If you are serious about your bowling game, you are probably looking to get a pair of performance bowling shoes that allow you to change the soles whenever you like. A good pair of shoes can make a big difference in your bowling performance, and shoes with interchangeable soles allow you to have greater control over your ability to slide and brake as you throw the ball. What are the best bowling shoes with interchangeable soles?
The best bowling shoes with interchangeable soles are from the company Dexter. They create shoes with fully interchangeable soles and heels for both men and women that feature other cutting edge technology to help your game, such as the BOA lace system and Toehold Hyperflex Engineering.
While Dexter is putting out great shoe models recommended for any bowler looking for innovation and comfort, they are not the only high-quality shoe producer on the market. In this article, we will look at some top choices for both male and female bowlers looking for a high-performance option. By the end, you will be able to make an informed decision about your choice for a new pair of performance bowling shoes.
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Best Bowling Shoes With Interchangeable Soles for Men
We have chosen five picks for men and five picks for women. Let’s start here with the top picks for men.
This is a very popular model made by Dexter, one of the most reputable shoe manufacturers in bowling. This shoe also features full customizability in both interchangeable soles and heels. One feature of this model is the extremely durable toe piece that will resist wear and tear quite effectively.
The BOA lacing system is one of the unique features of this model. This is a way of lacing up shoes that is already popular in other sports but, for the first time, can be found in bowling on these shoes. If you’re not familiar with this type of lacing, there are no knots to be tied or laces to be fumbled with, in the traditional sense. Instead, you have a knob that does the work for you.
To loosen up the laces, go to the heel of the shoe, where you will see a knob. By pulling this out, you are activating the lace loosening system. When the knob is out, you will be able to pull the shoe’s tongue to loosen the laces. When you have created enough of an opening, you can slide your foot inside the shoe with comfort.
Now, when you’re ready to tighten it up, simply push the knob in and start to crank it to the right. This will draw the laces in tighter until you are satisfied with the fit. At that point, you’re ready to play. This system allows you to adjust the fit quickly and easily to ensure your shoes are always fitting perfectly for every approach.
These shoes designed for right-handed players come with the ability to change out the sole and the heel. With this combination, you will have even greater control over how you feel each time you step up to throw the ball. This pair of shoes will come with one sliding sole and one braking sole that has been arranged appropriately for a right-handed player.
Made by Pyramid, these shoes will give you extra comfort and high-quality materials at an affordable price point. They won’t take long at all to break in and are built for durability. Additionally, these shoes will work with any brand of sole or heel replacement, giving you a wide range of options when it comes to your selection and preference.
Sometimes the Pyramid sizing can run a bit different from what people are used to, so as with most shoes, it would be even better to try these on in person before purchasing. Additionally, shopping online and trading the shoes in if they do not fit is also an option. Once you find the right size, you will have yourself a pair of ultra-comfortable shoes that will give you great performance.
Dexter is really at the top of its game in bowling shoe production, bringing us a second model in our Top 5 Men’s Shoe Recommendations. This shoe features interchangeable soles on the right and left, meaning that these shoes can be set up for both right-handed and left-handed bowlers.
The “THE” in this product name stands for Toehold Hyperflex Engineering and is a signature feature of this model. This allows the bowler to experience even more flexibility in a shoe that is built to last. The freedom of movement you will feel does not mean you are breaking down your shoe. On the contrary, this model is designed to give you flexibility and freedom while maintaining its structure and integrity.
These shoes are comfortable and don’t require a significant break-in period. They are built to last with high-quality materials and its signature THE technology.
This high-performance bowling shoe comes with a few different sliding soles and heels to get you started finding your preferred combination. In order to provide incredible comfort and support for your feet, these also come equipped with a special orthopedic insole that will let you wear these shoes all day without discomfort.
This model by Hammer is also taking durability quite seriously. One of the unique features of the Boss shoe is the crystallized rubber outsoles. Designed as a way to maximize durability and prevent wear and tear on the toe and sides of the shoe, this ultra-durable material is seen for the first time on this pair of high-performance shoes.
If you are a bowler who struggles with wearing down the toes and outside edges of shoes quickly, this would be a great choice for you to get a longer life out of your new shoes.
If you are looking for the most affordable option without many extra features, you can safely choose the Rampage model by Brunswick. While this model does not boast new lacing technologies or special materials, it is a classic bowling shoe with an interchangeable sliding sole. If affordability is your top priority, this will be a great choice for you.
Its design features a cushy insole that will give you comfort. This model comes with two slide soles, so you will be able to get started customizing without having to make additional purchases.
Best Bowling Shoes With Interchangeable Soles for Women
Unfortunately, there is not always a direct equivalent between the models designed for men and those designed for women. Here are 5 top picks for female bowlers, featuring many of the same brands and features as the top picks for men, although the shoes are not identical:
Now let’s take a look at what options women bowlers have when it comes to high-performance bowling shoes. Here we have a top-of-the-line choice from Dexter that is made for either right-handed or left-handed bowlers. These are fully customizable with interchangeable soles and heels.
