We’ve compiled a list of the best bowling shoes for 2019. However, first, let’s get into some history and information about bowling shoes and how they differ from street shoes.
It’s not known precisely when the first bowling shoe may have been invented. The consensus is that in 1888 the first leather bowling shoe arrived in America. This shoe allowed for bowlers to be able to slide, therefore initiating the throwing style that we see today. At the time they were called “slide shoes”.
What Makes a Shoe a Bowling Shoe?
Bowling shoes are sneakers with a slippery sole on one or both shoes that allow the bowler to slide as they release the ball. If bowlers didn’t have the ability to slide they would not be able to throw smoothly and safely.
However, the heels of the shoes are much less slippery and are usually made of rubber or other high-friction material. This allows you to simultaneously slide, and slow down as you release the ball.
Let’s face it, the approach is one of the most important part of any bowlers game for both pros and joe’s. Bowling shoes provide you with the ability to slide smoothly to the foul line and then stop yourself before committing a violation. Just like any craftsman, bowlers need the proper tools, and good shoes are one of those tools to make your game the best it can be. Bowling shoes also offer players extra safety compared to regular sneakers. A bowling ball has a ton of momentum as you throw it. If you wore regular rubber-soled shoes, and tried to bowl, your shoe would stick and all that momentum could carry you over the line along with the ball.
Why So Slippery?
Great bowling shoes are slippery and there are a couple reasons for this. One is that they protect the settee/approach. Any other types of shoes will eventually damage the approach and not allow for a smooth release.
Second, the extra slip action of a bowling shoe enables you to release the ball smoothly which give you a chance to knock down all ten. If you don’t have a smooth slide up to the line you will not be able to release the ball correctly therefore immensely lowering your chances for a good roll. Slippery shoes also offer fluidity and speed in your approach. If you don’t have momentum in your roll you’re not going to be able to knock down many pins and score very high.
Let’s remember that the rubber heels of bowling shoes allow you to stop yourself. We all know what happens if we don’t. Losing a strike because of a line violation is painful for beginners and pros alike.
The Best Men’s Bowling Shoes
Below is a list of the best men’s bowling shoes in 2019. Below is a mix of high-end, and entry-level bowling shoes. If you want to take your game seriously, or if you just want to save money on shoe rentals, the shoes for you are featured below.
KR Strikeforce Men’s Flyer Bowling Shoes
The KR StrikeForce Men’s Flyer shoes are from one of the most storied names in bowling. KR StrikeForce is owned by Brunswick, so there is a lot of reputation behind these shoes. They don’t often make a mistake in their manufacturing and these are no exception. These shoes are in Brunswick’s entry-level line. They are pretty basic while offering you comfort and quality. The aesthetics are pretty simple with these shoes.
You can find the Men’s Flyers in 5 different styles and colors. Although they are in the beginner line, veterans might also want to give these shoes a try. You can get these shoes from a variety of retailers, but you can check the price at Amazon here.
Dexter SST 8 SE
The Dexter SST 8 SE bowling shoes come with a universal fit and rank high in both comfort and performance. These shoes are made to accommodate any style of bowler. They are good for both righties and lefties. The Dexter SST 8 SE shoes are made with a leather upper that is soft and they get broken in easily.
Their claim to fame is their versatility. They were manufactured with two types of interchangeable soles which include a slide and traction pair. Since these shoes offer this variety you can decide which foot to push off to create your best approach. You can also get two interchangeable heels which can make the shoes lighter as well. When you have the correct heel/sole combination your game will soar to new heights. The manufacturers also included a drag protector to keep the soles from peeling and allow them to stay firm. Check out reviews and pricing at Amazon here.
3G Men’s Tour Ultra Black Bowling Shoes
Here we have the 3G Men’s Tour Ultra Black bowling shoes which are pretty expensive. However, they won’t disappoint. They are probably the best and most easily customizable shoes you can find. These shoes come from 900 Global and have impeccable manufacturing as well as quality material. Many think these are the best shoes currently available.
The 3G Men’s Tour shoes are built with Kangaroo leather which is supple and soft. That makes for extreme comfort especially when it comes to bowling shoes. The soles are made from Kevlar and rubber traction which means they are very durable. You’ll feel better dropping $200 on this pair of bowling shoes since you know the durability will be top-notch.
