Going Bowling? What To Wear(And Not To Wear)

So, you’ve decided to go bowling with your coworkers? Or, you’re taking your girlfriend on a date to the bowling alley, or perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to join the bowling league that all of the guys at work keep talking about in the break room? If you aren’t sure what you should wear to the bowling alley, this article is meant to help you dress from your tip to toes. 

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What Do You Wear When Bowling?

When you go bowling, you want to ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothing that isn’t binding. You don’t want to wear anything that is going to be binding or restrict your movement in any way. The reason for this is because if you have your field of motion restricted by your clothing, your bowling game can and will be affected by your lack of ability to move, flex, stretch, and release the way that you need to in order to get the ball thrown and released at the pins effectively. 

You don’t want to wear tight jeans or slacks. They will be too restrictive to allow you to effectively bowl. If you are a young lady, you don’t want to wear a mini skirt, because you could be exposed when you are bowling effectively. If you aren’t being exposed, it is probably because your range of motion is being limited in an effort not to expose yourself while bowling. 

What Are The Different Types Of Bowling Shirts?

There are many different styles of bowling shirts. Normally, when we think bowling shirt, it is the retro style button-down shirt that comes to mind. They have been around for as long as the bowling league has been around, and they definitely come to mind when someone is talking bowling around us. 

The retro-style bowling shirts would usually have the name and logo of the bowling league team on the back of the shirt. Then on the front of the retro style bowling shirt, the team name would be above one breast pocket, and the team member’s name would be above the opposite breast pocket. 

These retro-style bowling shirts are very recognizable, however, they used to be known for being made of a material that would be irritating to those with sensitive skin, so a lot of people would feel the need to wear an undershirt along with the retro style bowling shirt. Yet, that could lead to a bowler becoming hot and uncomfortable, affecting their gameplay.

These days there are also bowling shirts that are t-shirt style and polo style shirts. With the t-shirt style bowling shirt, you will normally have the team name and logo screen printed onto the back of the shirt. Then the front can either have no print, or the players’ name and team name if the bowling league desires their names to be printed on the shirt. 

Polo style bowling shirts have become much more commonplace these days with the bowling leagues because they are generally comfortable and made from non-irritating cotton or cotton blend. Sometimes there will be screen printed logos and names on the polo style shirts, but sometimes you will find just the team and player name embroidered on the polo style bowling shirt. 

What Pants Do You Wear With A Bowling Shirt?

There are many types of bowling shirts, so there are many different options as to the type of pants that you can wear with a bowling shirt. If you have a polo style bowling shirt, you could wear both loose, comfortable jeans, or khakis with this style of a bowling shirt. If you have a t-shirt style bowling shirt, again, you could wear both khaki or comfortable jeans, but you could also wear athletic or yoga style pants or tights.

If you have the retro style button-down bowling shirt, again you could wear loose and comfortable jeans or khakis, but the athletic pants may not be the best choice to wear with this type of bowling shirt. However, your main goal is comfort and ease of motion. Whatever clothing that you choose should be to ensure that you can comfortably bowl, as that is what you are trying to accomplish.

Can You Wear Jeans To Bowling?

You may absolutely wear jeans to bowling. However, you want to remember that you are dressing for comfort, and to ensure that you have a full range of motion while you are bowling. You don’t want to wear jeans that are so tight that you cannot freely move to slide and brake during your bowling ball approach and release. 

Also, ladies should opt for jeans that are not low rise style jeans. You might find yourself distracted by pulling your pants up or shirt down and not focusing on your bowling game. Again, loose and comfortable regular or relaxed fit jeans would be your best options if you do decide to wear jeans while you are bowling. 

Can You Wear Shorts To Bowling?

You may wear shorts as well if you are planning to bowl, keeping in mind the idea that it is important to dress for comfort and non-binding style. You don’t want them to be too short that you would have to worry about exposing yourself. You don’t want them to be so tight that they affect your movement or ability to bowl. However, if they are loose, mid-length, and comfortable then you should have absolutely no problem with bowling in shorts.

Does he look comfortable to you?

Remember if you do opt to bowl in shorts, you should be mindful of the socks that you choose to wear. Ensure that you’re not wearing knee-length dress socks with your shorts or something of that nature. You could wear silly socks though and have an opportunity to show them off if you wear shorts to bowling. 

Can You Wear A Skirt To Bowling?

You may wear a skirt to bowling, just be mindful of the matters that we’ve noted earlier of ensuring it isn’t short enough that you are being exposed while trying to approach, slide and brake or release your bowling ball. The best skirt length that you could wear to bowling would be at knee length so that you are fully covered, yet it doesn’t inhibit your range of motion when trying to bowl. 

