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Best Bowling Shoes

A night at the bowling alley is typically a pretty casual affair. You pay for the lane, find a ball and rent the garish looking bowling shoes without a second thought. For those who take the sport a lot more seriously, this list is meant for you. A good pair of shoes can have an extremely positive effect on your form and your game can greatly improve as a result.

Bowling shoes are meant to protect you and the alley floor as normal shoes are too stiff for you to move correctly so when you make your approach to throw the ball, your soles could damage the floor finish. Bowling shoes are outfitted with leather or non-marking rubber soles meant to slide across the floor easily while affording you a perfect balance of support and flexibility upon release of the ball. Like all sports gear, there are brands and models best suited for various skill levels offering interchangeable soles, arch support, high-end upper materials, and pairs accommodating right or left-handed bowlers.

Our list of the five best picks for men’s bowling shoes present options for every budget and ability, each one chosen on criteria including their absolute comfort, quick break-in times, inclusion of performance enhancing soles, convenient universal fitting, and of course the long-term gameplay value each shoe offers.

Dexter Men's SST 8 SE Bowling Shoes

The SST 8 was designed to accommodate any type of bowler, whether right or left handed and manufactured with a leather upper which is soft and easy to quickly break in. The big selling point here is their versatility because Dexter has manufactured their Men’s SST SE with two types of interchangeable soles including a slide pair and a traction pair. This variety allows you to choose which foot you'll push off with to better suit your approach.

These shoes also come with two interchangeable heels to lighten the shoes weight overall and hit the right sole/heel combination complimentary to your style. To protect the soles from peeling off, the shoes have a drag protector along the toe so they stay firmly in place throughout the game. These shoes tend to run big, so you may want to consider picking a pair a half size smaller. From comfort to function, Dexters well made SST 8 SE bowling shoes excel in nearly every category.

3G Mens Tour Ultra Black Bowling Shoes- Right Hand

The hefty price tag might put a few people off, but for those of you who don't mind dropping around $200 on a pair of bowling shoes, the Tour Ultra's are pretty impressive. They've been built from soft, supple Kangaroo leather making them some of the most comfortable footwear you'll ever wear inside a bowling alley. The soles of the shoes are made of Kevlar with rubber traction so you won't be spending more money on another pair anytime soon.

These shoes are built to last a long while so don't worry about air circulation either as these have plenty of ventilation along the inner soles so they won't make your feet hot either. We haven't even gotten to the heel and sole customizing options that come with the 3G's, with four interchangeable soles made of deer skin, back skin, chrome leather and cleated, three interchangeable heels including flat normal, rippled and back skin in addition to three cleat sets, Teflon, back skin, and felt. If that's not enough, you get shoe trees, a slide-sole cover, and a shoe bag.

Brunswick Men's Flyer Bowling Shoes

The Flyer keeps this bowling shoe affordable by using a synthetic leather upper that’s soft and comfortable right out of the box and doesn't require much of a break-in period by way of Brunswick's Komfort-Fit construction design. Textile mesh lining and padding along the tongue and collar of the shoe offers additional comfort in the places where blisters can develop all too easily. This is a universal sole shoe that works for any player, no matter if they're right-handed or left, and it features a non-marking rubber outsole suitable for use in any bowling alley. You get a choice of colors here with simple black, a black/white combination, black/blue, and camo. The price tag on the Flyer is also quite likable, available at around $40 depending on which retailer you choose.

BSI Men's Basic #521 Bowling Shoes

Boasting a supple leather upper and rubber outsole, the BSI 521 is a durable and resilient shoe that’s perfect for folks with wide feet. That can be an issue for many of us, but not to worry, these will feel comfortable without any pinch or squeeze as they're soft and easy on the feet; however, the sizes run a bit big so keep that in mind when buying them online. Their plain black exterior doesn't even look like a bowling shoe either, resembling more of a casual loafer instead which can be a strong selling point to some who would rather own than rent when they hit the lanes. These shoes also have a universal slide sole so they can be worn by all bowlers.

Pyramid Men's Ram Black Bowling Shoes

Pyramid presents their Ram Black bowling shoe, part of their great line of bowling products. These shoes perform surprisingly better than you would think given their low price. The soles don't take long to break in and offer some of the best slide of any bowling shoe in this price range or higher. A thin layer of felt ensures consistent footwork and the longer you use these shoes, the better they perform.

The Ram Black is among the most comfortable shoes on our list and they're universally appropriate for left or right handed bowlers. As their name implies, these shoes come in black with a classy little white adornment giving them look like they stepped off an episode of Mad Men. Pyramid offers a two year warranty for these shoes in the unlikely event something goes wrong with them.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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