Best Bowling Shoes

18 Shoe Models Featured

After testing 37 pairs of shoes, we found the Dexter Pro Am 2 (men) and KR Strikeforce Kross (women) to be the best bowling shoes. 

We found a local amateur bowler with a 200+ average to help us with the buyer’s guide. We used Reddit, Facebook and Quora to get feedback from dozens of bowlers. We made sure to include professionals, keen amateurs and complete beginners. We had conversations with bowling shop reps to hear what they thought, too. 

After spending a few weeks researching, we started testing. We paid careful attention to the quality of the outsole and the overall durability of the shoes. We also wanted to make sure the shoes we picked were comfortable, supportive and were in style. Some of the shoes on our list were universal; others were specific to left or right-handed bowlers.

The Dexter Pro Am is our top men’s bowling shoe a few reasons. It’s comfortable but athletic. It gives you good grip when you’re toeing off and a nice, even slide at the end. It’s available in a left-handed version as well as a right-handed one. It’s durable thanks to multiple overlays and double-stitching… And it looks cool, too.

The KR Strikeforce Kross is our top women’s bowling shoe because of its ergonomics. It’s made for a woman’s foot; it’s not just an adapted version of a male model. It’s durable, with a white microfiber slide sole on both shoes. It delivers good control and accuracy and is comfortable on the foot, too. Unlike many bowling shoes, it’s light and breathable. Testers liked the ergonomic heel section.

As with most sports shoes, our top overall choices aren’t right for everyone. If you have wide feet, look at the Dexter Turbo 2 (men) or KR Strikeforce Hammer Vixen (women). If synthetic leather is hot on your feet, check out our top mesh models: the Dexter Pro BOA (men) and the Pyramid Path Lite (women).

Now keep reading to find the most suitable shoes for your needs!

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Table of Contents

Best Bowling Shoes for Men

editors pick

99/100

Our Score

editors pick

Dexter Men's Pro Am II Bowling Shoes Left Handed

Dexter Men's Pro Am II Bowling Shoes Left Handed

Why this product?

This shoe offers a surprising amount of arch support for a bowling shoe. The lining wicks away moisture to reduce blisters, while the padded collar keeps your foot stable. 

99/100

Our Score

The overall best men’s bowling shoe is the Dexter Pro Am 2. It’s a huge step up from a rented bowling shoe. It delivers a ton of comfort, durability and performance. It comes left and right-handed. In the right-handed option, the left sole is for sliding and the right for traction. This is reversed in left-handed shoes – ensure you order the correct ones for you.

Aside from that, both versions of these shoes are the same. The upper is made from soft faux leather. It’s hard-wearing, with a Blucher cut design. This offers adjustability and a stable fit. Overlays around the toe, sides and heel reinforce the shoes against knocks and scrapes. They’re well stitched too. With double stitching around areas of high wear. 

The tongue and collar are both padded. These ensure your comfort and prevent your feet from sliding around in the shoes. The soft interior lining wicks moisture away from your feet, reducing rubbing, blisters and bad odours. The inner sole is thin but offers a good level of arch support – something we’ve found is often overlooked in bowling shoes. 

The non marking rubber outsole has a S8 microfiber slide pad on the slide shoe. The other shoe has a thin tread pattern on the stopping pad. It provides maximum grip on the smooth bowling alley approach area. Both shoes have a raised heel which allows for more control while sliding and stopping. 

Cons

Unlike top-end performance bowling shoes, the soles on the Pro Am 2 are not interchangeable. This means they cannot be swapped depending on the approach conditions and can’t be replaced if they wear out.

Pros

  • Leather upper is durable and adjustable
  • Rubber outsole provides maximum grip
  • Padded tongue and collar offer ultimate comfort

Cons

  • Soles are not interchangeable

Best Bowling Shoes for Women

99/100

Our Score

KR Strikeforce Womens Opal Bowling Shoes

KR Strikeforce Womens Opal Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

The unique rocker sole assists with balance and weight distribution. K2 Kool Komfort mesh supports the foot while maintaining excellent breathability.

99/100

Our Score

Our favourite bowling shoe for women is this KR Strikeforce model. This athletic style bowling shoe is universal. There’s no left or right-handed version. Despite this, the shoe has outstanding grip and slide. This is thanks to the KR Strikeforce’s brand-new outsole and unique sole design.

The heel is elevated for strong grip on the toe-off and slide. The front of the sole uses a rocker element for balance and weight distribution when sliding. You usually find this feature in an athletic shoe, not a bowling shoe. Smart and effective; we’re big fans.

The upper is made from KR Strikeforce’s own K2 Kool Komfort mesh. This lightweight material grips the top of your feet, creating a supportive but breathable layer. It includes no-sew overlays along the side of the shoe. These are for added support and help the shoe hold its shape. The shoe has thick overlays in the toe and heel areas. These protective panels are sewn in with durable double stitching. The mid-shoe also features double stitching for a snug long-term fit.

Inside the shoes, the footbed is cushioned for added comfort. It’s made to match the shape of a woman’s foot and offers excellent arch support. The heel cup houses another layer of cushioning. This protects you from the harsh stop-start impacts involved in bowling.

Both the tongue and ankle collar are padded for extra support. They prevent your feet from moving inside the shoes, which can throw you off balance. The textile lining is kind to your feet and wicks moisture away, protecting you from rubbing and blisters.

The non-marking rubber outsole is the same on each shoe. There’s no right or left-handed model to worry about. It features S8 microfiber slide soles and Flex Slide technology.

