When you are looking to buy bowling shoes it can be a rather difficult task. Shoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and it can be quite difficult to find something that is comfortable on your feet. One of the main problems with bowling shoes is that the majority of brick and mortar stores don’t carry bowling shoes. Online shopping is probably your best bet as most retailers accept returns and re-orders.
One of your biggest decisions regarding your bowling life will be if and when to cross that threshold of renting or buying shoes. I can’t emphasize enough that owning your own shoes is infinitely better than renting in all but a few circumstances. The only time it’s better to rent is if you bowl less than 3 times per year, or you’re pretty sure you’ll never bowl more than 10 times in your whole life!!
If you bowl anywhere around 5 – 10 times per year (and especially if you bowl more than that), you can use the rental money (on a little as 10 rentals) you would have spent on smelly, worn house shoes that don’t fit perfectly and don’t have any customizable features, and get yourself a great-looking pair of shoes (that look a lot like street shoes), fit you perfectly, have customizable features and don’t have other people’s “foot residue” in them. And (as if you didn’t get the point already) the price for your own comfortable shoes is the same as renting as little as 10 times! Sound like a plan?
Top Bowling Shoes Comparison Chart
Scroll Down to See Our Overview of Each of These Shoes!
This means you are kind of taking a shot in the dark when it comes to getting something that fits properly and getting something that is comfortable. Luckily there are things you can take a look at in order to stand a better chance of finding a good quality pair.
Bowling Shoes Buying Guide
This is definitely one thing that you should take under consideration when you are looking for your shoes. Generally speaking a higher price corresponds to higher quality materials being used in the manufacturing process which results in more durability and overall comfort. Although you should never solely base your decision on price, it can give you a good starting point. Just don’t forget to have a look at the other qualities of the shoe as well.
Warranty is a very important thing especially when it comes to shoes. Shoes have so many stitches and different parts and pieces to them, it can be days of use before a defect even gets noticed or appears on the shoes. A warranty is also a good representation of the overall quality of the shoe because it means that the manufacturer stands behind their product and is willing to pay up if they messed something up somewhere down the line.
Although laces come standard with every shoe, it is important to check and see how long the stock laces are in order to determine if you are going to need to purchase yourself a new pair of laces or not. If you have laces that are too long you may have a difficult time tying them up properly and having one come undone at an inopportune time could literally ruin your game and cause an injury. It is also important to look at the holes where the laces go through in order to see if they are metal, plastic or if they are just hole-punched through the material. Generally speaking metal is going to be the most durable and will keep your bowling shoes in good shape for the longest period of time.
If you are buying your shoes online it can be rather difficult to tell how comfortable the insoles will be on your feet. If you have something such as an ankle or knee injury, you may even want to replace the stock insoles with something a little more comfortable anyways. If you are someone who bowls all the time, it is important to try and get something you are going to be comfortable standing in for a long period of time. It is also important to make sure that if you are buying insoles to put into the shoes, that you get the right size for your feet.
The size of bowling shoe that you buy can make a huge difference to your overall comfort level and can even affect your bowling game. A good pair of shoes will fit snugly onto your feet and you will hardly notice you are wearing them after an extended period of time. On the other hand if you buy something that doesn’t fit very well you can end up with a lot of pain and suffering and give yourself things like blisters, rashes and itchiness.
Tread is always something you want to have a look at, no matter the type and purpose of the shoe you are buying. The thing to remember with bowling shoes is your own bowling technique. Generally a bowler will do a bit of a foot drag and this is why it is generally recommended to try and find yourself a bowling shoe that doesn’t have a lot of tread. Some bowling shoes will actually have felt on the bottom of the shoe (normally just a section) in order to provide that bit of slippage you need for your bowling technique.
The overall style and design of your bowling shoes is something you are probably seriously concerned with. Not only do you probably want your shoes to come in appealing colors that match your personality, but you probably want something that you can show off and get compliments on. Just remember not to base your shoe buying decision solely on looks because it isn’t always the best looking shoes that deliver quality and durability.
Tongue and Collar
This can be rather difficult to determine if you are solely just looking for bowling shoes online. When you are looking at the shoes it is a good idea to at least make sure that they have some kind of padding on the collar and tongue of the shoes. Without padding it can be quite easy to develop a blister in sensitive areas of your feet. Not to mention, if there is no padding on the tongue or the collar it is not going to be nearly as comfortable for the wearer especially if you are using the shoes for an extended period of time.
Right or Left Handed
Depending on the quality of the bowling shoe, a good quality bowling shoe is going to be custom-designed for a right or left handed bowler. The main difference you will find for a right handed bowler compared to a left handed bowler is that the felt on the bottom of the show will be on the opposite side.
Depending on the bowling shoe you are looking at, you are going to notice a large difference in the overall structure and support in the heel area. A cheap pair of bowling shoes likely has little to no padding on the back half and you may notice issues with things like the stitching and the overall height of the back section of the heel. It is important to have some support on the back of your heel so that your shoe stays on, stays comfortable and keeps your scores high.
