Best Bowling Shoes

Interested in picking up a new hobby this year? Bowling is an exciting leisure sport that has entertained millions of people for decades.  In almost any town, you can find a local bowling alley where you can enjoy a fun night out with a cold beer and easy laughs or take it to the next level and join a weeknight bowling league that can get you through the long workweek. No matter what your skill level, anyone bowling even a few times a week needs to invest in the best bowling shoes. While most bowling alleys offer rental shoes, buying your own pair of bowling shoes will quickly pay for itself in terms of rental savings and when you buy your own pair of shoes you’re purchasing a quality pair of shoes that fits your individual foot and doesn’t have a dozen pairs of feet shoved into it every night.

About Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes are an essential item in any bowler’s arsenal and are required in bowling alleys. Bowling shoes are required since the soles are designed to allow bowlers to safely slide at the end of the bowling ball release. The slide at the end of the bowling bowl release is essential to allow the bowler to smoothly roll the bowling ball. A smooth release will improve the accuracy and control of the bowler. If you tried the same slide in a pair of street shoes, you would topple over and could hurt yourself! Bowling shoes allow this smooth slide, which is essential to be at the top of your game.

When selecting a pair of bowling shoes, there are two broad categories that most bowling shoes fall in: Universal (or Recreational) and Performance style shoes. The key difference between the two styles is that either right-handed or left-handed bowlers can use a pair of Universal style shoes, but Performance style shoes are designed for either a right or left-handed bowler.

Universal shoes are designed for casual bowlers who may only bowl a few times per year and most rental shoes at bowling alleys are Universal shoes. Universal shoes can be used by both right and left-handed bowlers since both shoe bottoms have sliding surfaces. Performance shoes differ from Universal shoes in that Performance shoes have one sliding shoe that has a slick bottom and a brake shoe that has a rubber bottom. The brake shoe serves as both the launching foot for the slide and allows bowlers to catch themselves at the end of their slide. If you plan to get to the top of your game, it will be worth it to invest in Performance style shoes. In this review, we will only examine Performance style shoes, since this style gives bowlers the slide they need to be at the top of their game.

Factors to consider when buying the best bowling shoes

There are thousands of options when it comes to bowling shoes and so many different variations that can tweak your slide to make it perfect. However, you should first look at these factors when investing:

  • Shoe Fit
  • Adjustable Features
  • Value for Purchase

Factor #1: Shoe Fit

Like any shoes you buy, you need to take into consideration how the shoe fits your feet. Some manufacturers offer a more comfortable and flexible shoes that can fit a wide range of bowlers, while other companies product shoes that are designed to mold tightly to an individual’s foot.

Factor #2: Adjustable Features

Many Performance bowling shoes possess interchangeable slides and heels that will allow a bowler to customize the slide and release of their shoe. These interchangeable pieces allow a bowler to adapt to different bowling alley floors and zero in on what provides their best release. Playing on a scuffed up floor? Put a slicker slide on your shoes to maintain your typical release. Having these interchangeable pieces will allow a bowler to perfect their release in any bowling alley.

Factor #3: Value for Purchase

Like any purchase, you want to makes sure that you are purchasing the right shoes for your game. Depending on the style and fit you chose, bowling shoes could range from less than a hundred dollars to close to two hundred. Make sure you are selecting the right show for what you want.

Top 3 Bowling Shoes Reviews

Below are the three best bowling shoes on the market that can help you complete your bowling arsenal. All three options are produced by leading bowling shoe manufacturers and are available at major retailers such as Amazon, ShoeOnline and Bowling.com. The best 3 options are:

  • Pyramid HPX Bowling Shoes
  • Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes
  • Brunswick Performance TPU

So which is the best option for your bowling game? Here are some features and reviews that set these brands apart.

Pyramid HPX Bowling Shoes

This model is a Performance style shoes that seems ideal for the bowler that wants to save money, while investing in a good pair of bowling shoes. However, this pair of bowling shoes does not have the extra slides and heels a serious bowler would desire.

Feature #1: 100% Full Grain Leather Shoe Upper

The Pyramid HPX is crafted for comfort and durability. The leather construction on the shoe upper makes these shoes long lasting and is constructed to fit the bowler’s foot comfortably over years of use.

Feature #2: Thermal Polyurethane Outsole

The Pyramid HPX includes a unique outsole that reduces the break-in time for the shoe. The Polyurethane outsole is more flexible than your typical rubber sole. This allows the sole to morph around the wearer’s foot faster than a rubber sole would. This significantly reduces the time needed to break-in the shoes to your foot. Many bowling shoes can take several games to break-in completely and fit comfortably, but the Pyramid HPX is designed to reduce the break-in period and let you jump into your peak game faster.