They offer tons of ventilation along the inner soles. They also have four interchangeable soles that are made from back skin, deer skin, cleated, and chrome leather. There are three interchangeable heels as well such as rippled, back skin, and flat normal. You will also get three cleat sets like felt, Teflon, and back skin. With these great shoes, you’ll also go home with a shoe tree, shoe bag, and a slide-sole cover. So again, the 3G Men’s Tour Ultra Black bowling shoes are worth the money if you’re serious. Check them out at Amazon here.
Pyramid Men’s Ram Black Bowling Shoes
These shoes offer you bang for your buck. Their performance far outweighs their price tag. Pyramid has a great line of shoes and these are right up at the top of it. You will get one of the best slide’s of any other shoe and they are easy to break in. They have a thin layer of felt which give you very consistent footwork. This will add up to better performance the longer you wear them.
These shoes are good for both right and left-handers and will give you a high level of comfort. Is style something you want in a shoe? Well, these are classic and cool. Your teammates and opponents will view you as a classy bowler if nothing else with the Pyramid Ram Black’s. You could probably wear them to the office and nobody would be the wiser that they are bowling shoes.
When you choose this pair you’ll have a two-year warranty, but you probably won’t have to worry about that and they’ll cost you less than 40 dollars. Check pricing and reviews out at Amazon here.
Best Women’s Bowling Shoes
Now, let’s cover some bowling shoes that are great for women. Women’s feet are typically more narrow than men so women are typically better off getting bowling shoes that are made with them in mind. Here are a few that might suit your fancy.
BSI Women’s Classic Bowling Shoe
The BSI Women’s Classics are great for experienced bowlers and newcomers. These pair of shoes are lightweight and smooth and very comfortable. The upper has solid long-lasting material that will hold up from impacts and bangs and everyday wear and tear. They also have good flexibility which will prevent them from cracking. This will also help your balance. They are easy to put on and take off too. Check them out at Amazon here!
Dexter Women’s Raquel IV Bowling Shoes
These shoes for women are one of the best-rated shoes out there. They come in white with sky-blue trim to appeal to a nice feminine style. With these shoes, you’ll get comfort, reliability, and effectiveness. They have a light and flexible synthetic upper with a rubber outsole that makes for the best traction. You’ll also get a smooth interior that will keep your feet warm and cozy. They come with an S8 microfiber slide for better function and a strong lace to secure your foot. Read reviews at Amazon here!
Brunswick Karma Women’s
These shoes not only have great performance, but they are also incredibly fashionable. These shoes look good with shorts, capris, or jeans. You could wear these in public and people wouldn’t even notice they are bowling shoes.
These shoes have a microfiber slippery sole on both shoes so they will work for all right and left-handed bowlers.
These shoes are also pretty inexpensive, so they are great as your first pair of shoes. They have a great balance of price, quality, and aesthetics.
Cleaning and Caring for Your Shoes
Cleaning and caring for your shoes should be an important part of your bowling regimen. You might have paid good money for your shoes and cleaning them properly and regularly will make them last longer. Bowling shoes typically take more of a pounding than regular shoes because of the nature of the approach and the way they are designed. The sole tends to get flattened due to sliding and this will throw your game off. Using a wire brush to gently scrape the sole of your shoes to take away any kind of friction while making the leather fluffier. Your glide will become easier as the leather gets fluffier.
In regards to caring for your shoes, you should always keep your shoes in a protective bag. This will preserve their shine and keep you looking and feeling sharp in your shoes. You should also remove the laces every time you remove them. Disinfecting your shoes is important as well. Use a disinfecting spray to keep away any foot fungus and infections. Another thing to keep in mind is to never wear your shoes outside of the bowling alley. Other surfaces will damage them.
Lastly, you should apply protective shoe covers over your shoes when not in use and do not ever let them get wet if you can help it.
Well, now you are ready to pick up a great pair of bowling shoes that will suit your needs. You also learned a little bit about the history of bowling shoes and some steps to take to preserve your wonderful pair.
Whether you are a serious bowler or a newbie, you’re sure to get enjoyment out of the great game of bowling. And why not feel comfortable and get great performance from your shoes while you’re at it. Remember to care for those new shoes properly also and keep them working properly for you as long as you can.
Thanks for reading! Comment below or contact me by email in you have any questions or comments.