Why do you have to wear bowling shoes when you go bowling with your friends?
Bowling might not be the world’s most popular pastime activity, but that doesn’t mean that millions and millions of people don’t go bowling on a regular. You’re probably one of them.
You’re obsessed with the concept of bowling, but you’re not sure about the questionable footwear. You don’t understand why bowling alleys force you to swap your fresh New Balance sneakers for odorous, worn-out, and out-of-date bowling kicks.
Now, you understand that not everyone’s happy to buy brand-new footwear for a day of fun. However, you can’t get over the awkwardness of putting on the world’s ugliest footwear when you’re on a date, getting to know your colleagues from work, or hanging out with your fashionable friends.
Before you ever even went bowling, you thought you were 100% supposed to wear your street sneakers or bring whatever clean ones you’ve got – but no, the bowling alley staff made you put on a pair of kicks that have been worn by God knows how many people before you.
OK, why do you have to wear bowling shoes?
Bowling alleys typically underline a few easy-to-follow rules meant to keep you safe. On one hand, you might not agree with them when you’re reprimanded for wearing something they don’t deem appropriate or bringing your own food and drinks when you’re hanging out with friends.
On the other, you know that you’re not supposed to drink anything on the approach to ensure you don’t slip and fall because you spilled a sugary drink on the floor a few minutes ago. Or, you know you’re not supposed to keep your sneakers, bags, or belongings on the approach for the same reason.
But when the conversation shifts toward the fact that you’re not allowed to wear your own footwear – you’re tempted to throw a punch or two. Before you cause a scene at the bowling alley, though, make sure you check the reasons why you have to wear bowling kicks down below!
1. Because they’re made for bowling
Bowling shoes are made specifically for bowling. They are designed to offer you the features you need to perform better, protect your feet, keep you safe on slippery lanes, and keep the bowling alley scuff-free.
Before you argue how you could do the same with regular New Balance, Adidas, or Nike sneakers, that’s simply not the case. Regular sneakers are great for walking, running, and working out, but they’re not designed to accommodate the needs of a bowler or a bowling alley.
Rather than making the same shoes for everyone, brands that manufacture bowling shoes make sure to design them depending on the specific style of bowling, age, and gender.
Men’s and women’s bowling shoes aren’t the same. Right-handed, left-handed, universal, and bowling shoes with interchangeable soles are made to favor different preferences and needs.
2. Because they allow a wider range of movement
Why do you have to wear bowling shoes, you wonder?
Because they’re designed to allow a wider range of movement! Most people think that the best bowling kicks need to offer plenty of traction to prevent you from slipping and falling on the slippery lanes.
Moreover, people think they’d be better off wearing regular sneakers because they’re sliding left and right when they’re wearing bowling shoes.
However, that’s what they’re supposed to do. The very best bowling shoes are made with slick soles to ensure you can glide on the surface of the lane, move your body without restriction, and perform better.
Regular sneakers would put too much pressure on your ankles, knees, and wrists when you’re trying to swing the heavy bowling ball.
3. Because they protect the bowling alley
Safety, range of movement, and comfort are the main reasons why bowling alleys force you to wear bowling shoes. We also can’t forget about the fact that bowling shoes protect the alley, too. Where do we even start?
On the off chance that you were allowed to wear your outside sneakers, you’d dirty the entire place within minutes.
On top of that, not everyone’s wearing soft, rubbery sneakers which means the polished floors would be damaged, dilapidated, and scuffed. Oh and, not to mention the fact that the floors would be damp or wet from everyone’s muddy boots during the colder months.
Bowling alleys know what they’re doing and you should trust that they’re doing what’s best for everyone. You can always buy your own bowling kicks and battle the “eww, I’m wearing someone’s shoes” thoughts you get the moment you put them on.
Why do some bowlers bring their own bowling shoes?
OK, here’s the thing – people who go bowling on a regular, compete, or generally spend a lot of time bowling might want to spend some money on comfortable bowling kicks.
One of the biggest problems with the ones you get at the bowling alley happens to be that they’re super, super uncomfortable. Whether they’re stiff and sturdy, worn-out and falling apart, or more slippery than necessary, you might have a hard time practicing, getting better, and seeing progress.
When you buy your own bowling kicks, you can choose what works best for you – whether that’s a right-handed or left-handed pair, or something completely different. Whatever you decide to do, though, know that you’re not required to buy your own bowling shoes.
When do you need to buy your own bowling shoes?
Well, that’s the thing – you don’t need to buy them.
While no requirement says you need to buy your own bowling shoes when you enter a competition or become a regular, you might want to spend some money on comfortable, supportive bowling shoes when you notice you’re spending quite some time at the bowling alley.
However, you may start thinking of buying your own bowling shoes because you’re grossed out by the ones you’re offered or worried that you might catch some sort of foot fungus. There’s really no reason why that would ever happen.
Bowling alleys are required to clean the bowling shoes after each use with a disinfectant and/or an antifungal spray. Moreover, you’re required to wear socks or some sort of protection over your foot, too. More often than not, you’re not likely to contract anything by donning a shared pair of shoes.
What are the best bowling shoes to keep an eye on when shopping?
1. Brunswick Vapor
Starting with a bang, the Brunswick Vapor bowling shoes are going to make you stop wondering “Why do you have to wear bowling shoes?!”
When you put them on, you’re going to notice that they’re much more comfortable than the bowling shoes you get at the bowling alley. That’s because they’re made with breathable and lightweight synthetic fabrics.
Not to mention that they’re equipped with microfiber slide pads that allow you to move on the slippery floor without problems. On top of that, they’re padded for comfort and made with extra light EVA outsole so they’re perfect for beginners.
2. KR Strikeforce Flyer Mesh
KR Strikeforce Flyer Mesh bowling kicks come as a close second for a reason. They’re breathable and lightweight, comfortable and supportive, and made with high-quality, hard-wearing fabrics. They are fully textile lined with a padded collar for the ultimate experience.
They’re made with microfiber slide pads with FlexSlide technology that ensure you’re comfortable throughout the day (or many, many hours you spend bowling). They’re also equipped with non-marking rubber outsoles, too, to protect the polished floors when you’re gliding and sliding.
Truth be told, they’re a decent option for the price tag.
3. Pyramid Path
When you’re on the hunt for bowling kicks that look nothing like average bowling kicks, we’ve got you covered.
Pyramid Path provides superior footwear you can sport on and off the lane thanks to the athletic Lite Mesh range. Right off the bat, these bowling sneakers (yes, sneakers) are breathable and lightweight because they’re made with knitted fabric and a mesh upper.
They’re equipped with microfiber slide pads and removable comfort footpads for additional support. They’re designed with lightweight outsoles and raised rubber heels which ensure you can move on the floor without feeling restricted.
4. BSI Classic Black
BSI Classic Black bowling shoes are as simple and sleek as you might think.
They’re made with a leather upper that allows airflow and keeps your feet dry. Their designers accounted for comfort, support, and stability with a padded tongue and collar.
These bowling shoes are equipped with non-marking sliding soles to ensure a wider range of movement without scuffing the floors. Other than that, they’re embellished with an embossed logo design for that signature look.
5. Bowlerstore Classic
We’ve arrived at the end of the article with one of our favorites – Bowlerstore Classic bowling shoes. Defined by the old-school bowling alley style, these bowling shoes are what dreams are made of.
With rubber soles, non-marking raised heels, soft durable uppers, and a blucher upper pattern for a comfortable fit, they’re equipped with everything you might need. Because of that, they’re perfect for plantar fasciitis, plantar plate tear, or other feet-related problems you might be suffering from.