Do Bowling Shoes Run Big Or Small?

If you’ve ever found yourself at the bowling alley, wondering whether the shoes provided will fit correctly or if your own shoes are suitable for play, you’re not alone. Bowling shoe sizes can be a source of confusion and bewilderment, especially when considering their unique design compared to regular footwear.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the world of bowling shoe sizing, exploring common misconceptions and providing helpful tips on how to ensure a perfect fit for optimal performance and comfort in every game.

Let’s take a look.

Do Bowling Shoes Run Big Or Small?

As a seasoned bowler, I can safely say that bowling shoes tend to run small in general. Many bowlers agree with this consensus and recommend ordering at least half a size up from your regular shoe size.

However, it’s important to consider the specific brand and model of the bowling shoe as some may run bigger or smaller than others. For example, Dexter’s bowling shoes have been known to run small, so if you have wider feet it is recommended to order a full size up for a comfortable fit.

When trying on different brands and styles of bowling shoes, take into account any foot issues or ailments as well as the materials used for the shoe construction to find the best fit for your game.

Do Bowling Shoes Run Big Or Small

Understanding Bowling Shoe Sizes

Getting an accurate measurement of your feet is the first step to finding the perfect fit for your bowling shoes. One efficient and simple method involves tracing your foot on a piece of paper while wearing socks, as this will give you an outline that closely resembles its actual size.

Another approach involves using a Brannock device – a tool commonly found at shoe stores to measure feet length, width, and arch length precisely. This particular instrument provides measurements in US sizing standards but can easily be converted to UK or EU sizes if necessary (referencing conversion charts available online).

Always make sure to measure each foot separately since they may differ slightly in size, fitting shoes to the larger one for optimal comfort. Remember that factors like time of day can also influence your assessment; it’s best to measure later in the day when feet typically swell up due to daily activities.

The Different Sizing Systems (US, UK, EU)

As with any type of shoe, bowling shoes can be found in various sizing systems such as US, UK, and EU sizes. It’s important to note that these different systems may have slightly different measurements for the same size.

For example, a US size 9 may be equivalent to a UK size 8 or an EU size 42. To avoid confusion, it’s best to use a shoe conversion chart or seek the advice of a professional when trying on bowling shoes.

Proper Fit For Bowling Shoes

It’s crucial to find the right fit when selecting your bowling shoes. A proper fit can mean the difference between a comfortable game and one that leaves you with painful blisters or sore feet.

When trying on bowling shoes, it’s important to consider the width of your foot as well as the length. Some brands of bowling shoes tend to be narrower than others, so it’s essential to try on various styles before making a final decision.

Also, keep in mind that feet can differ slightly in size, so make sure you’re fitting shoes to your larger foot for maximum comfort and support during gameplay.

Finding The Right Fit

Trying On Different Brands And Styles

I highly recommend trying on different brands and styles of bowling shoes to find the perfect fit. Different brands may have slightly different sizing or shapes, which can affect how they feel on your feet.

It’s also important to consider what type of bowler you are when choosing a shoe style. For example, if you’re an advanced bowler who likes to slide more, you might want to look for shoes with a smooth sole that allows for easier sliding.

Personally, I found that trying on several pairs from different brands helped me determine the best fit for my feet. I ended up selecting a pair with a softer exterior material that conformed better to my foot shape and allowed for improved comfort during long bowling sessions.

Considering The Material Of The Shoe

It’s important to consider the material of the shoe when selecting your next pair of bowling shoes. Leather is a popular choice for its durability and breathability, but it can be less forgiving in terms of fit compared to synthetic materials.

Some bowlers prefer lightweight options like mesh or knit uppers that offer flexibility and comfort, while others opt for a more traditional leather upper for added support.

Keep in mind that different brands may use different materials, so trying on several pairs can help determine which ones are most comfortable and suitable for your needs.

Seeking Assistance From A Professional

I highly recommend seeking assistance from a professional when it comes to finding the right fit for your bowling shoes. While it may be tempting to simply order a pair online based on their listed size, getting input from an expert can save you time and potentially prevent injury.

A knowledgeable employee at a bowling pro shop will be able to measure your feet accurately and suggest brands or styles that are known for running small or large.

It’s also important to remember that feet can differ in size and shape – one foot may be slightly larger than the other, or have higher arches or wider insteps.

A professional can take these variables into account when helping you choose the appropriate size and style of bowling shoes.

Taking Into Account Any Foot Issues Or Ailments

As with any type of shoe, it’s important to take into account any foot issues or ailments when purchasing bowling shoes. For example, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or flat feet, look for shoes with proper arch support and cushioning.

If you have wide feet, consider opting for a brand that offers wider sizing options or allows for customization.

It’s also important to ensure that the material of the shoe does not exacerbate any existing conditions – leather may be too rigid for those with bunions or hammertoes, while mesh may lack the necessary structure for those who require more support.

The Importance Of Properly Fitted Bowling Shoes

Improved Performance

Properly fitted bowling shoes can greatly improve your performance on the lanes. For starters, they provide better balance and stability during your approach and slide, allowing you to deliver a more accurate shot.

Additionally, some bowling shoes feature specialized soles that are designed to help you control your slide speed and direction, depending on lane conditions. This means that with the right shoes, you’ll be able to make adjustments more easily and consistently throughout your game.

Finally, having comfortable shoes that fit well will allow you to focus solely on your technique and strategy instead of worrying about foot discomfort or slippage – ultimately leading to a more confident and successful game overall.

Furthermore, studies have shown that properly fitting footwear can enhance athletic performance by reducing the risk of injury while simultaneously improving comfort levels for athletes (including bowlers).

Reduced Risk Of Injury

Having properly fitted bowling shoes can help reduce the risk of injury while on the lanes. Bowling shoes have special soles that are designed for better traction and slide, which can prevent slips and falls.

Additionally, ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort, blisters, or even muscle strain as you try to compensate for an uncomfortable fit.

It’s important to note that not all injuries in bowling come from improper shoe sizes alone – proper warm-up and technique play a huge role in preventing injury as well.

Better Overall Comfort

Comfort is key when it comes to bowling shoes. Properly fitted and comfortable shoes can make all the difference in your game. Bowling shoes are designed with features that make them more comfortable for bowlers, such as padded collars and tongues, breathable materials, and flexible soles.

It’s essential to consider any specific foot issues or ailments you may have when selecting bowling shoes, such as flat feet or wide widths. Some brands offer wider sizes or adjustable straps to accommodate different foot shapes.

Remember that different brands may fit differently, so trying on various styles before purchasing is highly recommended.

Increased Longevity Of The Shoes

Taking the time to properly fit your bowling shoes can not only improve your game but also increase the longevity of the shoes. By ensuring a proper fit, you can reduce excessive wear and tear on the shoe, preventing premature damage that could lead to costly repairs or replacements.

It’s important to consider the material of the shoe when thinking about how to extend its lifespan. Leather is a common material used in many quality bowling shoes due to its durability and ability to mold your foot over time.

Consistent cleaning and maintenance should also be part of your regular routine, as dirt buildup or lack of care can cause deterioration faster than normal use would warrant.


In conclusion, choosing the right size of bowling shoes can be a confusing task, but with the proper understanding of sizing methods and factors that affect shoe fit, it doesn’t have to be.

Remember to measure your feet accurately, consider the specific brand and model of the shoe, and seek professional assistance if necessary. Investing in properly fitted bowling shoes not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injury and provides better overall comfort.

Last updated on June 14, 2023