A good game of bowling can depend on your form and technique and your shoes can make a world of difference. A good pair of bowling shoes can greatly improve your game. If you’re a casual bowler who doesn’t play often, you can probably get away with renting, but if you’re a regular player or looking to get more serious, your very own pair of bowling shoes will help you take your game to the next level. There are Be careful if you’re a left-handed bowler though. Many pro shops stock ambidextrous or right handed pairs only. Are there left handed bowling shoes? Yes, there are and their soles differentiate them from right handed or ambidextrous bowling shoes. In this article, we’ll list and review the best left handed bowling shoes for men and women and show you how to select the right pair for you.
Bowling shoes are designed to protect you and the alley floor. Normal shoes are too stiff and their soles can damage the alley floor. Proper bowling shoes, on the other hand, have leather or non-marking rubber outsole that will give you necessary traction and at least one slippery sole that slides effortlessly across the floor and will give you great balance and support. There are a few different types of shoes available for bowling, so choose wisely.
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks…
BEST FOR MEN
Hammer Men’s KR Strikeforce Performance
- Interchangeable slide and traction soles
- H-Bar* heel locking system
- Flexible TPU outsole and Ortholite® 3D Deluxe Insole
BEST FOR WOMEN
Dexter Womens SST 8 Pro
- Interchangeable soles and heels
- Rubber sole for traction
- TPU Toe Drag Protector
Dexter Men’s Pro Am II
- Slide sole on right shoe
- Rubber outsoles
Difference Between Left and Right Handed Bowling Shoes
If you’re looking to play seriously, one of the top tips for a left-handed bowler to follow is to wear the correct shoes. You might be confused about why you’d want shoes made for left-handed people if you’re a lefty. The reason lies in the soles. Regular bowling shoes, like the ones you can rent at the bowling alley, have identical soles on both shoes for sliding. This means that it doesn’t matter what your dominant hand is. These shoes are also known as athletic bowling shoes.
When you’re left-handed, your sliding shoe is on your right foot and the traction shoe is on your left. For right-handed shoes, the traction sole is on your right foot and your sliding sole will be on the left.
For the best performance as a left handed bowler, you should buy a pair of pro performance bowling shoes that have interchangeable soles, allowing you to swap traction and sliding soles whenever you want or replace a sole once you see a bit of wear.
Bowling Shoes That Don’t Slide
If you want to increase your sliding ability, regardless of which shoe you own, you might want to consider purchasing a bowling shoe slider. You fit them over the sliding sole of your shoe, and they help you slide better. They come in one size, but they should fit shoes in a wide range of sizes. They are great for use with synthetic approaches, or if you live in a humid place that might affect your sliding.
The best alternative to a shoe slider is shoe slide powder. Just a small amount applied on the sole of your sliding foot is enough for when you need some extra sliding power. Don’t apply it on the heel if you use it to brake your slide as you release the bowling ball. If you only use your other foot for traction, then apply the powder on the heel as well.
Men’s Left Handed Bowling Shoes
Dexter Men’s Pro Am II Bowling Shoes Left Handed
The Dexter Pro Am II shoes are a budget-friendly foray into personal bowling shoes, without compromise on quality. These shoes are very comfortable, with padded tongues and soft fabric linings. The push-off sole on the left shoe is made of rubber, and the sliding sole on the right shoe is microfibre. These shoes have raised heels, and promise comfort and performance. The soles are not interchangeable or replaceable, however. Sizing follows regular men’s shoe sizing.
Hammer Men’s KR Strikeforce Performance Bowling Shoes
The Hammer Force Performance shoes are a good choice for seasoned bowlers who play regularly. They look good, and they promise to feel good, too. They’ll feel lightweight and you’ll be smooth down the approach and stable at the foul line. These shoes are very comfortable and you won’t take long to break into them. That’s a bonus if you want to start wearing them immediately without having to worry about potential blisters.
They have interchangeable slide and traction soles, allowing you to change them to suit your form. The outsole is made of flexible TPU, while the insole is made of Ortholie 3D Deluxe cushioned insoles. Your feet will stay dry because of the breathability that the open mesh tongue and collar provide.