Cons

Some bowlers told us that these shoes do not slide as well as they had hoped. While we found the slide pad to be exactly what we needed, we’re not professional bowlers. Get some slide powder when using these shoes. We get the feeling they slide well in some bowling lanes and less well in others.

Pros

  • K2 Kool Komfort mesh upper supports the foot
  • Thick overlays in the toe and heel provide durability
  • Cushioned footbed offers excellent arch support
  • Padded tongue and ankle collar keep the foot secure

Cons

  • May need slide powder to assist with sliding

Best Men’s Bowling Shoes with Universal Sole

98/100

Our Score

Element Hydrolite Mens Bowling Shoes with Universal Soles

Element Hydrolite Mens Bowling Shoes with Universal Soles

Why this product?

This shoe features a raised heel that provides excellent control through the slide phase. An EVA midsole offers supportive cushioning, while the mesh upper ensures the shoe stays cool and breathable.

98/100

Our Score

The best universal bowling shoes for men are the Hydrolite Athletic Bowling Shoes.They’re comfortable, inexpensive and help deliver a high level of performance. The rubber outsole is non-marking and features a #8 slide pad on each shoe.

A raised heel is also present. This gives you more control during the slide phase, allowing you to easily adjust your body weight for the best possible throw. The EVA midsole is soft yet supportive. Offering outstanding cushioning, even if you’re on your feet for hours at the alley. There’s also an open cell foam footbed with nice supportive contours.

A lightweight, seamless mesh knit upper ensures the shoes remain cool and breathable. It’s soft and flexible, so doesn’t compress your feet as you bowl. There are overlays around the heel and side to protect the mesh and reinforce these areas. The overalls are seam welded so don’t negatively affect the durability of the mesh.

As far as looks go, the Element Hydrolite bowling shoes have a standard sneaker style look to them. They feel athletic too, and are comfortable to slide in. They’re also some of the lightest shoes we tested for this article, coming in at around 40% lighter than most of the competition. 

Cons

The slide pad doesn’t offer as much consistency as more expensive bowling shoes. It requires some muscular effort for maximum precision. Due to this, they’re not a good choice for league bowlers who compete in a range of bowling alleys.

Pros

  • EVA midsole is supportive and cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Raised heel gives you excellent control
  • Seamless mesh knit upper stays cool and breathable

Cons

  • Slide pad isn’t always consistent

Best Women's Bowling Shoes with Universal Sole

97/100

Our Score

Brunswick Women's Mystic Bowling Shoes

Brunswick Women's Mystic Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

The rubber outsole on this shoe combines a traction pad with a microfiber slide pad. Inside, a supportive footbed and tight heel cup ensure the foot remains stable and comfortable.

97/100

Our Score

The best universal-sole bowling shoe for women is the Brunswick Mystic. It’s comfortable, stylish and stitched in a way that delivers maximum longevity.The lightweight rubber outsole on each shoe includes a microfiber slide pad, and rubber traction pad on the heel. The traction pad has thin slits to provide maximum grip on the approach.

A foam midsole provides high levels of cushioning and comfort. It also protects you from the impact of heavy foot strikes. Inside the shoes, the footbed offers plenty of arch support. The heel cup is tight, holding your foot in place and ensuring you remain stable while bowling. This works in conjunction with the foam padded collar and tongue which also keep your foot secure.

The synthetic upper has a nice leather look to it. It’s tough and breathable. Plus it’s sewn in a way that allows you to flex your feet without creasing the shoes. It also features double-stitched overlays on the toe and heel for extra durability. These inexpensive athletic shoes are available in a range of colours. 

Cons

These shoes run a little smaller than most shoes we tested. They’re also quite tight, even for women’s shoes. To ensure you get the right fit, we recommend going up half a size when ordering. Alternatively, you could try them on in store or via Prime Wardrobe to ensure you get the best fit.

Pros

  • Synthetic upper is tough and breathable
  • Rubber outsole combines traction and microfiber slide pad
  • Foam midsole provides cushion and protects against impact

Cons

  • Shoe runs small

Best Budget Bowling Shoe for Men

94/100

Our Score

BSI Men's Basic #521 Bowling Shoes

BSI Men's Basic #521 Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

The leather upper on this shoe is durable and tough without limiting your mobility. The soft insole provides excellent cushion and arch support.

94/100

Our Score

The best budget shoe for men is the BSI Basic #521. This universal bowling shoe is a big step up from rented bowling shoes and is incredibly budget-friendly. Thanks to the simple design, these shoes look just like regular leather tennis shoes. They’re lightweight and easy to get on and off.

The leather upper is tough and durable. It’s reinforced around the laces, toes and heel. The whole thing is stitched so it can flex without deforming. Which allows you to work your foot through its natural range of motion as you bowl.

Inside the shoe, a plush textile lining wicks moisture away from your feet, preventing rubbing and blisters. The soft insole delivers excellent cushioning and arch support. Especially when you consider the super low price point. 

The rubber outsole is non-marking, with the raised heel providing excellent control and stopping power. The microfiber slide pad offers constant and reliable slides – important when you’re trying to improve your game.

Cons

The ankle collar is a bit higher than in most bowling shoes. If you’re not used to it, this can cause a small amount of rubbing. Especially if you’re playing a lot of games in a row. We advise wearing thick socks while breaking these shoes in.

It’s also worth noting that these shoes run large. Order at least half a size smaller than usual. Some of us found that we needed a whole size smaller.