Feature #3: Biomechanically Contoured Fit

The Pyramid HPX is designed foremost for comfort. The shape and fit of the shoes takes into account the unique strain bowler’s place on their feet. Many people consider bowling an injury-free sport, but the repetitive sliding used in bowling can place significant pressure on bowlers’ feet and lead to injuries in the foot, ankle and Achilles tendon. Many podiatrists point to arch strain as the root of many of these issues, so the Pyramid HPX is specifically formed to provide maximum arch support and reduce the potential for injuries.

Real User Feedback

The Pyramid HPX is highly rated on many retails sites and customers praised the shoe for its comfort, affordability and durability. Many customers noted that these shoes were one of the lightest and most form fitting shoes that had ever owned and the available shoes sizes are very true to the actual size of the foot. Some customers stated that the shoe fit more like an athletic shoe rather than the clunky bowling shoes they typically expect. Many people who purchased these bowling shoes were also very appreciative of the extra arch support. The biomechanically contoured design ensured that the shoes fit snugly on the entire bottom of the shoes and no reviews noted that they experienced any arch pain while wearing the Pyramid HPX.

Several reviews also noted that the Pyramid HPX was also very cost competitive and consistently costs less than the direct competitors for this pair of bowling shoes cost. However, many customers noted that the costs savings might have come from the manufacturer cutting extra features from the shoe.

The Pyramid HPX is a Performance style shoe and the shoes comes with interchangeable slide pads that will allow the customer to tweak their bowling shoes to their liking. However, the Pyramid HPX does not come with as many slide pad options as more expensive competitors. Many experienced bowlers who want to zero in on the perfect slide have complained that they have to buy more slide options, which negates the cost savings of the shoes. The bowling shoes also do not come with a shoe cover that will protect the shoes slides from moisture, which can cause the slides to become sticky. Many customers felt that the shoe covers should have been a standard feature that came with the package.

Pros of Pyramid HPX Bowling Shoes

  • Great fit for a whole range of feet
  • Affordable price as compared to competitors
  • Excellent arch support

Cons of Pyramid HPX Bowling Shoes

  • Does not come with many interchangeable slide and heel options
  • Price savings are due to fewer extras in package

Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

The Dexter Jack bowling shoes are a great shoe for an intermediate bowler that wants to comfortable while bowling, but is not interested in the adjustable features a serious bowler needs to be on the top of their game.

Feature #1: Fashionable Design

Many affordable brands of bowling shoes are not designed for the fashion conscious, but the Dexter Jack bowling shoes feature a sleek design that will not leave you feeling like you are wearing clown shoes. These bowling shoes look more like a pair of athletic shoes and come in a black and white design that will not make you stand out like a billboard.

Feature #2: Very Affordable

The Dexter Jack comes in at half the price of other Performance style shoes and is readily available at major online and physical store retailers. This affordable price means the shoes may be great for first time bowlers who do want to invest in a higher quality bowling shoes until they become a more committed bowler.

Feature #3: Fabric-line Shoe Interior with Padded Tongue and Collar

Dexter Jack bowling shoes are designed to emulate typical athletic shoes and the fabric-lined interior means that the shoes have a comfortable fit. The extra padding at the tongue and collar of the shoes will also help prevent irritation and blistering at the ankle that can occur after a long day of bowling.

Real User Feedback

Many customers were pleased with the Dexter Jack bowling shoes and appreciated the affordability and comfort of the shoe. However, many customers noted that the shoes fit on the narrower side, so people with wide feet may have trouble getting the right fit. The low price makes the shoe approachable for beginner bowlers, but many reviews indicated that you get what you pay for.

The Dexter Jack shoes lack many of the features a higher end pair of bowling shoes would have. Dexter Jack bowling shoes do not have interchangeable slides or heels, meaning that a bowler cannot adjust the shoe to fit their game. This also means that if the slide on the shoes wears out, the pair of shoes needs to be replaced, rather than just a single slide.

Some customers also noted that the shoes wore out faster than expected. These customers noticed that the bowling shoes showed signs of wear after only a few games. Some shoes began to have stiches comes loose and signs of separation between the shoe sole and the main shoe.

Several reviews also noted a serious design flaw in the shoes. The slide on the sliding shoe does not completely cover the toe of the shoe, meaning that the rubber toe of the shoe can grab the bowling alley floor and bring the sliding bowler to an abrupt stop. Some bowlers feel that they cannot use the shoes at all, since they end up almost falling on their face every time they use Dexter Jack bowling shoes.

Pros of Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

  • Very affordable price
  • Comfortable fit
  • Fashionable design

Cons of Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

  • No interchangeable slides or heels
  • Lack of durability
  • Design flaw means some bowlers may find the shoes unusable

Brunswick Performance TPU Bowling Shoes

Considered top of the line for the amateur bowler, the Brunswick TPU bowling shoes is designed to flawlessly follow the human foot and provide the best fit a bowler could ask for. While slightly more expensive than competing shoes, the Brunswick TPUs come standard with a whole host of extra slides, heels and accessories for the shoes. These bowling shoes are a high-quality investment that contains everything a bowler could need to get straight to competing.