The only downside to these shoes is their cost, which makes them out of reach if you’re on a budget. However, in addition to this being a high quality bowling shoe, you get a number of extras in the package. These include a white microfiber slide sole pad, a T02 rubber push off sole, and a graduated rubber and shark tooth heel on the shoe. Other extras included in the box are a grey felt slide pad, a perforated white microfiber slide pad, a black leather heel, a shoe cover, and a Hammer accessory bag.
Short break-in period.
Dexter Bowling – Mens – SST 8 Pro
These Dexter SST 8 Pros are the professional sibling of the Pro Am IIs. They have interchangeable soles and are made of full-grain leather. The sliding sole has a leather guard, so you don’t have to worry about it peeling with use. The traction sole is made of Goodyear rubber, and is replaceable. It should last you a long time and when it does eventually wear down, you don’t have to buy new ones. These LH bowling shoes are made of breathable fabric, and you aren’t likely to sweat in them. They are also well padded, have midsoles that mold to the foot, and are very comfortable to wear. The break-in time on these shoes is minimal, allowing you maximum comfort right from the start.
Pyramid Men’s Ram Bowling Shoes
The Pyramid Ram shoes are the most conventional looking ones we’ve looked at so far. These are classic sliding shoes, with sliding soles on both shoes, making them suitable for both lefties and right-handed bowlers. Despite the sliding soles, they still offer plenty of support, and have rubber heels for braking and balance. If you’re used to the older style of bowling shoes that focus on slide rather than on traction, these are a great budget friendly pair of shoes that won’t let you down. If you find them a bit slippery, you can buff the sliding sole down a little with a coarse brush to take the slipperiness down a notch or just get used to them for the first few games while you break the microfiber soles in.
Good for pros and beginners alike.
More slippery than the other shoes on this list.
Dexter Men’s Turbo II Wide Bowling Shoes
The Dexter Turbo II shoes have a wide design to accommodate people with wide feet. They have a combination of universal sliding soles and rubber heels, allowing for different play styles. If you’re used to rental shoes, it may take a bit of practice to get used to sliding and braking, but these soles will help you with proper form and action. They take a little longer to break in than the other shoes on this list, but once you break them in, they are perfectly soft and pliable for a comfortable wear. To break them in, you can consider wearing them and walking around at home. These are extremely affordable and a perfect pair for beginners and casual bowlers who want their own pair of shoes.
Sizing accurate to regular shoe sizes.
They are very stiff until you break them in.
Might be a bit too wide for some people.
Women’s Left Handed Bowling Shoes
Dexter Womens SST 8 Pro
The Dexter Women’s SST 8 Pros are identical in features to the Men’s SST 8 Pros above. They just come in white instead of black and follow women’s shoe sizing charts. Like the male variant, these are professional shoes with interchangeable soles and maximum comfort.
Pyramid Women’s Path Lite Seamless Mesh Bowling Shoes
The Pyramid Women’s Path Lite shoes are a stylish, comfortable pair of bowling shoes that will keep you at the top of your form and look great while you’re at it. The universal sliding soles and raised rubber heels are suitable for lefties and righties alike, and let you adjust your form until you’ve worked out what works. The footbeds that are provided for additional support are removable in case you don’t need them. They’re breathable and lightweight with mesh uppers, making them very comfortable. They are perfect for beginners and for seasoned bowlers who prefer dual sliding soles, and they won’t hurt your pocket.
Quite stiff until you break into them.
SaVi Bowling Products Women’s Classic
The SaVi Women’s Classic shoes are light on your feet and light on your pocket. Comfortable and breathable, these athletic bowling shoes have universal sliding soles and rubber heels and are suitable for bowlers of any skill level. Some players may find them a bit too slippery because there’s no rubber near the toe, but with a bit of practice, they’ll be great.
These shoes are slightly narrow, perfect for women with narrow to normal feet. Give these a miss if you have wider feet, or size up.
Suitable for any skill level.