Pros

  • Leather upper is tough and durable
  • Plush lining wicks away moisture
  • Soft insole cushions and supports
  • Microfiber slide pad offers consistent and reliable slides

Cons

  • High ankle collar may rub on some feet
  • Shoe runs big

Best Budget Bowling Shoe for Women

94/100

Our Score

BSI Women's Classic Bowling Shoe

BSI Women's Classic Bowling Shoe

Why this product?

The high-quality leather upper is abrasion-resistant and perforated for increased breathability. The padded tongue and collar keep your feet secure and well-cushioned.

94/100

Our Score

The best budget bowling shoe for women is the BSI Classic. It follows a traditional bowling shoe design and performs exceptionally well for the price. It’s universal – suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers.

Thanks to the bright colour, these shoes stand out at the bowling alley. But the eye catching design isn’t all they’ve got going for them. The upper is made from high-quality leather. It’s abrasion-resistant and long-lasting. It includes extra stitching in areas that take the strain as you bowl. 

The padded tongue and collar provide comfort and security. They hold your feet in place, preventing them moving around inside the shoes. The internal lining helps keep your feet cool and sweat-free. There are also perforations in the leather upper that increase breathability. So, you won’t have to worry about dealing with stinky feet.

The EVA midsole is well-cushioned. It creates a comfortable base for your feet, even if you’re standing all day at a tournament. It also helps protect you by absorbing shocks from the heavy footfalls involved with bowling. 

The outsole features a raised heel for enhanced control while stopping and sliding. It’s also home to the common sliding sole. For the price, this slide pad is incredible. It ensures a consistent slide, allowing you to get more power and accuracy from your throw. 

Cons

The sizing of these shoes is a little inconsistent. To be sure you’re getting the right fit, we advise ordering half a size smaller. It’s best to try them on in store or via Prime Wardrobe before committing to your purchase. 

They are also stiffer than a lot of the bowling shoes we tested. They take some getting used to and need to be broken in. Wear thick socks for the first few games so you don’t injure your feet.

Pros

  • EVA midsole is well-cushioned
  • Raised heel on the outsole offers enhanced control
  • Internal lining keeps feet cool and dry
  • Bright, eye-catching design

Cons

  • Inconsistent sizing
  • Stiff and may take extra time to break in

Best Men’s Bowling Shoe for Wide Feet

97/100

Our Score

Dexter Turbo II Wide Width Bowling Shoes

Dexter Turbo II Wide Width Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This shoe is full of comfortable padding that keeps it snug on your foot. Moisture wicking fabric lines the shoe, keeping your foot cool and dry. A supportive footbed delivers constant stability.

97/100

Our Score

The best men’s bowling shoe for wide feet is the Dexter Turbo 2 Wide. This universal bowling shoe meets the strict quality standards set by Dexter. It’s comfortable, flexible, durable and supportive. The soles are non-marking and feature a raised heel. This enhances traction and control during your throw. They also have a Slide-Rite S8 microfiber pad on each shoe. Making them suitable for both left and right-handed players. 

The upper is made from top quality leather. It’s got reinforcing overlays around the toe, side, heel and laces. These are all double stitched to ensure longevity. The tongue and collar both feature comfortable padding. This creates a snug-fitting shoe that gives you more control on the approach. They’re lined with moisture wicking fabric, which keeps your feet cool and dry while bowling. 

The footbed is soft and supportive. It cradles your feet, delivering constant comfort and stability. It’s also lined with a moisture wicking fabric. They’re not the most stylish bowling shoes we’ve tested but are still a huge step up, in both looks and performance, from rented shoes. 

Cons

We found that the back of the heel on these shoes is very soft. If you force your feet into them too often, you’ll damage the back. We suggest carrying a small shoe horn with you to extend their life. It also helps to go up half a size to ensure the shoes are wide enough for your feet.

Pros

  • Raised heel enhances traction and control
  • Double-stitched leather upper
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Soft and supportive footbed

Cons

  • Soft heel may wear out quickly
  • May need to go up half a size to ensure shoe is wide enough 

Best Women’s Bowling Shoe for Wide Feet

97/100

Our Score

KR Strikeforce Women's Hammer Vixen Wide Width Bowling Shoes

KR Strikeforce Women's Hammer Vixen Wide Width Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This performance shoe includes an interchangeable slide pad, traction pad and heel for customizable control. The microfiber upper supports your foot without hindering natural movement.

97/100

Our Score

The best women’s bowling shoe for wide feet is the KR Strikeforce Hammer Vixen Wide. This performance bowling shoe is biomechanically engineered for comfort, stability and balance. Being a performance shoe, it comes in left and right-handed models. So ensure you order the correct version for you.

The microfiber upper has a leather look to it. But it’s softer and more breathable. It hugs your feet without hindering their natural movement. It’s also incredibly durable, meaning you won’t need to replace the shoes in a hurry. The compression moulded EVA outer sole is lightweight, cushioned and supportive. It creates a stable base and delivers unrivalled comfort. The traction shoe features intricate siping which delivers consistent traction while bowling.  

The slide shoe includes an interchangeable slide pad, traction pad and heel. This allows you to quickly change your set up depending on the quality of the alley you are competing in. It features the H Bar Locking System on the heel. This delivers enhanced stability and control while sliding.

There’s an Ortholite 3D Deluxe insole inside the shoes. This provides unparalleled breathability and cushioning. It works together with the STA-DRY mesh tongue and collar to keep your feet dry and cool while at the alley. 