What Shoes Should You Wear Bowling?

When you are going bowling, you will need to either rent bowling shoes, or you need to have a pair of bowling shoes that you own to change into. The shoes that you wear into the bowling alley will need to be left in storage space, under your chair, or in a locker, because you are not to wear street shoes on the bowling lanes or approaches. 

Bowling Shoes For Men

There are three different types of bowling shoes: Rented, Performance, or Athletic. Rented shoes are the unattractive shoes we all know well that you rent for your time at the lane, then you return them at the end of the bowling period. Be certain that if you are going to wear rented shoes that you bring along or wear a pair of socks. 

Performance bowling shoes have one shoe that is intended to brake, and the other shoe is intended to slide. They are designed for either right or left-handed bowlers, in that, if you are a right-handed bowler, your left shoe will slide, or vice versa. Performance bowling shoes are usually worn by bowlers who are in a league or bowl frequently on their own. These types of bowling shoes are on the expensive side.

Athletic style bowling shoes will help you stay comfortable while you are on your feet bowling. League bowling nights can feel like a very long evening if your feet aren’t comfortable, and athletic style bowling shoes can help to alleviate some of this pain and fatigue to your feet. Dexter Bowling makes athletic style bowling shoes with an extra-long slide sole on them so that you can have the best possible approach to the lane in your athletic style bowling shoes. 

My Dexter bowling shoes

Athletic style bowling shoes come in many different colors and styles, and you can also find them with padded linings and collars, and cushioned insoles to help you stay more comfortable while on your feet bowling for extended periods of time. Some of them have breathable uppers, which will keep your feet cool and dry. They will also have a rubber, non-marking outsole. 

Bowling Shoes For Women

In women’s bowling shoes, you will find the same choices as with men’s bowling shoes. You can find them in performance and athletic styles, and you may also rent them from the bowling alley while you are there bowling on their lanes. 

A key thing to keep in mind with your bowling shoes is that you don’t want them to be too loose. A loose bowling shoe will throw off your balance and negatively impact your bowling game. You want them to be comfortable and snug enough to minimize the movement of your foot inside the shoe. 

Bowling Shoes For Kids

There are also performance and athletic style bowling shoes for kids. However, the performance style bowling shoes for kids are made for both right and left-handed bowlers, versus the hand specific style of the adult performance bowling shoes. 

You can find bowling shoes for kids in a wide array of styles, colors, and prints. They also come with different colored laces and characters to make them a fun style for a kid. 

Can You Wear Vans To Bowling?

Could these be bowling shoes?

If they have not been worn outside of the bowling alley, there is no reason that you cannot as long as they are comfortable and have clean, non-marking soles. However, once you have worn the Vans anywhere outside of the bowling alley, you will not be able to wear them onto the bowling lanes or approaches. If they do not have non-marking soles, you will not be able to wear them onto the lanes or the approaches. 

Also, and this is VERY important, remember to ask the manager of the bowling alley if it is ok before you try to bowl in Vans. They may not allow it and you don’t want to be embarrassed by having your game stopped and you and your party getting asked to leave.

Do You Need Socks For Bowling?

If you don’t intend to rent bowling shoes, then it is your decision to wear socks. However, because of the fact that a lot of people that aren’t league bowlers do rent their bowling shoes, you should most certainly wear socks if you are going to be renting a pair of bowling shoes. It is absolutely unhygienic to rent shoes and not wear socks with them. 

In fact, some people bring a second pair of socks with them to change into to put their own shoes back on instead of wearing the socks that were inside the rented bowling shoes in their own shoes. If you feel funny about other people’s germs or feet, you will probably want to bring a second pair of socks along to change into so that you aren’t taking home rented shoes on your socks.

However, you can play around with funny or patterned socks if you prefer. Bowling is a perfect place to showcase your sock collection. Even in pants, your funny socks will get to be exposed while you are changing in and out of your bowling shoes. If you are bowling in a skirt or shorts, your funny or patterned socks will be on display the entire time that you are bowling and could become a conversation piece at the lane while you’re waiting for your turn to bowl. 

 So, at the end of the day, when you go bowling, you want to ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothing that isn’t binding. You don’t want to wear anything that is going to be binding or restrict your movement in any way. The reason for this is because if you have your field of motion restricted by your clothing, your bowling game can and will be affected by your lack of ability to move, flex, stretch, and release the way that you need to in order to get the ball thrown and released at the pins effectively. 

Also, don’t forget to bowl plenty of strikes, and to have fun at the bowling alley. 

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