How to Clean Bowling Shoes

Any bowler worth his salt would stress the importance of bowling shoes. Considering how bowling shoes can affect the outcome of a game, a bowler needs to take his pair of bowling shoes seriously and keep them in top condition. 

Why are bowling shoes important?

Bowling shoes are essential for three primary reasons. They help protect the approach area, enable a bowler to bowl safely, and help him excel in the sport. 

1. Protect the approach area

You aren’t allowed to wear regular shoes to the bowling area because the wooden approach area to the lane is highly polished. 

Regular shoes would create scuff marks and cause damage to the wooden floor, making it difficult for expert bowlers who strategically use the polished area to approach, glide, and release better.

2. Promote safety

Bowling shoes are manufactured to help bowlers glide through the bowling surface. However, if the shoes aren’t taken care of properly, they can get stuck on the floor. 

If a bowler faces even a small amount of friction during a run-up, he can face serious injuries to the wrists, back, and ankles.

3. Enhance performance

Unlike regular shoes, bowling shoes are a tad bit different. 

What sets them apart from everyday shoes are their soles. The soles are specifically created to help bowlers slide into their release or brake from it, allowing them to have maximum control over the ball.

2-Part Method to Clean Bowling Shoes 

Bowling shoes aren’t meant to last a lifetime. Like any product on the market, they are also subject to wear and tear. 

Constant use of the shoes can flatten the soles. After all, when sliding, the pressure of your entire body is exerted onto the shoes. 

After some time, the shoes would stop gliding as smoothly as they used to because of the increased friction. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure your bowling shoes can stand the test of time. 

SOLE – Use a wire brush

You can expertly use a wire brush to clean the sole of your bowling shoes. Be sure to be gentle though with the scraping process. 

  • If you want your shoes to slide more, brush the sole from the front end to the back. 
  • If you want them to slide less, brush the sole from the heel to the front. 
  • If you want the shoes to have an in-between effect, consider brushing the sole from side to side. 

Of course, you should be gentle with your strokes. Once you notice the material has become fluffier, your shoes are ready to be used again.

If you don’t have a wire brush, you can use a semi-abrasive item as its substitute. 

However, I strongly advise you to use a wire brush. You should spare no expense in taking care of your shoes. 

UPPER – Use a damp cloth with warm soapy water

Cleaning bowling shoes does not end at the sole. It is also necessary to clean the outer part of the shoes. 

To do this, I would recommend you to clean your bowling shoe as you would clean your tennis shoe. You will simply need a cloth/rag with warm soapy water. 

Just wet the cloth with the warm soapy water, then ring it out. Use it to lightly scrub the outer layer, the edges, and the top of the shoe. 

Taking Care of Your Bowling Shoes – Tips & Tricks

  • Use bowling shoe covers to protect your shoes from moisture, oil, and dirt. The more you cover your shoe with this protective layer, the less you have to clean your shoes manually. 
  • When you put your shoes in the shoe compartment of your bowling bag, leave the zipper open a little bit. This will help the shoes air out after use and prevent moisture from accumulating.
  • Keep your shoes in a cool and dry place. 
  • Do not just slip in and out of your bowling shoes. Completely untie your shoes when slipping them on or taking them off to maintain their form.
  • In most cases, your feet will sweat after a bowling session. Disinfect your shoes from the inside out after every session.
  • Never get your shoes wet. If they do get wet, dry them out first then bring the affected area back to life with a bristle brush.


Looking for the best bowling shoes can take a lot of time and effort. So when you finally find a pair that strikes your fancy and helps improve your bowling, you better make sure to take care of it. 

It would certainly be a painful experience if you lost your footing in the bowling alley because of sticky shoes. 

You’d get bruised, but not as much as your dignity! Plus, you would also be covered in oil. 

If you take care of your bowling shoes, they will take care of you when you are on the bowling alley. Remember that the proper use of a bowling shoe cover and a wire brush will go a long way in keeping your bowling shoes clean and ready for action.