Free Advice on Rental Bowling Shoes

Rental bowling shoes are probably the last thing on your mind when you first start bowling. As you looked at those shoes onto the counter, you may have wondered about who wore those shoes before you. I know I did. So, here are some facts you need to know about rental bowling shoes.

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Do You Really Need Bowling Shoes?

You likely wonder why you even need to wear special shoes just to bowl a few games. Well, that’s not so far fetched. Heck, you are only going to roll a ball and knock a few pins down, what’s the big deal? That’s why I thought it might be worthwhile to share some important points about why you need bowling shoes in the first place.

Picture of Rental Bowling Shoes

First, yes, you need bowling shoes! Because you slide your foot in bowling, and the soles of street shoes are not designed for bowling.

In most bowling centers, if you try (bowling in street shoes), they will likely give you a very stern warning if not escort you off the premises.

In today’s world, insurance regulations would also require bowling shoes be worn, even if you thought you could get away with it.

So, if you don’t own bowling shoes, you need a pair of rental bowling shoes.

 Don’t Want Rental Bowling Shoes – Buy Your Own Shoes

I personally would recommend you buy your own personal bowling shoes if you decide you like the game. It is more hygienic and comfortable to be in your own shoes.

Street Shoes are Too Dangerous

Street shoes are walking through all the dirt and gunk of daily life. Ever stepped into that occasional pile of odoriferous dog dropping? Or walked on that oil spot in the driveway?

A small pebble carried onto the lane could cause considerable damage,and hard shoes would leave scuff marks on the lanes.

All of these are contaminants that could lead to you either slipping or sticking on the lanes. So, the idea is to keep the bowling shoes inside the bowling center to provide a controlled, consistent and safe lane condition.

By limiting the exposure to all the dirt and daily rubbish we tend to step in, the soles remain cleaner. Clean soles allow you a controlled slide on the lanes.

Don’t Wear the Rental Bowling Shoes Outside

With the new public no-smoking rules, people are going outside to smoke, and returning to the bowling area with rain or snow on their bowling shoes and slipping once inside the building.

In fact several states have already passed laws protecting bowling centers from lawsuits because bowlers slipped inside after getting the bowling shoes wet by walking outside to smoke.

Now bowling houses clearly post signs warning people not to go outside with their bowling shoes on. This should be common sense, but nowadays lawsuits are far too common, for a lot of things that should be “common sense.”

Bowling Shoes are Designed to Slide

Bowling shoes are a special shoe designed to keep you from sticking on the lanes.They actually allow you to slide when you plant your foot and make it much safer and easier to deliver your ball down the lane.

That same design is dangerous when it encounters the elements outside such as snow and rain. Street shoes are designed for those elements, not bowling!

In fact, if you were to wear your street shoes, let’s say a pair of sneakers for instance, you would get too much traction.  When you planted your foot, because of your momentum, the sudden stop could throw you out onto the oiled surface of the lane, and put you in a very uncomfortable position sprawled out face first on the lane.

Bowling Lanes are Extremely Oily

The last thing you want to do is end up on that freshly oiled lane! Let me tell you from first hand experience, it is hard to stand on that oil! Not only is it hard to stand, but that oil feels yucky on your hands as well!

picture of lane oiling machine for rental bowling shoes

Add to that the embarrassment, while you lay on the lanes, and you quickly realize the whole experience is rather unpleasant. And, guess what, as you stand up on the lane, your shoes are standing in oil.

This can happen, even with bowling shoes on. Sometimes, people sweat and that drop of moisture can be picked up by your shoes, or you can go to the rest room and step into moisture.

Then when you come back and bowl, you can have enough momentum going, that it will throw you forward onto the lane. Most people don’t tell you about this, but it does happen!

Be Sure Your Bowling Shoes Are Clean

If this does happen to you, be careful, your shoes are now very hazardous to bowl in! Caution:Before you try to bowl again, there are a few things you are going to need to do.

If you have bowling shoes on already, you are going to need to do some serious cleaning of those soles and heels before attempting to bowl again. Ask for some paper towels and some type of cleaner from the bowling center, or simply ask for another pair of shoes. Yes, it will be embarrassing, but it’s the safest course of action you can take.

If You Stepped On the Lane Oil – Exchange Your Shoes

This protects you as well as everybody else who would slip and slide on the alley in every step you placed back on the lane in those oil soaked shoes. If you do this in rental shoes, please return them to the desk.

Tell them you stepped on the lane. They will thank you for letting them know about it because they can thoroughly clean those shoes.

So, the special bowling shoe is definitely required. Now if you only go bowling once or twice a year, then the cost of the rental bowling shoe is minimal. But, if you are thinking about joining a league, then buying a pair of you own bowling shoes is worth the cost. They will pay for themselves in no time.

Proper Fit is Necessary

The shoes you rent have been worn by plenty of others, walking all around the bowling center and possibly stepping on the occasional gumdrop, or birthday cake icing. The extra dirt they may have accumulated could produce too much slide in the soles making it hard to get a comfortable and controlled slide.

