Is Easy Slide Illegal In Bowling?

Being able to slide consistently is an essential skill for every bowler. A consistent slide will help you bowl more strikes and spares. Some people choose to add substances such as Easy Slide to their shoes. This product helps you improve your slide. But is this allowed?

Adding Easy Slide to the bottom of your bowling shoes is illegal, according to the USBC. The rule also prohibits the use of saliva, powder, ashes, water, alcohol, and any other substance. This assures equal competition conditions and also helps with safety while protecting lane surfaces.

Keep on reading to discover more information about Easy Slide. We will see how to improve your slide and what if any legal alternatives you can use.

Is Easy Slide Illegal In Bowling? What You Must Know

The 2019 playing rule book, released by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), states the following:

Rule 12 – Approaches Must Not Be Defaced

“The application of any foreign substance on any part of the approach that detracts from the possibility of other players having normal conditions is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, talcum powder, pumice and resin on shoes, and/or soft rubber soles or heels that rub off on the approach.”

The Rulebook even goes as far as to give us an example of a common question that might arise:

The case concerns a bowler who purchased a commercial slide product from the pro shop of the bowling alley because he was having difficulty sliding on the approach. After applying this product to the sole of his shoe, some competitors feel that the product is hindering their own play, and they complain. This could be ruled a violation of the above-stated Rule 12. At which point, the bowler can decide to stop the use of the product, or they could be forced to forfeit their games.

Some people claim there is a gray area about this rule. Since the regulations specify that it must affect another player and they need to file a complaint. They claim that adding the substance itself, and if unseen, it’s not illegal. And it only becomes unlawful once somebody calls out the action and proceeds to complain.

In a nutshell, you shouldn’t add any type of substance to the bottom part of your shoe.

Why Is Easy Slide Considered Illegal?

Rule 12 of the USBC’s rule book was created to ensure fairness and safety. This is not an exception; all rules are based on some aspect of the game that needs to be regulated.

Whatever product you apply to your shoes will be transferred to the approach area. And it will change the conditions for everybody. Besides being unfair, this is also a risk to other competitors.

If you pat Easy Slide on the floor to get the product out to increase your resistance to the floor, You will leave the area stickier than it was. You have changed the conditions for the next bowler. The next person could even fall and get injured due to this.

In these cases, the League President or Tournament Manager has to decide if a player is not complying with rule 12. Here are some case scenarios that considered against the rule:

  • A player gets some substance on their thumb and gripping fingers. The player decides to clean the excess product in the bottom of their shoe. You must clean your hands with a towel to avoid this from happening.
  • A player steps in some liquid and wants to apply another substance to neutralize the liquid. You must notify the official judge about your issue before applying anything in your shoe.
  • A player uses a bowling shoe on one foot and another shoe on the other. It is not considered illegal, as long as the second shoe doesn’t leave any residue product in the approach.
  • A player licks its thumb and applies saliva to the bottom of its shoe. You must use a brush to correct the slide on your shoe.

How To Improve Your Slide Without Breaking The Rules

As we mentioned, sliding plays an important role in the bowling game. Many professional players want to master this technique to improve their scores. Here are some tips on how to improve your slide.

Practice Your Slides

It is recommended to practice your slide before you even grab a ball. Practice some elaborated slides. Pretend that you are throwing the ball and see how much you can slide.

Sliding with the ball in your hand could be difficult. So practicing can help you to be more comfortable with your shoes.

Get The Hang Of Your Tempo

Your steps will slow due to the backswing momentum, and your steps need to speed up during your forward swing. Your slide will be influenced by how your forward swing aligns with your steps. Dialing in your tempo can help you improve your game.

Don’t Worry About The Scoreboard

This is harder than it sounds, but you need to understand you are learning something new. You need to stop focusing on the scores and worry about perfecting your technique. At first, your scores will be bad. People say it takes more than 20 games to perfect a new technique.

Buy A Good Pair Of Shoes

Last but not least, if you own a good pair of shoes, your sliding will improve. Rental shoes do not offer you consistency, and sometimes they are not slippery enough. Owning your shoes can be considered an investment in the long run. A well-maintained pair of shoes can last years. Bowling shoes with interchangeable soles offer many advantages.

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Best Bowling Shoes For Sliding

There is some debate on which bowling shoe is the best. But it really depends on what you need for comfort and support as well as your price point. You might also find these brands helpful when choosing the right bowling shoes for sliding:

For Men

  • Dexter Bowling Deanna Right Handed
  • Dexter Men’s SST Retro
  • Brunswick Men’s Titan Bowling Shoes
  • Dexter Turbo II Wide Width Bowling Shoes
  • BSI Men’s 571 Bowling Shoes
  • Brunswick Vapor Men’s Bowling Shoes
  • Dexter Men’s Ricky III Bowling Shoes

See all Men’s Bowling shoes on Amazon

For Women

  • Dexter Vicky
  • Brunswick Bliss Women’s Bowling Shoes
  • Dexter Women’s Raquel IV Bowling Shoes
  • SaVi Women’s Classic Bowling Shoes
  • BSI Women’s Classic Bowling Shoe
  • Dexter Women’s Kristen Bowling Shoes
  • KR Strikeforce Women’s Opal Bowling Shoes

View Women’s Bowling Shoes on Amazon

How To Clean Bowling Shoes

Cleaning your shoes is very important. A pair of shoes properly maintained can last years. Here are some tips to consider when taking care of your shoes.

  1. Brush them after every game. This can increase their traction.
  2. Get a pair of covers. This protects your shoes from humidity.
  3. Disinfect your shoes frequently. This can help you to remove bacteria and sweat.

Common Bowling Shoe Questions

Can I Use Baby Powder On My Bowling Shoes?

Baby powder is considered illegal. Just as Easy Slide, this is a substance and shouldn’t be applied to the bottom of your shoes.

How Can I Get My Bowling Shoes To Slide Better?

To make your bowling shoes slide better, you can:

  • Get a pair of shoe sliders
  • Buy a pair of shoes with interchangeable soles
  • Use a shoe brush
  • Replace your soles

Why Won’t My Shoes Slide When Bowling?

The sole of your slide shoe will flatten over time. This happens due to the pressure placed on the foot. It can become a problem when you want to slide because your foot sticks on the approach.

You can correct this problem by scraping the sole of your shoe. Use a steel brush to do it before you bowl. Be careful to scrape enough just to remove some of the friction.

You can also try to tighten your shoelaces. Tight shoelaces can help you to push firmly on the floor when you are sliding.

Some people recommend the use of powder. These people claim that small amounts won’t cause any issue. Keep in mind powder is considered illegal in some tournaments, so we do not recommend using it.


Easy Slide is an illegal product in USBC tournaments. But, you might feel that you need to adjust the slip on your shoes to improve your game. If this is your case, there are other options available for you to improve your techniques. Not to mention that you can use it for training to help improve your game before a tournament.

Please note Easy Slide is not the only product you shouldn’t add to your shoes. Any other substance that could leave residues in the approach is not allowed. The reasons are safety and fairness.

We must be reasonable enough to understand everybody’s well-being is not negotiable. Changing the conditions of the approach could hurt someone or even you.

A safer alternative would be to choose bowling shoes that can help you improve your side. There are several brands and options in the market out there that were created for this unique purpose that you can choose from.

Buy a pair you like, and get rolling!

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