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View Full Version : What's the difference between bowling shoes and regular shoes?


AThingWithFeathers
11-18-2005, 02:07 PM
I was at a bowling alley the other day and noticed the bowling shoes they were selling looked almost like sneakers, some of them with no differences that I could tell (I was only looking at them from the side, not taking them out of boxes.)

So, what's the real difference between bowling shoes and your everyday pair of shoes? I always assumed it had something to do with friction and not falling, but now I'm not sure.

fishbicycle
11-18-2005, 02:10 PM
They have soft, heel-less and treadless soles that won't scratch up or mar the wood on the lanes.

gotpasswords
11-18-2005, 02:14 PM
You guessed right - it has to do with friction.

One shoe will have a "sliding" sole and the other has a non-sliding sole. The sliding sole is on the side opposite of whichever hand you use - for right-handed bowlers, that means the left shoe will slide.

AThingWithFeathers
11-18-2005, 02:30 PM
Thank you both for replying. But if friction on a certain shoe is part of it, why don't they ask you if you are left or right handed when you rent shoes? Are they going on the assumption that left handed bowlers would mention it?

rjung
11-18-2005, 03:47 PM
I think most bowling shoes nowadays just have sliding soles everywhere. You want the slide because it helps you with the delivery or somesuch.

deevee
11-18-2005, 06:59 PM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.

Cyn
11-18-2005, 08:02 PM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.

I bought my own bowling shoes for 20 bucks at KMart and use them for ballroom dance classes, too. They have suede leather soles ands rubber heels, so they have good slide and are more comfortable for long practice sessions than heels. They look like sneakers and are not blue/red/funky-looking

Cheesesteak
11-18-2005, 08:16 PM
Street shoes are very poorly suited to bowling. They are designed to grip the ground, bowling shoes are designed to not grip the ground, and allow a controlled, consistent slide.

Not only are the soles different, but everyone in my league would put the shoes on while at the alley, and take them off before leaving. The shoes never touched the outdoors, or any other surface that would damage the sole. Allow street shoes, and you'll get all manner of dirt, grit, and other scratchy stuff onto your lanes, which will screw them up royally.

pmh
11-18-2005, 08:29 PM
...why don't they ask you if you are left or right handed when you rent shoes?
Rental shoes have leather sliding soles on both shoes, so can be used by either left or right handed bowlers.

...bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes.

Not going to happen. Street shoes do very bad things to the very expensive approaches. Not to mention the liability issues. Bowling in street shoes is a sure recipie for a knee injury.

Gatopescado
11-18-2005, 10:41 PM
A couple a bucks you give the greasy shoe-rental guy. Except for the horrible smell and desease they carry.

Would you rent a toothbrush?

Guinastasia
11-18-2005, 10:51 PM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.


Yeah, but what they gained in business they'd end up having to spend to repair the lanes. Those floors would be utterly destroyed.

Stealth Potato
11-19-2005, 12:21 AM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.
The only way you can "bowl" in street shoes is if you walk up to the foul line and deliver the ball from a standing pose. :)

The slide pads are there for a reason. If I tried to bowl with my regular approach while wearing sneakers, I would overbalance on the last step and fly headfirst into the lane. This is also why in any sensible alley, they do not allow beverages in the bowling area. I stepped in a small puddle once without realizing it, and the next time I went up, I hit the ground. Fortunately, nothing was hurt besides my dignity, though I did have to rent a lane pair of shoes until mine dried.

They usually do spray deodorizer/disinfectant in the shoes whenever they're returned. If it really bothers you that much, though, just buy your own pair of bowling shoes.

DSYoungEsq
11-20-2005, 11:47 AM
Just so as to provide complete information:

These days, bowling shoes are available which allow you to change both the sliding pad and the heel of the shoe. This allows you to create various combinations of slide and stopping power, which you can choose among depending upon lane conditions (real wood or synthetic, highly polished or not, etc.).

For a really good bowling release, you need both an appropriate amount of slide on the foot opposite the ball, AND a good solid quick stop to help generate the lift and spin at the bottom of the swing. Too little slide, and you'll be forced to slow the swing down or fall on your face; too much slide and you won't get any resistance against which to convert the swing to crank and lift.

Street shoes are death on a bowling alley. Your outside shoes have all sorts of grime and stone stuck in the sole; slide with them and you are guaranteeing all sorts of nasty grooves in the nice wood approaches. Those approaches are not cheap to replace, which is why I shudder whenever I hear that awful THUD from someone who likes to release the ball early straight into the wood right before the foul line. :eek:

NinjaChick
11-20-2005, 02:38 PM
Would you rent a toothbrush?
No, but I wouldn't lick my rented bowling shoes, either.

