What are the best shoes for lawn bowls? Check out our top 6. Are yours on the list?
Bowls shoes can make a big difference in how we play. This may sound like an exaggeration, however, the shoes we wear affect our performance in many different ways.
Bowlers can walk a significant distance during a game. Having proper footwear is important to stay comfortable and able to concentrate on the game. Proper footwear can also help support your feet and ankles, preventing injury.
Conversely, poor footwear can lead to a variety of issues. Common problems seen include:
- Stiff soles restricting movement through the foot
- Poor arch support leading to foot cramp
- Poor fit leading to blisters
Whilst these are uncommon, it’s important to take your footwear seriously – especially if you have worn the same shoes for many years – before any of these take hold.
The benefits of great shoes are plain to see. Today we look at the best shoes on the market, so you can up your footwear game!
What to look for
As always we need to look at how we need to judge our choices. These are the points on which we will be ranking the shoes in this guide.
The right fit
The primary purpose of bowls shoes is comfort. Most bowls shoes fit as described, so you can be confident that you will get the fit you need.
Certain models are specifically designed to cater to specific foot fits. If you have struggled to find shoes that fit, then we have you covered. Our list contains all common foot types.
From cushioned soles to breathable wicking fabric, bowls manufacturers have added an abundance of technology into shoes in recent years.
Consider what you struggle with most with your current shoe and I’m sure you will find a solution in the latest ranges.
We have been big supporters of the push towards a more relaxed, colourful sport. And the main brands haven’t let us down! We have shoes with a variety of colour choices – including white for you traditionalists.
There are a variety of shoe styles to choose from. This isn’t just about the look of the shoe, shoe styles have a big impact on the fit, and fastenings (and thus the usability).
For those who have been around bowls for many years, you will know that trainers are a very recent addition to the sport.
However, with the push towards more modern bowls, trainer styles have come into their own.
They bring with them all of the advancements from the running shoe market, which makes them ideal for those looking for a bit more comfort.
On the more traditional side, we have the slip-on. Designed for comfort and rarely found in anything other than white or grey.
Moccasin style shoes are mainly designed for those with a wider foot fit. They offer all of the comforts of the slip-on, but with a unique look and feel.
Velcro is the traditional replacement for the lace-up trainer. These look more like the slip-on style, with the extra security and adjustability of a fastening.
Here are our 6 best lawn bowls shoes. We have selected the best from each style, to give you the best choices available.
This is one of the most popular trainer styles around. There is a reason why I see these most when out on the greens!
The HM74 has a memory foam inner (the bottom of the inside of the shoe) for extra comfort. It basically acts like a pillow for your foot. This is great at avoiding foot cramps and reduces the impact of your leading foot.
Like a lot of modern trainer styles, the HM74 has a breathable upper (the bit that goes over the top of your foot). This helps keep your feet cool, and dry. It’s not a great feeling when you’ve been playing for a few hours in the sun and you take your shoe off only to find your socks drenched! This isn’t great for your feet, especially if you’re playing several days a week. This design of upper will prevent this moisture build-up – ensuring you can keep your feet in the best condition possible.
Many bowlers who I’ve spoken to about these are quick to mention how light they are. The fabric used keeps the weight down to a minimum. Again this will help over long games, and will make it feel like you’re not wearing shoes at all!
Ideal for lawn bowls shoes are very light
The HM74 is a great option for those looking for a lightweight comfortable shoe, however, a lot of us need a bit more support. And this requires a different approach.
The Henselite Blade34 is a far more substantial shoe. It has extra ankle support for comfort and stability, and will generally help support your delivery stride.
Despite this extra rigidity it still has a nice flexible sole, which helps as you push forward on your standing foot.
As with many modern trainer footwear, the upper has been designed to keep your feet cool. Henselite refers to this as “Airflow mechanisms to keep your feet cool” – in plain language, I think that just means small holes! Just goes to show that even bowls isn’t immune to technical jibber-jabber.
Excellent bowls shoes. They’re comfortable and the sole flexes nicely.
Yes. Another trainer. However, this one makes it onto our list as a great “best of both” option.
The shoe has been designed with a flexible front/midsole, but with a sturdier heel to help soften the impact, and to help support your ankle.
Whilst Aero claim this is designed for indoor bowling, we feel it’s versatile enough for the outdoor game too.
Another “feather in the cap” is the fact the Sprint was the official shoe used by Australian team during the last Commonwealth games, so you’re in good company!
Best bowling shoes I’ve ever had. And look really smart
Henselite Men’s Grey Team Moccasin Style
Moccasin styles are quite rare these days, however, one that does shine is Henselite’s model.
The main body of this shoe is made of leather, which is a change from the composite materials used on most modern trainer styles. These are designed for durability and should last years.
These, like most moccasin shoes, are ideal for those looking for a wide fit, with many mentioning the increased comfort after struggling with other models previous.
Henselite Mens HM75
Henselite has recently introduced the HM75. This has all the benefits of Henseliete’s HM trainer range, but with no laces, effectively making these a modern slip-on.
This is one of our favourite models and is ideal for those with flexibility and movement range issues.
These do come with an additional 2 fastening options:
- Lace-up – these come with standard trainer laces so they can be fastened like a classic trainer
- Toggle – this is an innovative idea from Henseliete. This option consists of a toggle that you would normally find on a backpack. Again, this is great for those with mobility issues, but also allows some extra control over the fit
Drakes Pride Astro
Our final choice is from Drakes Pride. Their spin on the trainer style is their focus on the grip.
The grip is one of the most important factors in a bowls shoe. Slipping can be very common, especially in wet conditions (which happens far more than we’d like to admit). This is even more important when considering the general rule of “flat-soled shoes”.
How can we get decent grip from our shoes if they can’t have grip? Well, the Astro’s hardwearing rubber outer sole features a “micro-grip” base which helps to prevent slipping, effectively giving your shoe grip, WITHOUT any grip. Very clever.
Much like the Henseliete HM range, the Drakes Pride Astros are super lightweight and flexible.
We also love the simple modern look of these. They are available in two striking colour choices (black and red).
We hope our guide has given you plenty to think about, and even if you don’t choose one of our top 6, we hope we have helped you find what you need. There are plenty of great new models on the market, and I think many would be surprised at the advancement seen in recent years.
It’s hard for us to choose a favourite, especially as each one caters to such a variety of different issues, however, for us the Drakes Pride wins it due to their micro-grip soles. The extra grip these provide can give you so much more confidence in your delivery in the wet, making it much easier to concentrate on your game and not the conditions.