How to Make My Bowling Shoes Slide More

Low section view of a young person standing in a bowling alley

The ability to slide on the bowling shoe with which you take the final step of your approach is essential to providing the power needed for strikes. The trouble is, the shoes don't always slide correctly. It could be because they're new, the approach area of the lanes is sticky, or a worn-down heel. Fortunately you can try a number of solutions to rectify these problems.

Buy Your Own Shoes

Renting bowling shoes can be problematic if you get stuck with a pair that don't slide well. The sliding will come naturally with your own shoes as you break them in and care for them. You'll have time through practice to work on the soles to make them slide more. You can expect your new shoes to be broken in and slide easily after just a few bowling sessions.

Use Bowling Powder

Apply a minute amount of sliding powder on the heel and sole of your sliding shoe -- your right shoe if you're left-handed or your left shoe if right-handed. The powder is typically available in any bowling alley shop. Take two or three test slides and then a full slide to the foul line to try it out. You might need to use an extra pat of powder for new shoes.

Get Interchangeable Slide Heels and Soles

The approach areas of a bowling lane can vary by bowling center and season. Summer humidity can make the approach area sticky and hinder your ability to slide, while the finish on lanes at some bowling centers may be thin in some spots. To counter this, buy bowling shoes with interchangeable slide soles and heels. That will enable you to choose the right heel or sole for whatever challenges the approach poses that day.

Pack a Steel Brush

Due to the pressure placed on your slide foot when you bowl, the sole of the shoe will flatten over time. This creates more friction, makes sliding more difficult and causes your foot to stick on the approach. To fix this problem, scrape the sole of your shoe from the toes to the heel with a steel brush right before you bowl. You only need to scrape the sole enough to remove some of the friction. Working the sole with a steel brush makes the material fluffier and better able to slide.

Tighten Your Shoelaces

If you notice your opposite foot isn't sliding much on the last step of your approach, try tightening your shoelaces. Loose shoelaces allow your foot too much wiggle room. That creates less slide since your feet can neither plant nor push firmly off the floor.