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Feature Story
Owning your own bowling shoes

When is it time?
If you only bowl a few times a year with the family or friends, then rental shoes should suffice. But if you bowl on a league, or hope to improve your game, then having a suitable pair of bowling shoes is a must.

The differences between rental and standard shoes
Other than the obvious hygienic factor, there are two main differences that can effect performance. The first has to do with the comfort and fit, the second has to do with the way the soles are maintained. We'll explore the differences below.
Comfort and fit - With the tremendous amount of force that is exerted on your foot during the slide, it is important that your shoes fit properly and feel comfortable. Rental shoes, which over time are no more than flimsy leather with laces, simply don't offer the comfort or stability necessary for good performance.

The fit of the shoe is crucial. A loose shoe causes imbalance in the slide, and tight shoes bind and cause chaffing and blistering. Owning your own shoes means that you can choose between half sizes, and varying widths to find a shoe that's just right for you. Other features not usually found on rentals are; padded collars, cushioned insoles and padded linings. These features not only make for a comfortable fit, they also help cushion your foot from the stresses exerted by the slide; and just as importantly, help keep the foot secure by minimizing movement in the shoe.

Sole Protection - Bowlers know that the soles of the bowling shoe need to be protected from water, oil, dirt, and any other foreign matter that can impair the execution of a smooth slide. When you put on a pair of rental shoes, you're in essence wearing whatever the previous user navigated through in their hour of fun. So what did they step in? Grease or sand in the parking lot? a puddle of soda in the lounge? maybe they even took a few trips through the oil on the lanes. This is why smart bowlers use Shoe Protectors (like those from Master Industries, pictured right). Shoe protectors/covers slip over the shoes and protect the soles from the invisible hazards that lie in wait in even the best kept bowling centers.

Other factors
High-performance bowling shoes (and some mid-priced shoes) are constructed differently for right and left handed bowlers. If you look at the soles of these shoes, you'll notice that the sole of one shoe has a leather surface, while the other is made of rubber. The leather sole is used on the sliding foot for a smooth stop at the delivery. The rubber sole which is worn on the swing-side foot, provides traction for forward momentum and helps your balance on the slick approach.

How much can I expect to spend?
Like anything else, there are styles, performance features and price points to match all levels of bowlers. Entry-level shoes can be found in the twenty to thirty-something range, while long-lasting high-performance shoes can run you about a hundred or so. And yes, there are models that are priced anywhere in between. The good news is that by saving the $2.00 a week in rental fees, you can recoup the cost of even the finest bowling shoes in about a year.

In conclusion, it would be safe to say that a good pair of bowling shoes can improve performance. Many factors, including; accuracy, ball speed and power are dependent on a good approach, which is why there's no dispute that shoes are the foundation of the game. Besides, people seem to have more fun when their bowling better. Don't you think?


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Entry-Level Shoes

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High-Performance Shoes

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