Cons

The toe box on these Vixens is a bit more snug than we like to see in wide fit shoes. We suggest ordering half a size up to ensure they are a wide enough fit for you.

Pros

  • Microfiber upper is soft, breathable, and durable
  • EVA outsole is lightweight and supportive
  • Interchangeable slide pad, traction pad, and heel
  • STA-DRY tongue and collar keep feet dry and cool

Cons

  • Toe box fits snug. We recommed sizing up for a wide fit

Best Lightweight Bowling Shoes for Men

96/100

Our Score

KR Strikeforce Mens Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes

KR Strikeforce Mens Flyer Mesh Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This durable insole cushions the metatarsals while maintaining firm support. It features a deep heel cradle that keeps the foot firmly in place.

96/100

Our Score

The best lightweight bowling shoe for men is the Flyer from KR Strikeforce. This athletic style bowling shoe is universal – fit for right or left-handed bowlers. It’s comfortable and has exceptional build quality. Honestly, they fit like a pair of your favourite sneakers. 

The Kanvas Mesh upper is super lightweight and breathable. It’s made from a single piece of material so there are no stitches inside the shoe. This reduces the risk of rubbing and blisters. It’s ultra-durable, with reinforcing overlays around the heel and toes. We’re not used to seeing mesh shoes stand up to this much heavy use.

The whole shoe is made using KR Strikeforce’s Komfort-Fit construction. It means they’re comfortable out of the box. They cradle your feet to deliver maximum support and stability while bowling. The thick insole offers plenty of cushioning and arch support. It allows you to play for hours without getting sore feet – something rented bowling shoes just don’t permit. 

The flat, non-marking outsole features long flex grooves. These help give the sole its flexibility and ensure your feet can move through their natural range of motion. Each shoe has a #8 white slide pad, featuring Flexslide technology. 

Cons

The flat sole gives great freedom of movement while bowling. But the lack of a raised heel means it’s more difficult to get a consistent slide. Especially if you are bowling in different alleys regularly. 

Pros

  • Metatarsal pad spreads and cushions the toes
  • Deep heel cradle keeps the foot stable
  • Arch support molds to your foot

Cons

  • Relatively high price-point

Best Lightweight Bowling Shoes for Women

97/100

Our Score

Dexter Kerrie Bowling Shoes

Dexter Kerrie Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This lightweight shoe utilizes a canvas upper to support your foot without reducing mobility. The EVA molded insole matches the contour of your foot to provide excellent cushion.

97/100

Our Score

The best lightweight bowling shoe for women is the Dexter Kerrie. It’s made from lightweight materials and is one of the most casual looking bowling shoes we’ve tested. It’s universal, so is suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers. 

The cotton canvas upper is thin, flexible and weighs very little. It holds your feet well and is surprisingly supportive. The lightly padded collar and tongue add to the secure feeling these shoes deliver.

There are also small vents on the side of the shoe for increased breathability and cooling. Reinforced sections around the toe and heel areas add extra protection and durability. You’ll also notice the bump toe design. This gives extra wiggle room in the asymmetric toe box. Which ensures your toes don’t bump against the shoe while bowling. 

The interior fabric lining feels soft and cooling to your feet. The insole is EVA moulded to create a lightweight, shaped footbed that matches the contours of your feet. This ensures your feet are well cushioned as you bowl.

The footbed is removable, so can be easily replaced with custom orthotics if required. The non-marking rubber outsole is non-restrictive, flexing and moving with your feet. But it still provides a level of support unseen in regular rented bowling shoes though. It also features Slide-Rite S8 pads for a reliable slide to the foul line. 

While these shoes aren’t anywhere near professional level, they’re great for casual bowlers who want to save money on rental fees. 

Cons

Even for bowling shoes, these are very narrow. They also run small. We recommend sizing up at least one size. It’s best to try them on in store or via Prime Wardrobe to be sure. 

There’s also a stitch that runs along the back of your heel. This can cause rubbing and blisters so needs to be broken in. We recommend wearing thick socks while your feet get used to the shoes.

Pros

  • Bump toe provides wiggle room and toe protection
  • Interior lining is soft and cooling
  • Removable footbed allows for custom orthotics
  • Rubber outsole is supportive while moving with the foot

Cons

  • Narrow
  • Shoe runs small
  • Stitch on the heel may cause rubbing

Best Mesh Bowling Shoes for Men

97/100

Our Score

Dexter Mens Pro BOA Bowling Shoes

Dexter Mens Pro BOA Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This performance shoe is lightweight yet durable. The sole on the traction foot covers the toes slightly for increased drag protection. Inside, a moisture-wicking mesh ensures comfort and breathability.

97/100

Our Score

The best mesh bowling shoe for men is the Dexter Pro BOA. This performance bowling shoe is seriously lightweight and exceptionally comfortable. It’s reminiscent of a high-end basketball shoe in look and feel.

It features the BOA lacing system. This unique set up makes the shoes quick and easy to get on and off. To tighten the shoes, click down and twist the small disk. To undo them you just pull the disk up and flex your feet. The BOA system comes with a lifetime guarantee – if it fails, Dexter will replace it free of charge. 

The aero mesh upper is ultra-lightweight and breathable. It’s reinforced around the laces, collar, toe and heel. This increases the shoe’s durability and support without compromising comfort. The heel also has a stabilising feature to ensure your feet are well secured.