This is important to look at especially if you have skinny or really wide feet. Although the actual size of the shoe may match the length of your feet properly, it does not mean that the width is going to match up. Having shoes that are too small for you is not only going to make it uncomfortable to bowl, but you may develop cramps or blisters on your toes from wearing the shoes for too long.
Best Bowling Shoes Reviews
These are very nice bowling shoes that are available for an average price. Made out of synthetic material they come in sizes that range from a 6-15. The bowling shoes are lined fully with fabric and even have a padded tongue and collar are for a softer, more comfortable fit. These shoes come in a simple black and white design that appeals to a wide audience. The outside of the shoe is fitted with a rubber that doesn’t leave marks behind and contains material on the front end of the shoe to allow for slippage so that you can bowl using a proper technique.
They feature a lightweight outsole and sleek mitered stripes with a eye-catching hexagonal texture pattern. It’s all part of Dexter’s “Dex Lite Collection”
- Fits people from shoe sizes 6-15
- Padded tongue and collar provide long term comfort
- Simple black and white design appeals to broad audience
- These shoes do have quite long laces
- Narrow fit may not be the best shoes for someone with wide feet
Another shoe that comes in at a budget price. This shoe has the distinction of being Amazon’s best choice, and we suspect that’s because it’s budget-priced and it’s really a good shoe for an entry-level player looking to stop wasting money on (while at the same time getting cooties from) rental shoes. A basic padded tongue and collar make this shoe a competitor in its price range. It has a very simple overall design and the rubber exterior doesn’t leave marks behind when in use. The laces of these bowling shoes do go up quite high compared to other options on the market.
- Fabric-lined tongue and collar make for a comfortable fit
- Available in sizes 6-15 with wide options available
- Rubber will not leave marks behind
- Available in two different colors to suit personal tastes
- White shoes may get dirty fast
- No distinction between slider foot and regular foot
This is a nice ladies bowling shoe that is available for an extremely low price range. Synthetic leather really makes this shoe a competitor amongst other shoes at this low budget price due to the fact that it is normally only used on more expensive shoes. This shoe even has a padded tongue and collar meaning that you can bowl and be comfortable in these shoes for an extended period of time. These shoes are very lightweight in design and have a bit of a sporty look to them as well. Available in sizes 5-11 these shoes even have a common sliding sole on the bottom of the show so you can perfect your throws.
- Made out of synthetic leather
- Sporty look to the shoes
- Very lightweight design
- Comfortable for long term wear thanks to padded collar and tongue
- May appear too sporty for a serious bowler
- Laces aren’t done up as high as some shoes on the market
Like most bowling shoes, the Danis are made of synthetic materials and have a fairly simple style. We like the Dani shoe because it is one of the few bowling shoes that actually looks like a regular tennis sneaker rather than a bowling shoe. The outsole actually wraps around the edge of the shoe like a tennis or basketball shoe so the name of the game is subtlety. They don’t scream “I’M A BOWLING SHOE!” The U-throat upper pattern of the shoe and the tongue is lightly cushioned as are other areas of the shoe (collar). The foam footbed is lightly cushioned since these are not meant to be a full-time shoe for any purpose other than hitting the lanes.
The slide sole is made of S8 microfiber.
- Great price (about 8 or 9 rentals will pay for this shoe)
- Lots of sizes available
- These shoes contain rubber that doesn’t mark things up
- Padded tongue, collar, and microfiber insole add some very good comfort and support
- Conflicting reports on their fit. Some say too narrow, some say too much room above the toe, and some say too small for their size.
These lady’s shoes have a lot to offer and are available in the mid-high budget range. These shoes have the added bonus of actually looking like a regular shoe and are a very lightweight and comfortable design. You will notice things like a foam padded collar and tongue are used in the design to help add comfort and support. These shoes do contain one feature that you won’t see very often and that is a slip-on design. These shoes are available in sizes 6-11 and are generally not a very narrow fitting show, they are somewhere down the middle between wide and narrow.
- This shoe has a very stylish design that looks good even outside of the bowling alley
- This shoe features a slip-on design
- Padded collar and tongue help to make these shoes extremely comfortable
- May be too wide for someone with narrow feet
- You may not have your feet quite as secure as lace shoes
This BSI #931 is a favorite of my wife’s because of its looks and because it’s really comfortable out of the box (no breaking in needed). It does run a bit big so even Amazon recommends ordering one size SMALLER than you would normally wear. Available in sizes 5-11, this shoe offers a well-padded tongue and collar for maximum comfort. We love the glued, and very smooth Microfiber slide sole and the warp knit upper. They’re light and breathable so your shoe sanitation will be minimized and your feet won’t get hot and smelly.