These shoes give comfort and flexibility while being durable, featuring the previously mentioned THE technology. These are a great choice for anyone looking for maximum control of their footing while still enjoying internal support and cushioning.
As in the men’s recommendations, we have to recommend two models from Dexter for the women as well. This model features the BOA lacing system, as described previously. This innovative method for lacing is now available for women and will provide the best, consistent fit for each foot.
Not only does this model come equipped with the cutting edge lacing system, but it also uses the signature Dexter THE technology to give the bowler an extremely flexible fit without compromising durability. This shoe is available for both left-handed and right-handed players and has fully interchangeable soles and heels.
This shoe, made only for right-hand bowlers, gives you full customizability on the slide show, with a heel and sole that can be interchanged. With high-quality microfiber materials found in the upper part of the shoe, this shoe will give you comfort along with durability. It is also designed to be breathable to provide ventilation during use.
On the inside of the shoe, a lightweight orthopedic insole will give you all the comfort you need to stay on your feet with ease.
The Vixen is Hammer’s first performance bowling shoe for women that features interchangeable soles as well as other design features that make this choice a good, affordable option. This shoe is for right-handed bowlers and has an interchangeable sole and heel on the sliding shoe.
Additionally, the Vixen is designed for comfort with an Ortholite insole that gives support and cushioning to the wearer. The upper part of this shoe features mesh materials to keep the air flowing and make ventilation possible. The overall lightweight, comfortable, and stylish shoe is a great choice at a great price.
This model from Storm features interchangeable soles and heels and a high quality upper constructed from soft leather. Similar to the THE found in various Dexter models, this model also boasts toehold flexibility without unnecessary wear and tear.
The tongue of the shoe features a mesh netting in order to provide ventilation. However, this shoe has not been reviewed as being as comfortable as some of the other models at a similar price point. These will get the job done, but if you value practically no break-in time and exceptional comfort, this may not be the best choice for you.
Now that you know some of the top brands on the market and the features they come with, let’s take a general look at the world of bowling shoes. A good pair of bowling shoes will make a big difference to the bowler, so naturally, it is a big industry with many options for the consumer.
Different Kinds of Bowling Shoes
All bowling shoes are designed to slide in a way that sneakers typically cannot. Sneakers generally have too much grip and traction to be good choices at the bowling alley. As opposed to strong treads that help you stop on a dime, bowling shoes allow you to slide to a stop gently. This is more advantageous as you advance down the bowling alley and prepare to throw the ball.
It is important to choose a pair of shoes with good sliding properties, as adding substances to the soles to change shoe behavior is illegal.
While this is the general goal and purpose of bowling shoes, not all types go about accomplishing this goal in the same way. Let’s take a look at the most simple type of shoe, the rental ones.
The shoes you rent from the bowling alley will be a basic bowling shoe, allowing you to slide and glide easily but without any kind of customization.
While these do not require an upfront investment on your part, these will not provide much in terms of good fit, comfort, or customization. These simply fill a convenience factor, especially for someone who only goes bowling once in a while and doesn’t do so in a very serious way.
Athletic Bowling Shoes
However, if you are starting to frequent the bowling alley more and more, even just a few shoe rental fees are about how much it costs to invest in your very own first pair of bowling shoes.
Athletic bowling shoes are usually the first purchase of a bowling beginner who is tired of renting shoes at the alley. These are a great first step, but they will not offer the full personalization options of performance shoes.
Performance Bowling Shoes
Performance bowling shoes, the type discussed in-depth in this article, offer the greatest amount of customization to the bowler. These have interchangeable soles that allow players to fully customize the feel of their shoe in any environment.
In each pair of shoes, one foot will be the “braking foot” and will use a type of sole with greater traction to help brake. The other shoe will be for the “sliding foot” and will have a sole that is best suited for sliding.
If you see a shoe designed only for a right-handed bowler, this usually means that only the left-handed shoe, or the slide shoe, has customizable soles. This means, if you are right-handed, you will be able to get your sliding sole exactly how you like it depending on different conditions.
If you are a left-handed bowler and are looking to fully interchange soles on both shoes, you must specifically seek out a pair that can be set up for right-hand or left-hand bowlers.
Some models only have interchangeable soles, while others include customizable soles and heels. If this distinction is important to you, be sure to double-check the model you are considering.
Guide to Interchangeable Soles
Now that you have a performance shoe with removable sliding soles, you still have a great deal of choice. Soles are available for individual purchase and are numbered in a way that tells you their degree of stickiness. The stickier the sole is, the better this will be for braking. The less sticky it is, the more slide factor it will have.
The slide range goes from 1 – 12. The lower the number, the more sticky it is. These numbers will be printed clearly on the packaging, so once you get used to what number you prefer for different conditions, you will be able to stock up on your soles of choice easily.
If you are curious about how exactly you can change the sole of your shoes, the answer is simple: velcro. Performance bowling shoes come equipped with a high-quality velcro covering the sole (and sometimes the heel) of the shoe. Simply peel off the sole you no longer want to bowl with and smooth on the one you prefer.