The DexLite Pro interchangeable outer sole on the sliding foot comes with an S8 slide pad as standard. It can be replaced at any time depending on your personal preference. However, the raised rubber heel is not replaceable. 

The traction foot features a fixed aero traction push off sole which also can’t be replaced. This delivers great grip, allowing you to achieve high bowling speeds. The sole comes up over the toes slightly for increased toe drag protection. Inside, the shoes are lined with a breathable, moisture-wicking mesh. This prevents a build-up of moisture, preventing bad odours and reducing the risk of blisters.

The EVA footbed cradles your feet, delivering all-day comfort. It can also be removed and replaced if necessary. 

Cons

This shoe is only available in a right-handed option. If you’re a leftie, you’ll need to look elsewhere.t

Pros

  • BOA lacing system 
  • Mesh upper is lightweight and breathable
  • Lined with moisture-wicking mesh
  • EVA footbed supports and cushions
  • DexLite Pro interchangeable outsole

Cons

  • Only available in right-handed option

Best Mesh Bowling Shoes for Women

96/100

Our Score

Pyramid Womens Path Lite Bowling Shoes

Pyramid Womens Path Lite Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This shoe features a seamless upper that is lightweight and breathable. The foam outsole is supportive and well-cushioned.

96/100

Our Score

The best mesh bowling shoe for women is the Pyramid Path Lite. This universal bowling shoe is ultra-lightweight, super comfy and available in two colour schemes – my personal favourite being the hot pink which is unfortunately not available for men. 

The knit mesh upper is soft and hugs your foot like a sock. It keeps you secure in the shoes without feeling tight or constricting. As you’d expect from mesh, it’s breathable. Allowing air to easily flow around your feet. Due to the upper’s construction, there are no seams – the shoes are comfortable straight out of the box and don’t need breaking in. 

The comfort footbed offers good support to your arches and the ball of your foot. It’s removable, so can be replaced if necessary. The outsole is made from ultralight foam. It’s supportive and cushioned, delivering top-rated comfort all day. It features a microfiber slide pad and raised heel on each shoe. These help produce a consistent and easily controlled slide. 

Because they are universal and suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers, these Pyramids are a solid choice for amateur bowlers. 

Cons

These shoes are quite narrow. If you have wide feet, we suggest looking at a different shoe to ensure you get maximum comfort for your money.

Pros

  • Knit mesh upper hugs the foot
  • Breathable and seamless
  • Comfort footbed offers great arch support
  • Foam outsole is well-cushioned
  • Microfiber slide pad and raised heel produce consistent and controlled slide

Cons

  • Narrow

Best Premium Men’s Bowling Shoe

100/100

Our Score

Dexter Bowling Mens SST 8 Pro

Dexter Bowling Mens SST 8 Pro

Why this product?

This premium bowling shoe comes with fully interchangeable soles that allow you to customize your fit and slide. The synthetic leather upper features mesh panels for breathability and flexibility. 

100/100

Our Score

The best premium bowling shoe for men is the Dexter SST 8 Pro. The competitive bowlers we spoke to said these high-performance shoes are their favorites. The surprising thing is that they come with fully interchangeable soles. This means they’re suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers.

They provide excellent sliding and grip using a rocker sole and elevated heel. This gives you a strong toe-off and good slide control. The shoe’s constructions lets you customise the slide pad, heels and traction sole to suit any lane or personal preference.

As standard, the shoes comes with S8 microfiber slide soles and a T2+ traction sole. They also come with an H5 Saw Tooth heel and H2 braking heel. The heels are raised to deliver more speed, control and power to each bowl. There’s a leather toe drag protector on the end of each shoe. These protect the soles from peeling away – a common issue for power bowlers. 

The synthetic nylon upper has a classy leather look to it. But it’s lighter and more flexible than natural leather. It features mesh panels for increased breathability and reinforcing overlays in areas of high wear. These are secured by high-quality double stitching. Breathability and comfort are improved further by the padded mesh tongue and ankle collar. These keep air circulating and serve to grip your foot, preventing any unwanted movement. 

Cons

While the toe drag protector does its job well, it’s not suitable for bowlers who use “extreme toe drag” as part of their game. The leather is too grippy and can cause you to tumble into the lane, risking injury and guaranteeing embarrassment.

Pros

  • Customizable sole
  • Synthetic nylon upper is lightweight and flexible
  • Padded mesh tongue and collar keep the foot secure

Cons

  • Toe drag protector is too grippy for bowlers who use “extreme toe drag”

Best Premium Women’s Bowling Shoes

99/100

Our Score

KR Strikeforce Starr Ladies

KR Strikeforce Starr Ladies

Why this product?

This shoe features an insole that molds to your foot, and provides cushion and support in all the right places. The mesh tongue and collar ensure high breathability while offering excellent support.

99/100

Our Score

The best premium bowling shoe for women is the KR Strikeforce Starr. This high-performance shoe is a favourite among female bowlers for its usability, comfort and overall quality. It’s available in both left and right-handed models. 

The microfiber upper is soft but durable. It’s flexible and cradles your feet – creating a snug, comfortable fit as you bowl. The STA-DRY open mesh tongue and collar enhance this fit by gently gripping your ankle. They also allow maximum airflow thanks to their high breathability. Inside the shoe, the mesh liner is comfortable and wicks away moisture.

This reduces rubbing and slipping due to sweat. The Ortholite 3D Deluxe insole is moulded to match the contours of your feet. It offers support and cushioning in all the right places. Namely your heels, arches and the ball of your foot. 

