Best bowling shoes for men

Recreational Sports

Bowling reached its popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s, but after years in decline, the bowling industry has grown into a $10 billion market as of 2018.

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Which bowling shoes for men are best?

Bowling is one of America’s most popular and enjoyable recreational sports, enjoyed by amateurs, beer league competitors and professionals alike. While bowling alleys offer the familiar basic shoe rental, not everyone is comfortable sharing shoes with strangers. Beyond eliminating that rental shoe feeling, a good pair of bowling shoes can elevate your game past casual. A better fit and smoother approach are just a couple of benefits of owning your own pair, so if you are thinking of investing in a new bowling ball for yourself, don’t forget the shoes.

If you’re looking for soft bowling shoes with a classic rubber sole, give Dexter Bowling Men’s Pro Am II Shoes a go, as they promise good quality and durability.

What to know before you buy bowling shoes

Bowling shoes are a necessity for anyone who wants to hit the lanes and roll a few frames. Even if you don’t have the lingo down, it’s pretty easy to find a pair of shoes that will make you a better bowler. For more information on this, check the BestReviews buying guide

Durability

Many bowling shoes are made with synthetic materials that vary in durability but are generally strong enough to handle the game. However, if you can find a shoe that’s built for long-term durability, it should stay game-ready for years. 

Comfort

Despite its reputation as a recreational activity, bowling is an athletic competition that can get a bit strenuous on your feet, especially when using cheap or rental shoes. Most quality bowling shoes provide a soft insole for comfort, while others have molded footbeds that add some power to your stride. 

Outer sole

This is the feature that lets bowling shoes perform at their maximum level. The front of the outsole is lined with microfiber or other materials that provide the slide and glide needed for a smooth approach. Although some are designed specifically for lefties or right-handers, most new models have a great slide for every type of bowler.

What to look for in quality bowling shoes

Sizing

Bowling shoes come in all the standard sizes, but not all of them fit true-to-size. Be sure to check the width of the shoe as well; some bowling shoes run narrow, but many models come in wide sizes. When in doubt, check in with your local bowling alley pro shop to try on a pair.

Design

There’s an unfair stigma attached to bowling shoes — they are ugly as sin. However, outside the rental booth, modern bowling shoes can be quite stylish. Many even look just like an attractive lifestyle shoe. Well-designed bowling shoes are built for interior comfort, performance and bowling alley fashion.

Weight

When it comes to your approach, you may not want to be weighed down by a heavy shoe. As a result, many models are quite lightweight without sacrificing performance. Others feature mesh uppers that add breathability and make your approach feel as if walking on clouds.

How much you can expect to spend on bowling shoes

The average cost for a nice pair of bowling shoes is between $50-$100, with higher-end models ranging from $100-$200 at most.

Bowling shoes FAQ

Can I wear my regular shoes while bowling?

A. Absolutely not. Fully rubber soles do not mesh with the lane’s approach, which is why bowling shoes are constructed so uniquely. Investing in a good pair of bowling shoes is affordable and will save you from having to rent uncomfortable alley shoes.

How do I care for my bowling shoes?

A. First, buy a heavy-duty bowling shoe brush to keep the soles smooth and maintain your slide. Use them after games, but not so often as to damage them. Most bowling shoe exteriors can be easily cleaned with warm water and detergent, while the interiors need to be sprayed with disinfectant after each use to prevent bacteria build-up.

What’s the best bowling shoe to buy?

Top bowling shoes

Dexter Bowling Men's Pro Am II Shoe

Dexter Bowling Men’s Pro Am II Shoe

What you need to know: The Pro Am II is built to prevent slipping and enhance the approach slide, making them ideal for both beginners and league-lizards alike.

What you’ll love: The Pro Am II is a very comfortable shoe that fits true-to-size, and its performance is top-notch — especially at its reasonable price.

What you should consider: It may not be as durable as other shoes, but that can be offset with proper maintenance and care.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bowling shoes for the money

Brunswick Renegade Men's Bowling Shoe

Brunswick Renegade Men’s Bowling Shoe

What you need to know: This comfortable shoe from a time-trusted bowling brand is simple and straightforward, not to mention a bargain.

What you’ll love: The Renegade is an extremely comfortable shoe with a durable synthetic upper and smooth microfiber slides — and it looks like a stylish lifestyle shoe. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.

What you should consider: It’s a simple shoe that may not appeal to flashy or pro bowlers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

KR Strikeforce Flyer Mesh Men's Bowling Shoe

KR Strikeforce Flyer Mesh Men’s Bowling Shoe

What you need to know: The Flyer is another strong contender for the best value, available in both breathable mesh and durable faux leather.

What you’ll love: The lightweight and well-ventilated mesh upper is supported by FlexSlide universal slide soles and a non-marking outsole. Plus, it has a padded collar and tongue.

What you should consider: The insole might not be as cushioned as others and may need to be swapped out.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dexter Men's Kam Bowling Shoe

Dexter Men’s Kam Bowling Shoe

What you need to know: For a little more of a casual feel, these Dexters are slip-on, making it easy to switch back to your street sneakers. 

What you’ll love: This shoe features a cool, breathable canvas upper, non-marking rubber outsole with defined heel and a removable molded UVA footbed, making it comfortable and lightweight.  

What you should consider: The casual slip-on tends to run narrow. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Dexter Bowling Men's SST 8 Pro

Dexter Bowling Men’s SST 8 Pro

What you need to know: If you’re thinking about taking your skills to the big leagues, these higher-end bowling shoes are designed and built for the pro lanes.

What you’ll love: This shoe is built for durability, made from premium full-grain leather but still featuring excellent ventilation and breathability. It also has an inner sole made with EVA for extra cushioning and shock absorption and release. 

What you should consider: These shoes require a significant investment.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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