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Introduction to Bowling Shoe Styles

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Since I'm not really a bowler, I had never given much thought before to bowling shoes. Bowling shoes were just those multi-colored, rented things that I professed to hating every time I was forced to bowl. But, I must admit, I actually kind of liked bowling shoes too.

No, not the "these bowling shoes have been worn by 1200 other people before me" element - but I kind of liked the style.

In a very retro, kitschy kind of way, bowling shoes struck me as kind of cool. I couldn't exactly figure out why bowling shoes looked the way they did, but I figured there was a lot to know.

So, I set out to find out all I could about bowling shoes.

Bowling Shoe Styles and Designs

To my surprise, not all bowling shoes look like the ones you rent at your local bowling alley. Some of them have kind of a retro sneaker look to them, while others look like more modern cross-trainers.

Of course, the traditionally styled bowling shoes are also still available, but if you haven't been to a pro shop lately, you might not be aware of how cool that same style of bowling shoe can look when it's all black, or a pristine white.

And speaking of colors, though bowling shoes are most often seen in white or darker colors, the more adventurous bowler can find bowling shoes in colors and designs as daring as they want them to be. From bowling shoes with flames on the sides to those with neon pink vamps; from checkerboard uppers to metallic toeboxes, there seems to be no shortage of color and pattern choices when it comes to bowling shoes.

Bowling Shoe Choices: Performance or Athletic

There are performance bowling shoes, and athletic bowling shoes.

An athletic style bowling shoe is a shoe that features the look and feel of a regular athletic shoe, but is custom made for the sport of bowling. Athletic styled bowling shoes typically have a sliding sole on both shoes, which is good for beginning bowlers, or people who bowl once a week or less.

A performance bowling shoe is just what the name implies - a bowling shoe made for bowling which, by design, is meant to help achieve better bowling performance. This is acheived through having one shoe designated as a sliding shoe, and the other shoe designed for traction.

To learn more about the differences between athletic and performance bowling shoes check out Before You Buy Bowling Shoes, which also addresses whether to buy or rent, as well as other things to look for in a pair of bowling shoes.

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