An EVA compression moulded outsole keeps the overall weight of the shoes down. It’s soft enough to ensure long term comfort but firm enough to deliver high-level support. The slide shoe has an interchangeable heel and slide pad, so you can be prepared for any bowling lane approach.

As standard, the slide shoe includes a #8 slide pad with Flexslide technology and a #5 rubber heel. The heel is secured using KR Strikeforce’s H Bar heel locking system. It provides increased stability and control of your slide. The traction shoe has a T2 rubber sole and a #2 Shark Tooth heel. 

Cons

Unlike the slide foot, the soles on the traction shoe are fixed. This means you can’t change them to suit different bowling alleys. While this isn’t an issue for beginner bowlers, these shoes are aimed at higher level players who may require interchangeable soles on both feet. Especially if they are regular tournament competitors.

Pros

  • Microfiber upper is soft yet durable
  • STA-DRY mesh tongue and collar are breathable
  • EVA outsole is lightweight and supportive
  • Slide shoe has interchangeable heel and slide pad

Cons

  • Traction shoe does not have interchangeable sole

Most Stylish Bowling Shoes (Men)

95/100

Our Score

Brunswick Vapor Mens Bowling Shoe

Brunswick Vapor Mens Bowling Shoe

Why this product?

This stylish shoe features a synthetic upper that is breathable and tough. The EVA sole is comfortable and supportive, and the asymmetric toe ensures you have plenty of wiggle room.

95/100

Our Score

If you’re looking for a stylish bowling shoe that’s a step up from the standard rented options, look no further than the Brunswick Vapor. Close to a tennis shoe in look and feel, this athletic bowling shoe is lightweight and comfortable. Not to mention it’s durable and offers a good level of performance. 

Coming in both black and white options, these shoes stood out as the most stylish we tested. The synthetic upper has a faux leather look and feel to it. It features tough but good looking overlays in areas of high wear for increased durability.

There are perforations in the side, which allow airflow to your feet. The padded collar and tongue are soft on your ankles. They prevent your feet moving around inside the shoes. And help create a stable base to bowl from. 

The EVA sole is comfortable and supportive. It delivers high-level comfort and cushioning from day one. Being universal bowling shoes, they’re suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers. The pure slide microfiber sole and heel traction pad are identical on each foot. What’s not identical is the asymmetric toe box. This ensures there’s plenty of wiggle room, reducing the risk of uncomfortable rubbing on your toes. 

In terms of performance, the Brunswick Vapor doesn’t have the same potent edge as our overall favourite bowling shoe. But it’s a solid, and most importantly, stylish entry-level shoe. 

Cons

The soles on these Vapors need breaking in before they’ll slide properly. Be careful on your first few uses, they might be a little grippier than you’re used to.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Padded collar and tongue are soft and secure
  • EVA sole offers cushion and support
  • Synthetic upper is durable and breathable

Cons

  • Soles need to be broken in for proper slide

Most Stylish Bowling Shoes (Women)

95/100

Our Score

Dexter Bowling Womens Raquel IV

Dexter Bowling Womens Raquel IV

Why this product?

This shoe contains a cushioned insole that delivers top-notch arch support and comfort. Secure heel cups create a strong and stable base.

95/100

Our Score

When it comes to stylish bowling shoes for women, the Dexter Raquel IV fits the bill perfectly. The Shoethority team loved the white and baby blue colour scheme. But this athletic bowling shoe didn’t make our list just for its looks. It performs well too. 

As a universal shoe, both soles are the same. Making it suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers. Each features an S8 Slide-Rite microfiber pad and horseshoe heel. The heel is slightly raised, helping you to get more speed and power into your throw. The cushioned Dex-Lite EVA sole delivers top-notch arch support and comfort. It allows you to play multiple games without worrying about sore feet.

Within the shoes, the heel cup is secure and well padded. It creates a stable base by preventing your feet from sliding around. The interior lining is soft and gentle. Wicking away moisture and keeping you cool while playing. At a glance, the upper looks leather but it’s made from durable synthetic materials.

The Raquel is easy to clean and looks fantastic. Like an aggressive tennis shoe with gentle blue highlights. It’s well-padded, cradling your foot and offering a great level of support. 

While the performance of these shoes isn’t as good as our top picks, they’re still a cut above standard rental bowling shoes. 

Cons

The upper on these shoes is very stiff. The sole offers a lot of flex and freedom of movement but the upper holds these shoes back. They look great and as mentioned, perform much better than basic bowling shoes, but they’re not as flexible as we would’ve liked.

Pros

  • Interior lining wicks away moisture
  • Durable synthetic upper is easy to clean
  • Dex-Lite EVA sole provides excellent arch support
  • Raised heel helps put speed and power into your throw

Cons

  • Stiff upper doesn’t offer as much flexibility as we would like to see

Best Slip-On Bowling Shoes for Men

95/100

Our Score

Dexter Mens Kam Bowling Shoes

Dexter Mens Kam Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This shoe contains an EVA foam midsole that provides a flexible, bouncy base. The soft lining wicks away moisture and prevents blisters. A tight heel cup prevents heel slip without being too restricting.

95/100

Our Score

The best slip on bowling shoe for men is the Dexter Kam. Unlike most bowing shoes, these have a casual loafer look and feel to them. They’re comfortable on your feet and offer much better performance than rented shoes. 

