Bowling scam

Is there a legit reason to require bowlers to wear special ‘bowling’ shoes? It’s got to be a scam, right?

For a right handed bowler, the right shoe has a rubber sole for traction, while the left is leather so it slides a little at the end of your approach. It makes for a smoother delivery. It’s no more of a scam than baseball players wearing only one glove!

I think that most athletic shoes are no good for bowling – they don’t let you slide enough.

How would it be a “scam”? Who’s making money out of the deal (apart from the shoe manufacturers of course)? No bowling alley I’ve ever been to charges for shoe hire.

As has been said before me… wrong.

The other point is that most shoes, particularly in the old leather sole days, have embedded sand & junk in them. And you’ll tear up the approach area of the lane bringing that debris in on your street shoes and then sliding around.

The bolwling shoes, whether your own or the ones you check out from the shop, are kept inside and should be free of embedded debris.

It wasn’t that many years ago that everyone was expected to remove their street shoes before walking on a basketball court floor. Or they’d lay down heavy paper or a rug before holding a dance or meeting in a basketball court.

You can bowl naked, but you HAVE to wear the shoes.

The ones here in Mass do. IIRC, it’s $1-2 rental, for the entire time you’re there, as opposed to using the lane, which goes by 30 minute increments. Of course, it’s that crazy candlepin bowling up here in New England, so who knows what else they get wrong.

Concur. Custom here in New England is that you DO pay to rent the shoes pretty much anywhere. I don’t bowl much, but I’ve always wondered how much a cheap pair costs. Can’t be that many trips to break even.

This must only be on the most professional of models. Not only have I rented bowling shoes a number of times, but I also now own a pair (I joined a very amateur bowling league.) Neither when I rented nor when I bought was there any specifcation for right vs left handed bowling. And I’ve looked at the bottom of my bowling shoes and they are the same.

But as others have said, bowling shoes are only worn in the bowling alley. Some people go so far as to only wear them on the actual bowling lane and the area next to the lane where the tables and score computer thingy are. If they want to go get a drink, or use the bathroom, they either change shoes, or wear little booties to cover them so they don’t get debris that can both affect their game by not letting them slide properly, and mess up the lane (which is the reason bowling alleys make you wear shoes. Good bowling alleys put a lot of effort into keeping the lanes smooth.) personally, that’s a bit extreme for me and my 140 average score, so I just keep them on the whole time, unless I have to actually go outside.

Edit: And I’m in NE, but I’ve only ever done real bowling…candlepin isn’t as popular in VT as it is in southern NE. But I will say that shoe rental runs $2-$3 for the whole time your bowling, not per game. I’ve encountered the same in various parts of NY and in one part of SC. I bought shoes because it was cheaper than renting every week for the league (11 week league, so it would have been $33 for shoes, while my brand new ones, that also have the benefit of only being worn by me and not thousands of other people, were $30.)

I am by no means a bowling expert but all the shoes I have seen have a rubber heel and a smooth (slippery) sole. Presumably you get some traction when walking heel to toe but can slide while you’re on the balls of your feet.

I’ve never been to a bowling alley that doesn’t charge for shoe rentals. However, I do agree that bowling shoes are necessary to protect the wood. I’d say most people that bowl don’t need them for better performance. The ones that do already have their own shoes.

Those times I have bowled (in Sweden) shoes have always been included in the price.

You definitely need the sliding action of bowling shoes if you’re doing it right. The approach is to transfer your own forward motion to the ball, in addition to the arm swing, to give the ball more speed. If you had sneakers on, once you let go of the ball and tried to stop you’d fall forward when your feet stuck or have to do that awkward running quick stop and potentially end up on the oiled lane. I’ve fallen forward when the bottom of my bowling shoe got wet and stuck unexpectedly. By sliding after releasing the ball, you can come to a stop more smoothly.

If you were just standing still and swinging your arm to release the ball, you don’t technically need the shoes. However, requiring everyone to wear them keeps the approach area clean so other bowlers can keep their shoes clean and slide properly and not fall unexpectedly if their shoe gets wet. Usually I test my shoe before starting the approach but sometimes you forget.

Is that where the term “sock hop” for a high school dance came from back in the 1950s?

But surely that is another leather goods manufacturer scam. Cricketers all over the world take far more difficult catches without using any form of glove at all.

It would seem so. Funny, I never thought of that. It was just one of those terms that I accepted, without engaging my brain I guess.

Of course, cricket comes from the same place as rugby where they play football without pads or a real helmet; seems those Brits are really into pain. From experience, you want that glove in baseball.

I agree, the shoes are to prevent street grit damage and black scuff marks and other damage (would some people try to bowl in high heels??) to the lane.

I’m not seeing very many bowling alleys opening up lately-in fact, I know of three establishments that have shut down in the last couple of years. Nobody is getting rich running these things, so if the shoe fee is helping keeping my local alley open, I’ll gladly pay.

30 years ago when I was in school the coaches would always make a real big deal about keeping street shoes off the BB court. Even our local city gym made you bring in shoes to play BB and that was a tile floor.