Dexter Bowling Women’s Vicky
The Dexter Vicky athletic style bowling shoes are a great, budget friendly option for women who want shoes that will help them perform while not being an eyesore. The modern design makes them look like sneakers. The universal synthetic soles will give you just the right amount of slide. The synthetic material is comfortable and lightweight and it provides great arch support, making them very comfortable. The horseshoe heel on the rubber outsoles provides great support and grip. They break in quickly, and you can use them immediately. If you have an unconventional bowling style, you’ll find that these shoes will hold up perfectly.
Horseshoe heel provides good grip.
Feel and look like sneakers.
Features to Consider When Choosing Bowling Shoes for a Left Hander
Having gone over the best bowling shoes for left handed bowlers, it’s good to know what features are important to consider when choosing a good pair of bowling shoes. Here are some of the things you should look at when deciding which bowling shoes are right for you.
Durability is one of the most important aspects to consider. Like all pairs of shoes, bowling shoes are an investment and can be expensive. You should check to see that the shoes you’re looking to buy will last you.
The insole is the inner part of your shoe, and is very important to consider when buying your bowling shoes. Your shoes need to have a snug fit, and the insoles need to be made of a good material that won’t get misshapen over time, which will affect the fit of your shoes.
If your chosen shoes’ insoles don’t feel comfortable enough even after breaking them in, consider getting EVA foam insoles, as they mold to the foot and provide extra comfort. If you suffer from flat-footedness or any other foot impediment, choose memory foam insoles. There are other less expensive options but they won’t be as durable or mold to the foot like EVA or memory foam.
Your outsoles will determine how much you slide while making your approach for your shot. They should be made of rubber, possibly with microfibres added to them, and they should not provide traction, since that would negate the point of a sliding sole. It isn’t recommended to use shoes with soles made of anything other than rubber, because they will degrade faster than any other material.
Lightweight shoes will give you a good advantage while bowling. If your shoes are too heavy, you will get foot fatigue, which will affect your form in later frames of the game. On the other hand, lightweight shoes may not last as long, and heavier shoes will likely last longer.
Toe, Inner Collar, Added Heal, Padded Lining
If you like to slide a fair bit while bowling, a snubbed toe will allow for more efficient movement.
An inner padded collar is very important for comfort, as it can help reduce rubbing that causes blisters and abrasions in the front of the foot. It also helps keep your feet as dry as possible.
An added heel will add weight to your shoes so that you feel more stable, but they will reduce the shoe’s give for sliding, which might be a hindrance if you prefer to slide more.
Padded lining greatly enhances comfort, which means your feet won’t be screaming in pain at the end of your game. With comfortable, well-padded shoes, you’ll be able to play longer and better.
If you play for longer periods of time, say, for example, if you take part in tournaments regularly or just play multiple games at a stretch, ventilation is key. Well-ventilated shoes will keep your feet from heating up and sweating, which reduces the chance that you’ll have a bad case of smelly feet at the end of your games.
What is the difference between bowling shoes and regular shoes?
The main difference between bowling shoes and regular shoes is the sole. The soles of bowling shoes are designed to slide, while regular shoes have soles designed to firmly grip the ground so you don’t fall while you’re outdoors. Bowling shoes slide on the alley floor quite nicely, which is necessary for your approach, but they also have sufficient traction for balance and braking at the end. If you attempt to bowl in street shoes, there’s a high chance that you will fall, because they just aren’t designed for sliding and giving traction at the same time. Street shoes are also not allowed at bowling alleys because they damage the floor.
Can you wear bowling shoes outside?
The simple answer to this question is – no, please don’t wear your bowling shoes outdoors. They’re too slippery for streetwear, and you would be at risk of seriously injuring yourself if you wear them outdoors, especially in snowy or wet conditions. Additionally, the soles of your shoes will get damaged by rough outdoor streets, making them less effective for sliding.
How do I stop my bowling shoes from sliding?
If you have a pair of bowling shoes with soles that are too slippery, try using a bowling shoe sole brush to rough up the slippery sole in between frames. You can find one online or at pro shops.