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Why Do Bowlers Touch Their Shoes?

why do bowlers touch their shoes

Ever watched a tournament and noticed bowlers touching their shoes? They always seem to wipe them off right before they run up and toss the ball leaving most of us to wonder, “why do bowlers touch their shoes?” There is actually an explanation and we will share it with you here. If you’re a bowler, you could use the info to amp up your bowling game and do as the pros do.

Bowlers touch their shoes or wipe them to clear any moisture or debris off of their shoes so that they don’t experience any traction. Bowling shoes are recommended when bowling, helping you slide and glide as you toss the ball to break the pins. The trick is in the materials that help you glide smoothly and not get stuck due to non-slippery shoes.

The traction would stop them from gliding and prevent them from throwing the bowling ball in the right place to bowl a strike or a spare. Knowing the reason why it’s important to wipe your bowling shoes, you can get closer to bowling like a pro, maybe becoming better than you ever thought you could be. From keeping your shoes from sticking to understanding what bowling shoes are made of, we’ve got it all below.

Why Are Bowling Shoes Important?

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When you touch the bowling lane, it’s slippery, and with regular shoes, you could fall to the ground. While this might not seem like a big deal, you could be at risk for broken bones or other injuries. It’s not just about getting hurt though, it’s also about your bowling game. Wondering why bowling shoes are so important? We’ll tell you why.

It’s All About the Throw

The most important reason why you should wear bowling shoes is your throw. The way that you roll a bowling ball is critical to your score, helping you knock more pins down and get multiple strikes. With sticky shoes, you can’t toss the ball smoothly because you may trip up and fall and wind up throwing it straight into the gutter.

Safety Matters

If you walk around the lanes and up to the snack bar in regular shoes, you’ll be fine. Even if you bowl in regular shoes, you may be ok unless you touch the slick part of the lane. Once you cross the line of the bowling lane, the floor turns super slippery and smooth. Wearing bowling shoes, you’ll have better traction and be able to resist the fall.

Falling with a 10-pound bowling ball could come with all sorts of dangers, including broken bones and fractured ligaments. Who wants to skip bowling night because of a broken foot? Chances are, not you.

They Protect the Lanes

You might see bowling alley staff running across lanes with a cloth to keep them nice and smooth. That’s because a smooth surface is required to keep the ball rolling all the way to the bowling pins. The smooth and waxy feel needs to be protected and takes careful maintenance to keep them that way. Wearing bowling shoes protects the lanes and keeps them from getting scuffs and scratches.

If you’re an avid bowler, we recommend purchasing and using your own bowling shoes like these from BSI. They are high-quality, come in many different styles, and perform much better than your average bowling alley rental shoes.

How Do You Keep Your Shoes From Sticking When Bowling?

If you’re a rookie bowler, you might notice that sometimes your bowling shoes get sticky. If they’re sticky, they won’t slide properly and will prevent you from improving your throw. To keep your shoes from sticking when bowling, follow these three tips.

1. Use Bowling Powder

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The same powder that you use for your hands works as a way to keep your shoes from sticking and keep them slick enough to bowl. Don’t put too much though, because then you might not go anywhere. Take a little and start at the heel, patting a bit. After, take a walk and see if you slip or stick, adding more if necessary.

We recommend Ebonite Ultra Slide Bowling Powder. It can be used on both your thumb and your shoes to reduce sticking.

2. Dust Them Off

Just like the pros do, you can take your hands or a cloth and dust off the bottom of your shoes to keep them from getting sticky. Without any debris everywhere, you won’t have any slips or unwanted grips that keep you from getting down the lane. You want the bottoms to be as clean as possible, so keep them spic and span and free of debris.

3. Check your Shoelaces

One last thing you can do to keep shoes from sticking is to tighten up your shoelaces. If your feet have a little bit too much wiggle room, you might not be able to control your slide or glide. When trying on bowling shoes, go for those that fit just right and make sure that you properly lace up and tie.

Final Thoughts

Bowling shoes have special soles that make them slip and slide along the floors of the bowling alley. They are made of a mixture of leather and rubber and need to be kept free of any debris to function properly. As far as the rest of the shoes, it’s pretty standard, coming with leather pieces that are stitched together. The most important part is the bottom, helping you throw better and more precisely.

When caring for your bowling shoes, make sure that you know what the soles are made of and only use approved products to clean them. You could scratch or affect the surface and wind up not being able to glide smoothly when you throw – and it also helps increase the lifespan of your shoes.

Learning the tricks of the trade like touching your shoes, you can take your bowling game up a few notches. Keep your shoes from slipping with sticking and keep a smooth glide as you toss the ball. When you take care of your shoes, you’ll notice that your stride gets smoother and your tosses more precise to hit the pins exactly where you aim. There’s a lot more to your shoes than just looking like the pros, so take care of them and see how your game grows. 

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