling shoes will fit snugly onto your feet. You will hardly notice that you are wearing them after a long period of time. On the other hand, if you purchase something that does not fit you very well you can end up with a lot of pain and suffering. In the end, you will give yourself unpleasant things like blisters, rashes, and even itchiness.


Most probably, the overall design and style of your bowling shoes are something that you are concerned with. We all want our shoes to come in appealing colors. Maybe, you want something that matches your personality or shoes that you can show off. And it is a plus if it gets us compliments. Somehow, it adds a boost in our confidence.

But you just need to remember now to base your bowling shoe-buying decision entirely on the looks. Somehow, not all the best looking shoes deliver quality and durability. Again, you must take into consideration the other factors that make the best bowling shoes.

What are the top best bowling shoes?

Looking for the best bowling shoes can be quite a difficult task. As promised right from the beginning, we have gathered the best bowling shoes you can find in the market. We hope this list can help you narrow down your search.

Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

These bowling shoes are a must-own if your greatest passion is bowling. The Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes have a lenient and resilient man-made upper. Top of the best bowling shoes, these have an upper with lace to the toe pattern for a custom fit that you can adjust.

Also, these have a non-marking outsole with a defined horseshoe heel. The left and right shoes both have Slide-Rite soles.  Remarkably, they are designed to promote sliding. And because of that, it is a universal bowling shoe designed to suit any player’s slide preferences.

The Jack bowling shoes are lined fully with fabric and even have a padded tongue and collar. These are for a softer, more comfortable fit. The padded areas reduce painful rubbing, absorb shock, and protect the top of your foot from pressure originating from the laces.

These are very nice bowling shoes that come at a moderate price and are a great investment. As a matter of fact, these shoes are comfier than many shoes.

Made out of a synthetic material, they come in sizes that range from a 6 to 15. These shoes come in a simple black and white design that appeals to a wide audience. It’s a classic!

Dexter Ricky III Bowling Shoes

At a glance, the Dexter Ricky III Bowling Shoes are a comfy and quite good-looking pair of shoes.

You will know these are the best bowling shoes the very first time you lay your eyes on them. For sure, these shoes will never go out of style because of their timeless design.

Manufactured by Dexter, these shoes are made of synthetic material. When it is your time to throw the ball, these shoes unbelievably deliver exceptional ease.

The Ricky III has a durable leather upper. These bowling shoes were designed to feel soft. Also, they provide great support. Ricky III bowling shoes by Dexter are all man-made. Rest assured, there were no animals harmed to manufacture them.

With non-marking outsole, marking up the bowling alley will be prevented by these amazing bowling shoes. The Ricky III’s non-marking outsole is also made of rubber. With this, you will definitely have great traction.

This Ricky III is available in the average price range. With Dexter’s patented Slide-Rite soles and several comfort features, this pair is a great investment for a universal bowling shoe.

Pyramid Men’s Path Sport Bowling Shoes

These shoes are a very affordable pair of men’s bowling shoes. Pyramid Men’s Path Sport Bowling Shoes offer a very simple, yet appealing design. This pair of shoes come in a total of five different color options. This bowling shoe also comes in sizes 8 to 13.

But what makes it one of the best bowling shoes? Interestingly, you can find the sliding soles of these shoes on both feet. Because of this, it makes it capable of being worn by either right-handed or left-handed bowlers.

In order to support the feet and offer a secure fit, the laces can be done up quite high. Additionally, you can have a comfortable fit with the Pyramid Men’s Path Sport Bowling Shoes. These bowling shoes were designed to have a very lightweight.

Plus, if you are eco-conscious, you will feel less guilty about your purchase. This is because this pair comes in an eco-friendly bag rather than a box. Isn’t that great?

Another awesome thing about these shoes is that the manufacturer actually offers a two-year warranty on the shoes.

BSI Women’s Sho

The BSI Women’s shoe is quite budget friendly. But wait, there’s more! Other than it won’t hurt your wallet, these bowling shoes bring a lot of nice features to the table.

These shoes come in a pink and white design that appeals to a majority of ladies. BSI Women’s bowling shoes are available in sizes 5 and 11.

They offer a padded tongue as well as a padded collar. You can be assured that you can have the most comfortable wearing experience possible when playing. Even though its laces do not come up super high,  the shoes can still become quite snug.

On the upper half of the shoes, the BSI Women’s shoes are actually partially made out of leather. This can help provide durability.

Probably, these shoes are some of the cheapest that you can find on the market. However, they do offer a pretty comfortable fit. That’s why we have included them in the best bowling shoes list.

Brunswick Ladies Aura Bowling Shoes

These Brunswick Aura Bowling Shoes can be a little bit more expensive compared to some of the ladies bowling shoes. However, they do offer a very stylish look to them. In addition to looks, these bowling shoes offer a comfortable fit.

These shoes are made of synthetic materials. Another nice thing about these ladies’ bowling shoes is that they have a big portion of mesh covering in them. This design helps to make them a lot more comfortable to wear over a long period of time.

In addition to that, the Brunswick Ladies Aura Bowling Shoes are very lightweight. This is because of it lightweight rubber sole and synthetic materials used throughout the shoe.

Brunswick Ladies Karma Bowling Shoes

This one is another quality shoe by Brunswick. The Brunswick Ladies Karma Bowling Shoes have a lot to offer. These bowling shoes are available within the mid-high budget range.

These bowling shoes have the added bonus of actually looking like a regular shoe. And to add to that, the Brunswick Ladies Karma Bowling Shoes are a very lightweight. They also have a comfortable design.

To help add comfort and support, things like a foam padded collar and tongue are used in the design. Brunswick Ladies Karma Bowling Shoes do contain one feature that you will not see very often.  And that is a slip-on design.

These shoes are available in sizes 6 to 11. Generally, they are not a very narrow-fitting shoe. Somehow, they are somewhere in the middle between wide-fitting and narrow-fitting.

Dexter Ana Bowling Shoes


This bowling shoe has a small heel that is raised. The low heel makes this bowling shoe a great fit for people with pronation problems. Low heel reduces the strain on the foot.

The Dexter Ana bowling shoes have universal soles and overall look very lovely. Having universal soles means that both shoes have the same sliding sole. This pair is so good for any bowler no matter which of their foot is dominant.

These shoes are plaid-patterned. They are part of the best bowling shoes list because of their low-to-upper price range. But other than it being quite an affordable catch, Dexter Ana shoes provide comfort and stability features. These are what every bowler needs.

These stylish shoes by Dexter are also flexible and durable. In addition, they are synthetic. That can only mean that they won’t stretch.

These shoes come with a padded collar and tongue for comfort and protection. The soles of the Ana design are Slide-Rite soles. These will help you to slide more easily. And lastly, the non-marking outsole helps to promote your traction, which then helps you keep your balance.

Parting Words

No matter what your skill level is, any person who does bowling needs to invest in the best bowling shoes. Even if you just play a few times a week, it would still be worth it.  

While most bowling alleys offer rental shoes, getting your own pair of the best bowling shoes will quickly pay for itself. But of course, you need to be purchasing a quality pair of bowling shoes that fit you well. Still, remember the factors we mentioned? You need to remember them when you buy your own pair.



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