Bowling is a favorite pastime and a lot of fun, but I am sure you have wondered about the shoes you have to wear when playing this entertaining game. What are they made of that make them slide so perfectly when taking your run-up, and why do you have to wear them when playing?

What are Bowling Shoes made Of?

A quality pair of bowling shoes can cost you a pretty penny. The reason for this is that not only their uppers but also their soles are made from leather or a synthetic type of leather. The reason for this is that it has to be able to slide along as you make your approach and release the ball to get that perfect strike.

The heels of the bowling shoes are usually made from rubber, this is so that you can put the brakes on once you have released the ball. Often when having you own custom-made shoes, you will have a full rubber sole on your non-sliding foot and only have the slippery, leather sole on the sliding foot. This will depend if you are a left or right-handed bowler.

Owning Vs. Renting Bowling Shoes?

Owning VS Renting Bowling ShoesOften when people think of bowling the piece of equipment that comes to mind as a must-have is a bowling ball and they forget about the importance of having the right shoes.

If you are somebody who only bowls on the odd occasion, maybe once a year or less, then owning your own pair might not seem like a good investment. If however, you are a regular bowler or even somebody who bowls more than once or twice a year, you should have your own shoes.

One of the main reasons is hygiene. You do not know who used the pair of rented shoes before you and if they had any foot problems that they might pass on to you.

Another great reason for having your own pair is that you will always have a pair of bowling shoes that fit you. The right shoe can improve your game. Having a comfortable shoe to bowl with, that you can tweak to give you great footing before you release your ball, can be the difference between a “strike” and a “gutter ball”.

Two of the most important reasons for owning your own shoes, especially if you are a regular bowler is budget and time. The cost of renting a pair of shoes every time you bowl can be come exorbitant and if you are a regular player, you will be spending more on renting shoes in a year that what it wold cost you to purchase a great pair of shoes of your own to bowl in. Plus you will save a lot of time that you can spend bowling instead of waiting in the line to get a pair of shoes that don’t even fit properly.

Why do you have to wear Bowling shoes at a Bowling Alley?

A regular question that crops up is why you need a special pair of shoes to go bowling in. Surely you can play in any comfortable shoe such as your sneakers. Rental shoes are expensive and more than that they are often not the most fashionable nor the most comfortable of footwear. Despite this, bowling shoes are necessary, not only to play the game properly but also to ensure that the bowling alley is not damaged when you do.

Bowling shoes are an important aspect in every part of your bowling action, from the approach to the release of the bowling ball. The approach is where you walk towards the line in order to release the ball down the lane. This is a vitally important part of your delivery and during the approach, a sure steady foot is essential not only to the bowler, but also to protect the floor that you are playing on. During the release of the ball, you need to have that gliding motion that is commonly seen on the lanes.

The reason for this is to be able to release the ball smoothly down the lane. This is vital if you are looking to get some sort of spin or even just a smooth rolling ball that will give you the “strike” or “spare” that you need to win the game. You will not be able to achieve that sliding motion when using your sneakers as they have rubber soles for grip. Also bowling shoes have no heels, they are flat and perfect for the alleys with a sliding pad on each shoe to ensure the perfect glide.

What is the Spray used in Bowling Shoes?

You will often see your rental shoes being sprayed just before you rent them, as well as after you hand them back in after your game. I am sure that you have wondered what this spray is and why they are sprayed. The answer is simple. Bowling shoes are used by a lot of different people and some of those people could have foot problems you do not know about.

Although it is true to the chances of you picking up an infection when wearing the shoes is low, especially if you are wearing socks and do not have any blisters or sores on your feet, the fact is that there is still a chance that you could. The spry that the bowling alley uses in the bowling shoe is usually an antifungal spray, sometimes it is also in powder form.

This is usually a sanitizing and deodorizing spray that will contain ingredients such as chlorophyll, formalin, and benzalkonium chloride. These are all chemicals that will effectively kill fungal infections and keep their shoes relatively germ free for the next person to use.


It is clear that having a pair of bowling shoes that allow you to have that effortless glide into the release of your bowling ball down the lanes is one of the most important aspects of bowling. Made specifically for the sport and essential to achieving that perfect score.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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