Do Bowling Shoes Run True to Size?

If you plan to go bowling, you know that you have to wear special shoes. However, you might not be familiar with the sizing or know which size to choose. We looked at several brands and compiled the findings, so you'll be better informed when you choose your bowling shoes.  

Rented bowling shoes from a bowling alley may run bigger than regular shoes. However, if you plan to buy your own shoes from a popular brand, the sizing might be closer to your regular shoe size, especially in higher-end styles. Below is a list of popular bowling shoes:

  • Dexter
  • Brunswick
  • KR Strikeforce
  • Bowlerstore Classic
  • Pyramid

This article will look into several popular brands of bowling shoes and give you an idea of how each one fits compared to regular shoes. We will also explore the importance of bowling shoes and discover the meaning behind the unique look.

A bowling shoes and ball for bowling game, Do Bowling Shoes Run True to Size?  

How Do They Fit?

When exploring how shoes fit, it isn't easy to generalize because everyone's feet are different. If you have a wide foot, then a shoe designed with standard sizing will not fit comfortably without sizing up. People with narrow feet may find that standard sizing is too loose. 

Unfortunately, wide-width sizing or half-sizing isn't always available, making it difficult to decide which size you might need. If you have trouble with sizing, always check the return policy before purchasing or use a retailer with a True-Fit Guarantee to buy your bowling shoes. 


Dexter has been in business for over fifty years and produces quality bowling shoes. The company claims the title of #1 bowling shoe in the world.  

When purchasing Dexter bowling shoes, the recommendation is that you order the same shoe size you usually wear in a tennis shoe. However, the fit will vary by style by design. Some styles hug your feet snuggly, while others are more relaxed.  


Brunswick is a common name in the bowling world for a good reason. The company's founder, John Moses Brunswick, was a pioneer in bringing bowling into mainstream play for the average person. In doing so, Brunswick built a company dedicated to selling quality bowling products and accessories, including shoes.

Many wearers of Brunswick bowling shoes share that the shoes tend to run a bit small and suggest going up at least a half size, especially if you have wide feet and wide width isn't an option in your preferred style.

Fortunately, many styles are available with half-size and wide options to help make comfortable sizing more accurate. 

KR Strikeforce

KR Strikeforce bases its company reputation on value and trust. It produces basic bowling shoes, which may fit more generically if you have a hard-to-fit foot.

According to customer reviews, those with a wide foot may need to size up as much as two additional sizes for a comfortable fit on some styles. 

Higher-end  KR Strikeforce styles like the Maverick FT include the Fast Twist Dial Lace System, allowing wearers to easily adjust the fit for ultimate comfort. 

Bowlerstore Classic

Bowlerstore Classic brand bowling shoes are popular rental bowling shoes. Their design is the traditional two-tone awkward look intended for function rather than fashion.  

This shoe style has a more generic fit, so you may find that the sizing is bigger than your usual shoe size. Many customers report that a half size below their normal shoe size fits well.

However, if you are comfortable with the fit of the rental shoes at the bowling alley, then you shouldn't have issues with these. 


Pyramid is a relatively new brand name in the bowling world, but that doesn't mean they don't know what they are doing. The founders are professionals in the bowling industry, so they understand what bowlers need and want in a shoe. It's no surprise that they continually make the list of best bowling shoes on the market.  

Pyramid bowling shoes have a reputation for fitting true to size, giving you quality and comfort. Their mesh options allow even more flexibility for a range of fit.  

Are Bowling Shoes Necessary?

Bowling ball with shoes

Bowling shoes help the bowler get into the correct position for throwing the bowling ball. They also protect the bowler, and the bowling alley floors. 

Bowling alley floors are super shiny and slick for a good reason. The finish allows the bowler to slide and the ball to roll. Anything other than bowling shoes can compromise the integrity of the bowling floor.

The soles of bowling shoes are flat and made from materials that allow a balance between friction for gripping and smoothness for sliding. Each shoe's sole in a pair plays an essential role in the bowler's stance and ball release.

So, they are not the same as the soles on a regular pair of shoes. Hence, bowlers cannot bowl their best game without the right shoes.  

Bowling shoes also have a smooth sole made from a softer material that protects the bowling alley floors. Regular shoes like sneakers track in dirt and debris that can scratch or create a film on the floor.

Other shoes like boots or dress shoes have soles that are too hard. Either can cause damage to the unique floors that would mess up a bowler's game or cause injury. 

Are Bowling Shoes Sanitary?

Bowling shoes on a pink-blue pastel background

Bowling shoes are a temporary home to sweaty feet, which can leave behind fungus, bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. All these things can potentially lead to toe and foot infections if contact with broken skin occurs.  

Of course, your first line of defense against any kind of infection from bowling shoes is to wear socks. Second, ensure the establishment follows a protocol for disinfecting their bowling shoes after each use.

After each use, bowling shoes should undergo an inspection and get sanitized using a UV light. Or, they can get cleaned with a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol, or sprayed with a disinfectant like Lysol. 

If these procedures are followed, the risk of getting any infection from bowling shoes is very low. However, if this still doesn't make you comfortable, but you enjoy bowling, consider buying your own pair or carrying disinfecting spray with you.

Consider keeping some 1o Seconds spray in your bowling bag.  

Find shoe disinfectant on Amazon.  

Why Do Bowling Shoes Look Like That?

Three pairs of shoes for bowling

If you have ever been to the bowling alley and had to use the bowling shoes provided, you probably wondered why they look like they do. There is a reason that the shoes have a colorful but seemingly mismatched appearance.  

Each shoe has a different job, and the color lets the wearer know which is which. One shoe allows the bowler to maintain a planted stance while the other slides allowing the bowler's leg to slip into the proper position for rolling the ball. 

Because bowlers can be right or left-handed, the shoe's function cannot simply get assigned to the left or right shoe. Instead, the role is assigned to a color, and shoes can easily be handed out to patrons with either dominant hand by simply glancing at the color position.  

How Much Does A Pair Of Bowling Shoes Cost?

The cost varies depending on the brand, quality, and design. 

A basic pair of bowling shoes costs around $25-$30, making them a good option for the occasional just-for-fun bowler. Consider that purchasing shoes will lead to cost savings in the long run if you pay the average rental fee of $2-$5 each visit and go several times a year.

Also, if the thought of renting shoes turns you off to bowling, you might consider this a small price for peace of mind. 

If you are in a bowling league or even a frequent recreational bowler, you know shoes are part of the strategy. A good quality shoe can range between $50- $100, but gives you a fit specific to your body and playing style. If you bowl often, the investment in a good shoe is a must.  

Suppose you bowl competitively or are more than serious about the sport. In that case, you may look for a high-quality bowling shoe that can cost hundreds of dollars, especially if you use a customized design or fit for your bowling shoes. 


Great variety of bowling shoes

Wearing funny-looking shoes is an iconic part of bowling culture. However, the mismatched colorful shoes serve a specific purpose and have an intentional design to aid the bowler's stance throughout the game.  

For further information to help you choose the right bowling shoes, consider reading 7 Types Of Bowling Shoes.

Read Why Is My Bowling Ball Speed So Slow to learn how to control your bowling ball better.

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