The Reason Why Do Bowling Shoes Have No Grip?

We all know it’s a cliche but there’s some truth to the idea that you have to experience something for yourself in order to truly understand why it happens. 

Perhaps this is why, after countless bowling excursions with friends, I never really gave much thought to why we had to wear those special shoes and walk over that funny-feeling carpet to get onto the lanes. 

The Reason Why Do Bowling Shoes Have No Grip?

But then one day I was hanging out with some people at a bowling alley and someone asked the question: “Why don’t your socks slide on the floor as our bowling shoes do?” 

It got me thinking…something I should have done many frames ago!

What follows is an explanation of how and why bowling shoes work so well.

The short answer is: Bowling shoes are designed with a special rubber sole that allows bowlers to slide down the lane without sticking.

This helps them achieve the right trajectory (and most importantly speed) so they can knock down as many pins as possible!

Read: Why Bowling Shoes Are So Ugly?

It’s funny how things like this can go overlooked for so long but now you know what makes them tick and will hopefully enjoy your next game, even more, knowing just how special those shoes really are!

Why Shouldn’t You Wear Your Own Shoes At The Bowling Alley?

You can’t wear your own shoes at the bowling alley because they would leave marks on the bowling lanes and also because of hygiene. 

Bowling alleys don’t want you wearing your own shoes because they’re afraid you will bring in dirt and germs from outside, neither of which are welcome on the shiny, polished wood of a lane.

So Why Do Bowling Alleys Rent Out Shoes? 

Wouldn’t it be easier for them to simply ban outside footwear entirely?

It’s all about money. 

First, letting people wear their own shoes means that a separate team wouldn’t have to monitor shoe rentals, which saves time and labor costs. 

Second—and perhaps more important—bowling alleys make money from shoe rentals.

They know that most people won’t want to go out and buy new shoes for one night of fun (I wouldn’t), so if you want to bowl, you’re going to have to pay up.

Because why else would bowling alleys offer rental shoes if not for profit?

Why Do Bowling Alleys Have Slippery Floors?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of my shoes making a good grip on the floor.

I want to be able to stay upright, sure, but if I can’t slide while bowling, what fun is there in that?

Slippery shoes were a necessary evil back in the days when bowling alleys were made out of wood.

There was a lot of upkeep involved with maintaining wooden lanes and floors—applying wax and such—and it’s much easier to work on things that are easy to slide across. 

Wooden floors also had a lot more friction compared to the synthetic surfaces used today, so they needed those slippery shoes just to keep people from getting stuck when they tried walking around.

The new materials used in modern lanes have less friction, so there’s no need for slippery shoes.

Modern lanes also have an oil pattern applied across them that helps ball movement by reducing friction as well as preventing wear on the lane surface (i.e., keeping it from getting scratched).

This means that your bowling ball slides because it wants to slide – not because your shoe is letting you slide.

Read: Why Bowling Balls Are So Heavy?

Yet if your shoe has enough traction to make you unable to comfortably walk across a lane without sliding or sticking, then they’ve put too much traction on them!

Why Is It Hard To Slide In Socks?

You might have tried to slide in a sock-clad foot but found the socks had no grip.

You may have wondered why this is and whether there’s any way you can improve your ability to slide in socks.

The answer is simple: socks are not very slippery.

This may seem odd, especially since many people wear them on hardwood floors, but it’s true.

Socks are often made of cotton, which is a good insulator, so friction between the sock and the floor is high when you’re sliding around.

That’s also why when you slide your feet in socks, your feet get hot from the friction.

It’s a fact of life: bowling shoes are slippery. But why?

The answer is simple—friction.

Bowling shoes have very little friction, meaning they slip a lot.

This is because the uppers of bowling shoes are designed to be slick, while the souls of bowling shoes are even slicker than that.

It’s no surprise that you could slide across an entire lane in a pair of bowling shoes if you wanted to (not recommended).

So why do bowling shoe designers choose to make their uppers so slick? 

The answer is simple—to improve your game!

Bowling shoes with no grip allow you to move smoothly and quickly down the lane, which can help dramatically improve your score.

You can also slide farther than you normally would when wearing regular athletic shoes which gives you more control over when and how far you release the ball.

This doesn’t mean every pair of bowling shoes has no grip though—some pairs have grips on them for players who want more traction when they play (like children or beginners).

If you get a pair of these grippy-soled ones then just ask them at the counter if they can de-grip them for free before leaving with your new purchase!

Read: What to look for before buying bowling shoes?

About me

I am Stev Rene. I am a writer, blogger, and athlete. My blog focuses on sports and fitness.
I started this blog because I felt that many people lack knowledge about sports and fitness.