Is It Worth Buying Bowling Shoes? A Full Guide

If you go bowling often, then it can be worth it to buy your own bowling shoes. Along with the balls and other equipment you need, you must wear bowling shoes while at the bowling site.

Most bowlers start with the purchase of a bowling ball to enhance their performance and have something that fit’s their personality. However, that’s not the only equipment you need. The shoes are necessary to help you slide appropriately to prevent injuries and improve control.

If you go barefoot or in socks, you run the risk of hurting your foot. Bowlers realize that most bowling centers don’t allow them to wear their own shoes or go without.

I’ve noticed that having specific shoes for bowling can help with sliding and reduces the damage to the bowling lane.

Whether you’re new to the sport or have been playing for years, the right equipment is crucial. Today, I discuss why you need bowling shoes and how to choose them.

Are Bowling Shoes Really Necessary?

 Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes can seem very annoying because you already have good closed-toed shoes that you prefer to use to bowl. However, there are many reasons why any other shoes are a bad idea.

For one, many bowling alleys don’t allow you to wear anything other than bowling shoes. They are often reinforced with rubber and durable uppers to protect your foot from the ball. Likewise, someone else could drop their ball, which may hurt you.

I’ve compiled a list of the benefits of wearing appropriate footwear.

More Control

Usually, sports require you to run, turn, or jump, so you have better control when you have shoes with good traction. At the bowling alley, though, the opposite is true. As you bowl, there should be more flexibility with how you approach the lane.

If you had shoes with traction on the sole, it stops your feet from sliding properly. You could fall or twist an ankle because you’re not moving your feet the best way.

Most bowling shoes have a slick sole so that you slide around. The initial steps you take build up your speed for power. As you approach the release point of the bowling ball, you control the sliding in the last step to put the ball at the right spin and direction. This boosts your performance immensely.

When you release the ball, the heel of the shoe you wear must stop you if necessary. It has less grip than the rest of the shoe, which helps. Ultimately, you’re not slipping down the lane as you move forward.

Improve Your Game

When you wear bowling shoes as you bowl, you improve your game with time. However, if you wear the same shoes to bowl as you do everywhere, it could damage the sole, which affects traction.

While wearing the same shoes might be more suitable for bowling because of the slicker sole, you can’t control how they change. When wearing bowling shoes, you ensure that they are always in pristine condition for the bowling alley.

Ultimately, you want to keep your game the same so that you can improve your bowling averages. That way, you get better as a bowler. It doesn’t matter if you use different bowling alleys. However, you may find that as you bowl for fun, you get better as you go along.

Consistent Performance Bowling

If you buy bowling shoes or rent the same ones every time, this also helps you practice. The same pair performs similarly when you wear them. While they may be less slick as time goes on, you can control this.

You don’t spend the first rounds trying to figure out how they feel and work. That way, you can focus on getting a high score. Plus, the same shoe is crucial for athletic tournaments.

If you choose to bowl for fun, consistency is still useful. You don’t have to get a high score, but it makes it more enjoyable; at least, that’s what I think.

However, there could be things that affect the game, such as the lane you choose. If you’re picking a different style of performance shoes each time, you may find that it makes it harder to improve.

Clean Environment

The bowling alley wants you to wear bowling shoes because of the environment. If everyone wore their regular shoes, they track in salt, dirt, and debris. When that gets on the lanes, it’s harder for everyone.

To bowl well, you need a clean floor. Outside shoes are a huge issue. Even if you have slick shoes at home, wearing them to the bowling alley isn’t safe for the other bowlers or you.

What happens if you step on a spilled soda? Your shoe is sticky and doesn’t slide along the lanes. That may cause you to drop your bowling ball and hit another bowler.

More Safety

Safety is also a concern and one reason why bowling shoes are required for every bowler. Barefooted bowling might seem fun and can save money on renting the shoes. Socks provide a slick feeling, too. However, you want to have the right shoes to avoid serious injury and protect your feet while you bowl.

What if the bowling ball landed on your foot or toe? You could be out for a while and not be able to enjoy the alley.

With that, the alley may be liable if you injure other bowlers by not wearing the right shoe. Dropping the bowling ball doesn’t just hurt you. Make sure that you choose performance shoes suitable for bowling.

Do Good Bowling Shoes Make a Difference?

question marks

Yes, bowling shoes can make a big difference whether you play in a tournament or not. However, you need the right pair of shoes. You could rent them, but many people prefer their own performance bowling shoe style. That way, it matches your bowling ball, and you know the soles are how you like them because no one else used them.


Bowlers must focus on the right shoe size. Bowling shoes can vary between manufacturers, but they’re usually similar to the standard sizing. Therefore, make sure that you try on a few styles before buying a pair.

Velcro or Tie

Another thing you might want to consider is how to close the bowling shoes. Laces and Velcro are the top options, and some people prefer the laces to make them tighter.

Think of the features you want from your shoes. Tying the laces takes time, but they may fit well. Using Velcro is easier and quicker, but it might not provide a custom fit.

You should also think about getting interchangeable soles. That way, you can use them all the time by switching the sole.


I always think that the budget is the biggest concern when shoe shopping. If you’ve got a smaller budget, renting might be best so that you can invest in a ball. Some rentals cost less or might be free, depending on the situation.

That way, you can save up to get the best bowling shoes out there. This works well for those who bowl often and want their own shoes to make life easier.

Are Bowling Shoes Good for Your Feet?


Bowling shoes can be good for your feet if they have proper arch support. Make sure there’s no pinching. In a sense, you should try on bowling shoes like you do regular ones.

How Much Do Bowling Shoes Cost to Buy?

There are various categories out there, so when you go to buy bowling shoes, make sure that you understand the features and benefits of each style.

Expect to pay more money if they have arch supports and other perks.

The sole of the shoes can also affect the price. If it has newer technology, it might not be as affordable.

Also, You can check the price in the post I wrote here, I sorted the best bowling shoes for men from my experience with shoes.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Pair of Bowling Shoes?

If you rent bowling shoes, you can usually save money. However, you don’t get to pick the style or the soles.

Ultimately, renting costs anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on your location and the alley itself. Check each bowling shoe for quality.

Typically, rental shoes are the way to go if you’re starting out and have little cash. You can take the time to find out which styles you like best for later.

Where Can I Buy a Bowling Shoe Pair?

Bowling Shoes

You can find a pair of bowling shoes online at Amazon or in different online shopes, which is where most people go. However, you must ensure that they are made of quality materials and that the sole is slick enough to be controlled on the lane.

Make sure that the company offers free returns; it might be hard to get the soles and bowling shoes perfect the first time.

I wrote some buying guides about bowling shoes: bowling shoes for professional, bowling shoes with interchangeable soles, best bowling shoes for wide feet

Should You Buy Your Own Bowling Ball?

When you think about getting a pair of bowling shoes, you may want to buy other equipment, such as the bowling balls. Some people have different bowling balls for different situations, but that is up to you.

With that, you may want to consider bowling balls for a right-handed or left-handed person so that they are more comfortable. I recommend buying your own bowling balls as you have the cash to do so.

I have written a lot of bowling balls buying guides, feel free to check them out. Some related articles: best bowling ball for straight bowlers & Coolest bowling ball designs


Before you go bowling and become amazed at the shininess of the lanes, it’s important to purchase the right bowling shoe pair. The bowling site you choose requires it, but you also want to be safe and comfortable while you play.

Though it might not seem like a big deal, bowling shoes matter. Whether you decide to rent or own them, you should always get the best pair before each game.