Rental Bowling Shoes Can be a Poor Fit

People of all different foot types and widths, and big and small body types in that shoe size have stretched the shoe and made it most likely bigger. Now when you wear them and try to bowl,it brings back memories as a child trying to walk wearing your parents bigger shoes. It feels too big and is a loose fit no matter how tight you make those laces.

In order to bowl well, you need a snug and comfortable fit on you feet. Not only for safety reasons, but to be able to focus on making a good shot, without worrying about a precarious shoe situation. Loose shoes also increase the risk of turning an ankle and causing a foot injury.

Maintain Your Own Shoes

Protective Shoe Covers Picture

Owning your own pair of bowling shoes can eliminate almost all the safety concerns with rental bowling shoes.

To keep those soles dry, it is recommended to wear protective covers when making those rest room visits.

An occasional brushing of the soles and heels to clean them will keep them in top notch condition. This also removes any dirt and will keep your slide consistent and safer.

Both Soles Are Slippery on Rental Bowling Shoes

The bowling center shoe is worn by all types of bowlers. They have soles that are designed to slide on both feet to accommodate left and right handed bowlers. This is because the slide foot is opposite the throwing hand.

Left handed bowlers need the right foot to slide and right handed bowlers need the left foot to slide.It doesn’t matter whether you are a left or right handed bowler when using older rental bowling shoes.

Are Rental Bowling Shoes Sanitary

Well, you don’t ever know what kind of foot problems the person had who wore the shoes before you. I am not saying you are going to get athlete’s foot, or warts from wearing rental bowling shoes, and it would probably be highly unlikely.

I will say this, just watch the sanitizing process when you are done. The counter person simply sprays a sanitizing spray into the shoe. How effective is that? Then again, you are wearing socks, right? You are supposed to wear socks! That will help protect you and the next person if you happen to have foot problems that could affect others.

Buying Your Own Bowling Shoes

The decision to purchase your own personal bowling shoes, insures they will be fitted properly. Higher quality shoes will have a slide sole on one shoe only, and the other foot will have a traction sole. This give a bowler much better control and more comfortable feel. The added control allows for better scores, and safer bowling. It also requires a bowlers shoe selected for either a right handed, or left handed bowler, to insure the proper slide foot.

Chose a Comfortable and Durable Bowling Shoe

The most comfortable and durable bowling shoes are in my personal opinion, genuine leather. However, along with the comfort and durability comes a higher cost.

Leather bowling shoes are the most expensive. I have purchased the cheaper shoes, and found out rather quickly, you get what you pay for.

But if you only bowl on rare occasions, then the cheap shoes may work well for a few years. I would definitely encourage everyone to try to go for the better shoes, and today this is important.

Many shoes are imported and are cheap patent leather, and do not hold up well at all.

Brunswick Men's Helix Comfort Knit Bowling Shoe For Free Advice on Rental Bowling Shoes
<a href=httpswwwbowlingballcomproductsbowling shoesbrunswick14904mens helix comfort knit right handed blackgreyhtml target= blank rel=noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow>Brunswick Mens Helix Comfort Knit Bowling Shoe<a>

The Brunswick Men’s Helix Comfort Knit

The Brunswick Helix Comfort Knit is a men’s bowling shoe With 2-toned upper knit construction.

You can adjust the shoe to slide more or less on any lane condition you might encounter.

I have purchased lower quality shoes several times and the quality keeps getting worse and worse.

It pays to buy a better quality shoe!

Mail order Shoes Don’t Always Fit

A better shoe may be a special requests ordered from the local pro shops.

Shoes bought through mail order are not always the best fitting shoes. Always purchase any kind of fit guarantee. It is a very wise choice.

I am personally considering this Brunswick shoe for myself.I would purchase it with the size and warranty protection. However, that it is my personal preference.

Aside from a properly fitted bowling ball the next most important thing you need is a good pair of shoes. 

Combine a custom ball and a proper fitting pair of your own shoes, you are well on you way for many enjoyable games of bowling. Just try to remember not to wear your bowling shoes home! Enjoy!


If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will answer ASAP!

Hate Cleaning your Bowling Balls?

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Check out an easy way to deep clean your bowling ball-Bowling Ball Rejuvenator

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Thanks for your support!


2 thoughts on “Free Advice on Rental Bowling Shoes”

  1. Interesting. Did you ever consider getting a link for selling bowling shoes here? I read the article Free advice on Rental Bowling Shoes and wondered why you wouldn’t recommend some good shoes. I am sure that you have worn a few different kinds, what kind did you like the best?

    • Hi Anne,
      I have found that the cheaper shoes are not as good as they used to be. Just a few short years ago they were made from genuine leather. Now the cheaper shoes are patent leather, and crack and split in a few shorts months of use. I have used several pairs over the years, and as long as they are real leather, they will be more durable for sure. However the genuine leather shoes are much higher priced. In my post Free Advice On Rental Bowling Shoes, I do mention the Brunswick TPU-X. They cost a little more, but they are a comfortable shoe, and made of genuine leather.They also have interchangable soles for different conditions on the approach. You could give them a try.Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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