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Breaking In New Bowling Shoes, Originally Posted: 11/4/2021; Updated: 4/14/2023

If you want a tip or two on breaking in new bowling shoes, then it must be said that there are many types and models of new bowling shoes available in today's market. Selecting the right pair of shoes is important so you are guaranteed comfort, stability when walking to the foul line and delivering your bowling ball, and to ensure you slide smoothly and consistently each delivery of the ball.

Learning about breaking in new bowling shoes is a fairly simple process and will help you slide consistently when you first bowl with the shoes and will help prevent possible accidents on the approaches. Here are a few tips:

 1. Wear your shoes around the inside of your home and walk in them to break in any stiffness in the uppers portion of both bowling shoes. Try and determine which type of socks fit the shoes most comfortably so your shoes do not feel too tight. Loose shoes may cause your feet to "hydroplane" when trying to develop consistent footwork on the approaches.

2. Take several practice slides on the various areas of the approach near the foul line. Practice slides near the center of the approach wear you typically slide for a strike ball delivery and near the edges of the approach where you slide to pick up corner pin spares will prevent unwanted sliding surprises during competition.

3. Warm up slowly to ensure your initial practice approaches are at a slow footwork speed with your bowling ball releases are at a slow speed. Try not to release your ball at full speed if your bowling shoes have not been tested for a smooth and even sliding process on the approaches.

4. Avoid excessive journeys to the concourse area of the bowling center but rather remain in the bowling settee area until you are confident you can slide consistently for a game or two of bowling without any incidents. We recommend wearing shoe protectors which slip over the shoes when walking about the bowling center. Shoe protectors keep gum, food, liquid, or dirt off of the bottom of your bowling shoes.

5. If you cannot slide smoothly after making a few practice slides with your new shoes before try releasing your bowling ball, then use a very small bit of sliding powder substance available here at or in your local pro shops. Pat a tiny bit of powder on the heel of your sliding shoe and on the sole of the sliding shoe, make a couple of test slides before walking briskly to the foul line and attempting a full slide. Make sure you have added just enough slide powder substance to help you achieve a proper slide but kindly avoid getting powder to fall onto the settee floor or onto the approach as to adversely effect the slide capabilities of other bowlers.

6. You may have to apply additional pats of powder on the bottom of your shoes if after bowling awhile you new shoes continue to stick on the approach surface. Use good judgment in applying shoe slide powder and you will develop good habits and slide techniques for the future.

7. Be aware that some bowling shoes are available with interchangeable slide heels and soles. These shoe models provide various heels for gripping the approach and various sliding soles to adjust to the friction factors of various approaches.
Humidity changes can affect sliding on approaches. Approach finishes can wear away on the edges of wooden approaches making sliding smoothly very difficult. Synthetic approaches can be sticky in some areas near the foul line and slick on other areas. Caution should be taken to check out the sliding areas before bowling. Many experienced bowlers use shoes with changeable heels and slide soles to compensate for these various approach surfaces, both synthetic and wooden surfaces alike.

Typically, the more expensive the bowling shoe, the better quality of uppers, the better the durability of the shoe, and sliding stability increases. Shoes with raised heels can give you increased slide stability because you are elevated forward slightly reducing the urge to pull back slightly away from the pins during your slide motion at the foul line.
Flat heels and slide soles on the athletic style of bowling shoes do not have raised heels and although they can be extremely comfortable like a tennis shoe, as example, the slide stability of the shoe will not match the top line shoes designed for those of you who bowl a great deal and on various approach surfaces. It pays to invest in a pair of bowling shoes and, if possible, invest in ones which give you the greatest slide stability, durability, and comfort.

Bowling shoes are typically found in sizes ranging from 5.5 to size 15 for women with sizes 5.5 – size 7 being the most common selection, from size 7 to size 14 for men, and from size 1 to size 6 for kids with sizes 7 – 9 available for teenagers in select shoe models. If you take a few moments to consult our “men’s and woman’s inch-to-size charts” available at, you can be sure to make the correct size decision in the shoe selection process.

If you check our “closeout lists” you may be able to find a former first-line shoe made by a leading manufacturer at an extremely low price? Kindly consider signing-up for our “Newsletter” feature and receive frequent “email” updates with special sale prices on bowling shoes at
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