The universal soles mean they’re suitable for both left and right-handed bowlers. Each shoe comes with a Slide-Rite S8 microfiber pad and rubber heel. The midsole is formed from EVA foam. It provides a flexible, bouncy base for maximum comfort as you bowl. 

With a canvas upper, the shoe breathes well and looks fantastic. The toe and heel are reinforced with canvas overlays and the sole extends up towards the toes. This prevents damage to the shoe if you use a lot of toe drag while you bowl. There are small elasticated panels that allow you to slip the shoes on and off with ease. The elastic also works together with the padded collar to gently grip your ankle for enhanced stability and support. As well as this, the panels increase the shoe’s overall breathability.

Inside the shoes is a soft fabric lining. It’s kind to your feet, preventing rubbing and wicking away moisture. The footbed is moulded EVA foam. It matches the contours of your feet to provide lightweight support and comfort. The heel cup is tight enough to prevent heel slip without feeling constricting. 

Cons

Due to their flat sole, these Dexters don’t produce the most consistent, easily controlled slide. The pads are not interchangeable either so you’re stuck with what you’ve got. While this means they’re not a great choice for high-level bowlers, they are very good for beginners and amateurs.

Pros

  • Canvas upper is breathable and stylish
  • Padded collar and elastic panels gently grip your ankle for enhanced stability
  • EVA foam footbed matches the contours of the foot

Cons

  • Flat sole doesn’t produce consistent slide
  • Best for beginners and amatuers, not professionals

Best Slip On Bowling Shoes for Women

96/100

Our Score

Dexter Womens Suzana Bowling Shoes

Dexter Womens Suzana Bowling Shoes

Why this product?

This lightweight shoe delivers excellent comfort and support. The bump toe design ensures your feet have plenty of wiggle room. The mesh lining is moisture-wicking and protects feet from blisters.

96/100

Our Score

The best slip-on bowling shoe for women is the Dexter Suzana. It’s comfortable, easy to get on and feels incredibly light on your feet. With their universal sole design, these shoes are suitable for either left or right-handed bowlers. They feature a Slide-Rite S8 microfiber pad on each shoe, as well as a rubber heel for braking and body control. 

The EVA insole is moulded to match the contours of your feet. It’s flexible and highly cushioned, delivering a ton of comfort and support. It can be removed and replaced with your own custom insoles if required.

You’ll also notice the bump toe design. This means your toes have plenty of wiggle room and won’t butt up against the interior lining as you bowl. The lining itself is fabric mesh. It’s moisture-wicking, breathable and super soft, so protects your feet from blisters. 

The PU upper is made from just two parts. This simple design, with its high-quality stitching, is less likely to fail than the more complicated bowling shoes. It features elasticated panels which make slipping the shoes on and off an easy task. They work in conjunction with the padded collar to grip your foot and prevent it from moving too much during a match. 

Cons

The sizing of these shoes is quite inconsistent. Some of our testers found them to be quite narrow while others said they were too wide. To ensure the best fit for you, try them on in store or via Prime Wardrobe. 

Also, lookout for a “Restocking Fee” if you need to send your shoes back. Some sellers have taken to charging up to 15% for returns of these shoes.

Pros

  • EVA insole is flexible and highly cushioned
  • Bump toe offers plenty of wiggle room
  • Moisture-wicking mesh keeps feet dry and comfortable
  • Elastic panels in the upper work with the padded collar to grip the foot

Cons

  • Inconsistent sizing
  • Some sellers charge a “Restocking Fee” to return

Buying Guide

A bowler with a 200+ average told us the following about picking bowling shoes.

The Outer Sole

Nearly every sport has unique footwear requirements. Bowling is no different. You need both grip and slide through at just the right time. For grip, you need to be able to pick up speed with just a short run-up. You need the slide just before releasing the ball. The slide needs to be controlled to help you step before the foul line.

This means a bowling shoe needs to have a very special outsole. Too much grip and too much slide are both bad. With hand-specific shoes, i.e. right-handed and left-handed ones, there’s an easy solution. One shoe is the braking shoe; the other is the sliding shoe. Quality sliding shoes usually have microfiber outsoles. Quality braking shoes use a non-marking rubber outsole for a control the slide and toe-off.

If you get an ambidexterous shoe, you’ll have a universal slide sole. A sole like this may have a slide section and a grip section. They may also use non marking rubber that both slides and grips. This is possible thanks to modern materials like EVA foam.

Durability

Bowling shoes take a lot of punishment. In a standard game, you’ll be putting a lot of forces through the shoes. The aggressive stops and starts can damage poor quality shoes. Look for shoes made from tough leather or a strong synthetic material.

It’s also a good idea to buy shoes with reinforced sections and overlays for structural support. These can limit the breathability of the shoes but as you’re unlikely to be wearing them for extended periods, this isn’t a huge concern.

Finally, make sure the outsoles are well attached to your shoes. Constant stopping and starting can tear soles away from cheaply made shoes. This is a common problem with otherwise high-quality shoes.

Insole

Bowling shoe outsoles tend to be rigid, with no support or cushioning. A modern EVA outsole is the exception to this rule, but very few bowling shoes use these. That’s why we need a quality insole to support and cushion the foot. 

Look for bowling shoes with memory foam and EVA insoles. These offer a good level of cushioning and support. They’ll mould to the shape of your feet over time, which means the comfort and stability will increase with each use. Alternatively, look for nice, soft foam. It may not offer much support – but at least it has cushioning.