For more information on the types of soles out there and how to distinguish between them, you can check out BowlerX’s Youtube video on this topic here:
Benefits of Interchangeable Soles
There is a wide range of benefits to having interchangeable soles. If you are an avid bowler who will bowl at different alleys regularly, being able to change out the soles on either foot will help you adjust to the exact environment you are playing in. Different alleys will feel different, and you will be able to figure out the best sole combination for each of your favorite playing spots.
By becoming aware of your preferred style and how you like to feel in your approach, you will be able to control your ability to get that same feel day after day, even as conditions, weather, and locations change.
With interchangeable sole shoes, you are able to keep your physical game consistent and let your soles do the adjusting. With a pair of static sole shoes, you will have to adjust your physical game to respond to your changing surroundings.
Another added benefit is longevity and durability. Like with any pair of shoes, soles wear down over time. With interchangeable soles, you are able to simply insert a new one when you notice the wear and tear interfering with your game.
This also goes for a quick fix if you were to get the soles wet before play or have another mishap that would safely and effectively interfere with throwing the ball. Switching out the soles can be done quickly and easily anywhere.
They might seem like too much of an investment upfront. However, if you find yourself going through athletic bowling shoes too quickly and wearing them out too often, you will certainly enjoy the benefit of simply purchasing a new sole or heel instead of an entirely new pair of shoes.
If properly cared for, performance shoes can last for years and can give you an edge on your bowling game that will keep you from going back to a less customizable shoe after.
Tips on Choosing Your Bowling Shoes
As with any type of shoe, it’s important to get the perfect fit in order to experience the comfort and performance that each model of shoe is capable of. If you are able to visit a shop in person and try on the shoes before buying, this will give you the best idea of your size and preference when it comes to the brand.
If you are able to shop in person, one thing you can do to enhance the buying experience is to bring your old shoe with you. By showing your old shoe to the employee helping you, you are able to show the areas of the shoe that are prone to wear and tear and give the employee an idea of what kind of shoe would best suit your particular shape and stance.
However, if shopping in person isn’t possible, many companies have generous policies when shopping online to allow you to purchase the shoe, try it on, and potentially send it back for a different size if it does not fit. This can often be done at no cost to you. Be sure to check this policy with the internet shopping platform that you end up using.
Tips for Caring for Your New Shoes
Once you’ve made your choice and have a brand new pair of fully customizable shoes to bowl with, it’s important to take some basic precautions in order to maximize their performance and durability. Let’s take a look at a few tips to care for your new shoes in order to give them a long life.
Use Shoe Protectors
When you purchase any of the models we have discussed today, they usually come standard with one or two shoe protectors. Be sure not to throw these out with the other packaging inside the box. These are valuable accessories that can protect your new shoes.
When you’re not actively bowling but need to walk around the bowling alley, place a shoe protector over your sliding shoe to protect it from whatever you might encounter on the floor. It’s important to protect the felt found on the bottom because liquid, crumbs, or other materials you are likely to encounter on the ground will negatively impact the shoe’s performance.
Walking around between games without any protection could even lead to a dangerous situation, where you stumble and stick when you want to be sliding. So, simply, anytime you get up to use the bathroom or grab a snack, throw the shoe protector on to protect your investment and keep your game going smoothly.
Prepare and Maintain the Slide Sole
Even though your shoes might feel ultra-comfortable right away, it’s important to remember that the slide sole itself will take a bit of time and practice to reach its peak performance level. Take some time to break in this sole until it gives you the exact slide you are seeking. Remember to repeat this process every time you purchase a new sliding sole for the same shoe.
Over time, as the felt begins to get worn down, you can take a brush and fluff up the slide sole. By loosening up the fibers of this sole, you will be rejuvenating it a bit and will be able to slide more consistently, even as your slide sole ages.
Keep It Clean
Like you would with any shoe, giving these a simple wipe down after use will go a long way in the product’s longevity. Using a simple mixture of warm water, soap, and a cloth will help keep your shoes squeaky clean and ready for the next use.
Let Your Shoes Dry Out Completely
Even if your shoes come equipped with mesh ventilation systems, it is still quite likely that you will generate a bit of moisture inside the shoes when wearing them all day. In order to keep the sweat from becoming an issue, be sure to let your shoes dry out completely and store in a cool, dry area, preferably with a bit of ventilation.
If you do prefer to keep them in your bowling bag, make sure you leave the zipper open on the compartment they are stored in. This will allow a small amount of ventilation, but a bit of airflow is certainly better than none at all.
For anyone who is gaining interest in the sport of bowling, after a few communal shoe rentals, the idea of purchasing your very own shoes becomes quite appealing. For anyone looking to give themselves the best control over their footing and their game, choosing a performance bowling shoe with interchangeable soles is a great idea.
Whether you choose a model from Dexter or another of the brands recommended here, you will be able to grow as a bowler as you become more aware of your own approach and how your shoes can facilitate the best conditions for you.