Gary T
11-20-2005, 08:04 PM
I was at a bowling alley the other day and noticed the bowling shoes they were selling looked almost like sneakers...
They didn't used to. They had a unique and recognizable appearance, as did golf shoes. In the past several years, though, some street shoe designs have appeared which apparently were inspired by bowling shoes. It's not the bolwing shoes looking like sneakers, it's the sneakers looking like (i.e. imitating) bowling shoes.

Soylent Gene
11-21-2005, 12:35 AM
A couple a bucks you give the greasy shoe-rental guy. Except for the horrible smell and desease they carry.

Would you rent a toothbrush?

They carry disease? I'd love to have a cite for that.

Every time I've ever seen shoes returned, they are sprayed with disinfectant. They are probably cleaner than your own disease-ridden shoes.

Beware of Doug
11-21-2005, 09:17 AM
I always assumed bowling shoes were designed to cripple you if you tried to walk out of the alley wearing them. Every pair I ever wore was stiff as a plank.

Pushkin
11-21-2005, 09:31 AM
Course they disinfect them, didn't you see Saddam in The Big Lebowski?

I would assume that most people are right handed so they don't bother with right/left handed shoes. That and a lot of people may not bowl regularly enough to notice the difference.

DSYoungEsq
11-21-2005, 03:25 PM
Course they disinfect them, didn't you see Saddam in The Big Lebowski?

I would assume that most people are right handed so they don't bother with right/left handed shoes. That and a lot of people may not bowl regularly enough to notice the difference.
As has already been noted, the shoes you rent do not have a "pusher" shoe; both shoes are made with sliding soles. Many shoes you buy relatively cheaply do the same thing; I bowled with a pair that did that for years.

Pushkin
11-21-2005, 05:06 PM
As has already been noted, the shoes you rent do not have a "pusher" shoe; both shoes are made with sliding soles

I was suggesting why that might be, I saw the other posts :confused:

DSYoungEsq
11-21-2005, 06:59 PM
It's not a matter of people being mostly right-handed; it's a matter of being useable by both. The point is that, for anyone other than a bowler with plenty of experience and an approach which might need it, a "pusher" shoe is unnecessary.

Ike Witt
11-21-2005, 07:09 PM
I once bowled one ball while wearing street shoes. I ended up flat on my face and boy, was I embarassed. My friends and I couldn't stop laughing. I will never again roll another bowling ball without wearing bowling shoes.

psychonaut
11-21-2005, 09:08 PM
So, what's the real difference between bowling shoes and your everyday pair of shoes?In addition to the difference in the soles others have noted, most bowling shoes are extremely ugly—not something you'd want to wear outside a bowling alley. I presume they're made this way to discourage theft.

Clothahump
11-21-2005, 09:11 PM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.

They would go out of business. Street shoes would ruin the approaches and those things are expensive.

DSYoungEsq
11-22-2005, 04:10 PM
In addition to the difference in the soles others have noted, most bowling shoes are extremely ugly—not something you'd want to wear outside a bowling alley. I presume they're made this way to discourage theft.
Interestingly, fashion shoes lately have included so-called "bowling shoes." These are shoes that have the same general appearance of the bowling shoe, and often the same ridiculous coloration. Kids wear them; proving that there isn't anything that can't be made fashionable if Madison Avenue is willing to try. :p

Caelfind
07-03-2013, 03:54 PM
It is possible for kids' bowling shoes to just use the "rubber" bottomed slippers they sell at Target.

http://i.stpost.com/acorn-tex-moc-slippers-corduroy-for-boys-in-brindle~p~3819c_01~1500.3.jpg

Caelfind
07-03-2013, 03:55 PM
Or gripping socks? They are for kids, so I don't want to spend a lot for them to out grow them.

Caelfind
07-03-2013, 04:07 PM
Ballet slippers?

Harmonious Discord
07-03-2013, 04:43 PM
After all this time there is still a question on the difference. The answer is bowling shoes are fugly, to prevent someone with any shoes of their own not to steal them.

Keeve
07-03-2013, 08:37 PM
Bowling shoes are for zombies.

kaylasdad99
07-05-2013, 02:27 PM
A couple a bucks you give the greasy shoe-rental guy. Except for the horrible smell and desease they carry.

Would you rent a toothbrush?Hmmm.

For how mu--nevermind; NO! I WOULDN'T RENT A TOOTHBRUSH, NO MATTER HOW LITTLE IT COST!






Does it have one of those soft pointy rubber thin--wait, NO!

Clothahump
07-05-2013, 09:40 PM
Slight hijack but I think bowling alleys would do a hell of a lot more business if they just allowed street shoes. I absolutely refuse to rent and wear a stinking old pair of shoes therefore I will absolutely never go bowling.

Street shoes will destroy the approach to the lanes, which is why they are a bozo no-no. Back when I used house shoes, I never got a pair that stank or was old. Now that I have my own shoes, it's not something that matters to me any more.