If you require orthotic inserts, ensure the bowling shoes you’re looking at have a removable insole. Wide, relaxed-fit models are best for medium and high-volume inserts. Make sure the insole you’re buying has a little flex to it. Athletic shoe insoles are best.

Style

Some bowlers choose to match the colour and style of their shoes with their bowling attire. But if you don’t have a specific bowling outfit, we suggest sticking to a matte black colour option. Leather is always a good choice for materials too. Matte black leather shoes accompany almost any outfit. 

Some athletic bowling shoes look like every day sneakers. Others have a more formal leather look to them. The same can be said of performance shoes. You can find both casual and formal options in a range of colours and materials.

Best bowling shoes buying guide

Comfort

Look for shoes that are comfortable for standing as well as bursts of intense movement. You’re unlikely to be wearing your bowling shoes for more than a few hours at a time. Still, you might be standing for that entire time. And when you move during a bowling match, you move hard and fast. 

Specific features start with a flexible upper. Padding is good too. Flexibility and padding mean your shoes fit well and don’t bite into your foot. It’s nice to have a padded tongue and ankle collar too. These support your foot and reduce rubbing. 

Moisture-wicking linings in the shoe and insole will keep your feet cool and dry while bowling. Especially when they are combined with perforations in the upper that increase breathability. You’ll also want the insole to offer some amount of cushioning and stability

Interchangeable sole vs left/right-handed sole

There are two types of bowling shoes. The first is the interchangeable sole bowling shoe. These shoes use different technologies to help both shoes slide as well as grip. They can be used by left and right-handed players. They can are good for beginners who don’t know their bowling hand. They’re also good for ambidexterous players, anyone sharing bowling shoes and rented bowling shoes.

The downside to these “ambidexterous” shoes is performance. They’re comfortable, they’re athletic, and they grip and slide well. But if you’re looking for an edge in a competitive bowling game, there’s no replacing a one-handed bowling shoe pair. A pair like this will use one shoe for braking and the other for sliding. The braking shoe will provide grip during toe-off and for slide control. The sliding shoe will give you an easy, balanced slide.

You may wonder how big the difference is. The answer is, “it depends”. During a short game, a skilled bowler may perform equally well in both shoe types. A beginner is unlikely to gain much from switching to a left or right-handed shoe. They may even find it difficult to adjust to the more complex technique of sliding with one foot and braking with the other.

But if you’re playing competitively, especially in a league setting, you will notice the difference. Interchangeable sole shoes make it harder to balance during a slide. They require more effort and control during toe-off. They tire you out faster and lead to worse results. This is why professional bowling footwear is almost always one-handed.

When should I buy my own bowling shoes?

If you’ve never owned a pair of bowling shoes, don’t rush to buy one now. Instead, go to your local bowling alley a few times. Use the rental bowling shoes there. If possible, hire a trainer or get a more experienced friend to play with you. Learn from them, at least a little, and practice your technique. Read online articles and watch videos to understand bowling technique. And notice what you like and dislike about the rental shoe you’re using.

Once you’ve done all that, you can buy a bowling shoe. At this point you’ll know what to look for. You’ll know what you need in terms of slide and grip. You’ll see how much balance and stability you need from your shoe. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll understand what’s lacking in the rental shoe you’ve been using. This will tell you which features to prioritize in your first bought pair.

Can I turn a regular shoe into a bowling shoe?

Yes, there are several ways to turn a regular shoe into a bowling shoe. And they all involve adding some form of slide sole. However, unless you get an expert to do it for you, a converted shoe is unlikely to perform as well as a proper bowling shoe.  

The easiest way is to get a professional to do it for you. Some cobblers will perform this service. But there are also companies online that specialise in transforming any shoe into a bowling shoe.

If you want to attempt the DIY approach, there are plenty of resources online that can help with detailed instructions. But essentially, you’ll be adding a new sole to the shoes. Still, we strongly suggest making sure the shoe you’re considering has a non-marking rubber outsole. This will mean you can continue to use at least some of the outsole’s surface. Here are 2 DIY videos we like:

In Closing...

The best bowling shoes we tested are the Dexter Pro Am 2’s for men and the KR Strikeforce Kross for women. Both shoes deliver much greater performance than standard rental shoes.

They’re incredibly comfortable and hardwearing. They’re also stylish and perform well.

To buy any of the shoes on this page, consider using the links above. We run no ads and have no sponsors. We rely on our readers to keep Shoethority going and appreciate your support!

Writer:

Tim Ashdown

Buyer's Guide Author:

Dr. Enes

Last Updated:

May 19, 2022

Tim Ashdown

Tim is an avid hiker, self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and lover of all things outdoors. He spends long hours researching the best equipment for every adventure. 

“Whether it’s hiking through Europe, white water rafting in the Amazon basin or lazing on a beach in Southeast Asia, having the right gear can make or break a trip. Time spent researching is time well spent!” 

Although Tim’s a big proponent of barefoot shoes, he won’t be pigeon-holed. His current shoe collection includes Supra skate shoes, Merrell walking boots, Vivobarefoot hiking shoes and of course, the obligatory classic Vans.  

Dr. Katherine Enes

Dr. Enes is a doctor (M.D.) specializing in physical therapy, osteopathy and sports medicine. As a working doctor, she helps patients rehab and improves athletes’ biomechanics.

Dr. Enes is also a sports enthusiast. She’s tried capoeira, Crossfit, Swedish walking and more. Her main sports are general fitness and walking. 

As a writer for Shoethority, Dr. Enes covers biomechanics, injury recovery, injury prevention and more.