Feature #1: Angled Flex Zone

The Brunswick TPU bowling shoe feature an angled ankle that is intended to more closely fit the human foot. Human feet are not perfectly straight and naturally bow out at the ankle. The Brunswick TPU design take this into consideration and features an angled shoe body that bows inward and allows a more natural fit.

Feature #2: H-Bar Heel Locking system

Brunswick TPU bowling shoes feature a patented heel pad locking system that allows new pads to be securely locked into the shoes. Other types of bowling shoes typically rely exclusively on Velcro to connect interchangeable heels, but the Velcro on the bowling shoes bottom will wear over time and allow the heel to fall off. The H-bar locking system is a plastic connection that reinforces the heel and helps prevent the heel from inadvertently releasing from the shoes. This creates a much stronger connection between the heel and the bowling shoe.

Feature #3: Ambidextrous Options

Like all Performance style bowling shoes, the Brunswick TPU is configured with a sliding and braking shoes that is set based on whether the bowler is right or left-handed. Typically, bowling shoes are specifically manufactured as either a right or left-handed shoes. However, the Brunswick TPU can be ambidextrous and reconfigured to either a right or left-handed style. This is due to the H-bar locking system, which is installed on both pairs of bowling shoes and allows the bowling shoes to be converted from right to left-handed style in minutes.

Real User Feedback

The majority of customers had positive feedback on the Brunswick TPU and enjoyed the comfortable fit of the shoes. Most reviews praised the bowling shoe fit and how the shoes fit perfectly right out of the box. The Brunswick TPUs did not require an extended break-in period to make the shoe comfortable and were ready for play as soon as the customer received them.

Many customers also noted that the Brunswick TPU bowling shoes come standard with a treasure trove of extra slides, heels and accessories. While the Brunswick TPU might be slightly more expensive than competitor brands, many customers felt that they ended up saving money since they did not have to buy the extra accessories that came standard with the Brunswick TPUs.

Reviews that were critical of the Brunswick TPUs mostly focused on the fit of the shoe size and the slide pads. Many customers noted that the Brunswick TPUs run a little bigger and wider than the advertised size, which made a little looser than expected. Other customers noted that the slide pads were a little stickier than expected and needed to be broke-in over a few games.

Pros of Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

  • Excellent shoe fit
  • Shoe can be ambidextrous
  • Shoe comes standard with many extra parts and accessories

Cons of Dexter Jack Bowling Shoes

  • Slight more expensive than competitors
  • Actual shoe size can be larger than advertised
  • Design flaw means some bowlers may find the shoes unusable

Comparison Between all 3 Models

So which style of bowling shoes is best for you game? Let’s compare these models using three of our factors listed at the beginning of the review.

Factor #1:  Shoe Fit

Based on real customer reviews for each model, customers find each style of show very comfortable and each type of bowling shoe fits like a normal street shoe. There are not any striking differences between the three models. Due to this, there is not a clear winner between the three models in this category.

Factor #2: Adjustable Features

Of the three bowling shoe models discussed, only the Pyramid HPX and Brunswick TPU models contain the adjustable features a serious bowler needs to perfect their game. The Dexter Jack bowling shoe is a very approachable shoe for beginners, but does not possess many of the key adjustable features a bowler would need to compete in a local league or championship. Between the Pyramid HPX and Brunswick TPU models, both models have adjustable heels and slides, but the Brunswick TPU bowling shoes have a clear advantage since that can be easily changed between a right and left-handed shoe. Due to this, the Brunswick TPU clearly wins this category.

Factor #3: Value for Purchase

While the Dexter Jack is clearly the most affordable model of the three, the low price comes with low value since the Dexter Jack model lacks many of the essential features needed for a bowling shoes. When comparing the Pyramid HPX and Brunswick TPU models, the Pyramid HPX model is cheaper, but comes with fewer extra part and accessories that come standard with the Brunswick TPU model. Once we account for the value of these extra items, the Brunswick TPU model clearly has more value for the purchase price. The Brunswick TPU is only slight more expensive than the Pyramid HPX, so the extra items included in the Brunswick TPU package clearly make up the price difference.

Final Verdict

Based on all the factors, the Brunswick Performance TPU model bowling shoes is clearly the best available option of the reviewed items and would be an ideal choice for anyone interested in picking up bowling. The Brunswick TPU can easily be found in any pro shop or online store and can be found on Amazon for only $119.95. The Brunswick TPU bowling shoes would be a perfect fit for someone who wants to buy a comfortable and durable bowling shoe that will hold up over hundreds of games. This bowling shoes model also possess many of the customizable features that will allow the bowler to optimize the shoes over time as the bowler develops their technique and adapts the shoes to fit their individual needs.

While there are many great bowling shoes available on the market, the Brunswick TPU bowling shoes is clearly a favorite in the sport of bowling and would be a great choice for anyone.


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