These BSI’s are fairly budget-friendly so we don’t think you’ll be put off by the price too much.
As of the writing of this post, the BSI #931 Womens bowling shoe has only been on the market for 6 months, so they are one of the most advanced and newest designs from BSI. If you need a pair, I’d suggest getting these now for as little as $30 – for one of the newest and best shoes on the market!
- Made of knit material for optimal comfort
- Grey and pink appeals to a broad audience
- Padded collar and tongue make these shoes comfortable during periods of extended wear
- Simple design
- May not last in great condition for many years.
These shoes are a little bit more expensive than some of the other lady’s bowling shoes on the market but they do offer a very stylish look to them and a comfortable fit. These shoes are made from a synthetic material and come in a purple/ pink color combination. One nice thing about these shoes is that they have a large portion of mesh covering them which helps to allow moisture to escape. The shoes also have a foam padded tongue and collar which helps to make them a lot more comfortable to wear over an extended period of time. The shoes are extremely lightweight overall thanks to a lightweight rubber sole and the synthetic material used throughout the shoe.
- Lots of mesh helps to provide moisture relief
- Foam covered tongue and collar helps to keep these shoes comfortable
- Purple/pink style appeals to a broad audience
- Laces are capable of being done up high for added stability
- Synthetic is not as durable as leather
- Mesh more prone to cold or hot temperatures, as well as ripping
The Kerries offer quite a pack for the money! Here’s a quick overview: In this design, we find a very stylish bowling shoe for women. As part of Dexter’s Comfort Canvas Collection, they introduce the Dexter Womens Kerrie Black/Multi shoe. This shoe has a modern design on the outside while offering comfort on the inside. Featuring Universal Soles lightweight and cool cotton canvas upper along with a Fabric-lined and padded collar. There’s a molded removable blown EVA footbed with a non-marking rubber outsole.
The shoe sides both have a vent for ultimate breathability which is great considering bowling alleys are sometimes not the “freshest” places on earth! The S8 microfiber slide soles are a nice touch.
- Canvas construction for comfort
- Laces do up fairly high to offer a comfortable fit
- Padded tongue and collar help to keep your feet comfortable over extended periods of wear.
- Not everyone will love the design of these shoes as they are fairly unique
- May not be as durable as a leather pair of shoes
These are a very affordable pair of men’s bowling shoes that offer a very simple and yet appealing design. These shoes come in a total of five different color options and they also come in sizes 8-13. One awesome thing about these shoes is that the manufacturer actually offers a two-year warranty on the shoes. Sliding soles are located on both feet to make these shoes capable of being used by right or left-handed bowlers. These shoes have a very lightweight design and the laces can be done up quite high in order to properly support the feet and to offer a secure and comfortable fit. If you are eco-conscious these shoes also come in an eco-friendly bag rather than a box.
- Very affordable pair of shoes
- Comes in a total of five different colors to help suit personal tastes
- Two-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Green packaging
- Some bowlers had issues with the slide pads working properly
- The manufacturer could have used some more expensive materials in the design to add to eye appeal
There’s no particular reason these should end up at the bottom of our list. The fact is that these are about the “best” shoes on the list, except for price. While most bowling shoes (even from Dexter) came in around $30-$50, these Dexters hover around $150-ish. Why the difference in price? Yes, they look very cool and they make you look like you know what you’re doing on the lanes, but the real difference is CUSTOMIZATION – oh, and construction quality! The SST 6’s are made with real full-grain leather (and some nylon), while they offer you the ability to customize features like heels and soles which are removable and replaceable with soles and heels that cater to your style of slide. With some of the lesser-priced shoes, some owners complained that the shoe did not slide as they would like, and of course, you can’t do much about that …. unless you own a pair of SST 6 Hybrids!
- The rubber on the bottom doesn’t leave marks behind
- Customizable slide features by offering removable outsoles and heels
- Very cool look
- Offers toe protection
- about 3-5 times the price of many bowling shoes
One Last Thought!
If it’s not your thing to wear “BOWLING SHOES” and you would prefer something that does not look like a bowling shoe but rather, much like a casual loafer for wearing around town, we’re right there with you! In fact, during my research, I fell in love with the Dexter Kerrie. You can see it in the photo below! Click the image and follow the link to Amazon to find out more!
Conclusion & Recommendations
Buying yourself a good pair of bowling shoes can be quite a challenge. It is important to look at a variety of shoes and make sure that you find one that is going to be made of durable material and that is an overall comfortable and stylish design. Although it can be quite hard to judge and see if your feet will fit into shoes before you purchase them, just make sure that you at least get the length right before placing your order. It is never a bad idea to check out the company return policy and see if the company has some kind of warranty that covers you in case you find any defects with the shoes somewhere down the line. Hope this list helped you find a nice pair of bowling shoes or at least gave you a good idea about the features you should be looking for. Best of luck with your shoes and good luck with your bowling!