How to Clean Bowling Shoes?


Whether you’re an avid bowler or a complete newbie to the activity, the right kind of bowling shoes massively impacts your performance. Alongside having the right pair of shoes, it is also important to care for them, maintain them and clean them regularly. This way, they can be in their best shape when you need them.

Like all bowling equipment, bowling shoes start showing signs of wear and tear over time. These signs may be more apparent and come sooner for those who bowl frequently as compared to others. As you use your shoes for bowling, they start picking up dirt, tears, and scruffs.

Now, this isn’t just a concern for the sake of the appearance of the shoes; the wear and tear also start to have an impact on your performance in the alley. Therefore, cleaning your bowling shoes and maintaining them is absolutely crucial.

How to Maintain Your Bowling Shoes?

To clean your bowling shoes, make a cleaning solution of dishwashing liquid and lukewarm water. Remove the laces and massage them thoroughly with soap water. Then, dry them on a towel. For the uppers, apply the soap solution on them and clean using a brush and dry them with a towel. Then, air-dry your shoes.

Materials Required

Apart from the sole, cleaning bowling shoes is pretty much the same as cleaning any other shoe pair. There are a few things that you’ll need to make sure you get the best end results. These include:

  • Mild dishwashing soap
  • Dry towel
  • Wire brush
  • Show tree (newspaper stuffing also works, but it isn’t recommended as a wet newspaper may lead to bleeding ink which should be avoided)
  • An old toothbrush or an old but clean paintbrush

bowling shoes cleaning

After you’ve gathered all the materials needed, follow these steps:

  1. To make a cleaning solution, mix the dishwashing liquid in small amounts with lukewarm water.
  2. Next, remove the laces and apply the cleaning solution to them. Massage the laces thoroughly with soap water and rinse and repeat the process a couple of times. Once they are clean, dry the laces on a towel.
  3. To wash the uppers, apply the prepared soap solution on them and clean thoroughly using a brush. To get rid of the soap residue, blot the uppers using a dry towel.
  4. Repeat the process multiple times
  5. Finally, air-dry the shoes by leaving them out in the sun.

Hand-washing your bowling shoes using the steps listed above is the safest way of cleaning them. Putting them in a washing machine or blowing hot air on them through a blower to save time will damage the shoes in the long run. Similarly, using a harsh cleaning agent (like bleach) will severely damage your bowling shoes, which is why only a mild-strength dishwashing liquid is best.

How Clean Bowling Shoes

How to Clean Bowling Shoe Soles?

Cleaning the midsole of the shoe can either be difficult or easy, depending upon the kind of bowling shoe you own. This is because some bowling shoes have a completely flat sole, whereas others have cracks, ridges, nooks, or are painted black.

However, in order to clean the midsoles, you need to apply a small amount of the prepared cleaning solution to the shoe and brush it from left to right. Make sure you don’t use too much soap as it will leave behind an excess soapy residue. Check for any stains or dirt remaining and repeat the process if needed.

When it comes to cleaning the midsoles, it is important to inspect the situation of the shoe and choose the best cleaning strategy according to it. For example, if the soles have a painted surface, it is better to use a microfiber cloth wrapped around your fingers to gently clean the surface instead of a brush because it can be too harsh. Dry the midsoles down using a dry towel.

Another thing to pay attention to is the integrity of the sole. Some shoes come with interchangeable soles, which you can replace with a new one once the older one wears out.


Bowling Shoes Cleaning FAQ

It doesn’t hurt to learn more about bowling shoes, so you can maintain and take care of them better. Here are some interesting questions about bowling shoes that people usually have:

How Long Do Bowling Shoes Last?

On average, a pair of bowling shoes can last you about 1-2 years, depending upon how you use them and how well you take care of them. Regularly hand-washing your bowling shoes and carefully storing them instead of chucking them in a washing machine to save time can prevent further damage and add to the shoes’ longevity.

Can You Wear Bowling Shoes Outside as Regular Shoes?

Absolutely not! Bowling shoes are not meant to be worn outside as regular shoes, even for a brief amount of time. Wearing your freshly cleaned bowling shoes outside is equivalent to washing away all the effort spent cleaning the shoes and inviting a more troubling clean-up afterward. This is because things like mud, gravel, etc., are hard to clean, and they damage the sole of the shoes.

Even though it’s best to completely avoid stepping out in bowling shoes, investing in shoe covers is a smart idea. So, in situations where you need to make a quick visit to the restroom or grab a quick snack, the covers can protect the bowling shoes by providing a barrier between them and the ground.

How to Make Bowling Shoes Less Slippery?

Here are a few things you can do to make your bowling shoes less slippery:

If you are using rental bowling shoes, consider buying a good pair for yourself. This is because rental bowling shoes tend to slide a lot as they are equipped with a sliding sole meant to accommodate both left and right-handed bowlers, which sometimes results in a lack of traction.

Synthetic approaches and lanes can be slippery depending on the humidity levels, their maintenance, etc. A good pair of bowling shoes will allow you to be more consistent at delivering the ball and reduce the sliding length.

Rough up the sole of the siding shoe between the frames using nylon or wire shoe brush to reduce the slide.

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