To put it simply, I have been presented with the task of creating the next generation of bowling footwear. The project is for a somewhat large national bowling corporation and they plan on doing a lot of distribution and ultimately retail. I essentially have to do what Michael Ditullo did with the Converse Weapon. I have to re-design, while respecting the culture and tradition of bowling and the shoe. So anyone that would like to throw in their 2 cents in the form of opinions, advice, pictures or sketches, all are welcome.
j/k, i have seen a few bowling shoes and thought that they looked kinda cool at times. I wonder do the various bowling shoes for many of the alleys across the nation use the same last? maybe something interesting could be done there? i just think the traditional bowling shoe has a quirkiness to it that makes it kinda cool and the traditional construction methods on them make them authentic as well, i think there is alot there to build off of and look forward to a new execution. My opinion would be to stay away from anything too flashy/sporty and keep the old school aesthetic.
While I’m not a footwear guy, I do bowl quite a bit so I figure I’d throw my .02 in.
Are you aiming to design for the lane (IE the rental shoes?) or for the bowler who owns their own shoe?
I know most regular bowlers who own their own shoes are using shoes that for the most part, don’t look much different then regular sneakers. But since it sounds like this is more for the lanes rental shoes maybe consider some of the aspects that would benefit the lanes:
-Simplicity - cheap, easy to maintain, materials that are durable
-Identification - A look that makes it so no one will steal the shoes and show up wearing them at their next game (people will steal house shoes if they bowl often enough but don’t want to buy their own pair and can exchange an old beat up pair of sneakers for them.
-Cleaning - anything that can be done to make the shoe easier to keep clean
Thanks for the input so far.
In response to dziner82:
One aspect that I definitely plan on respecting is the old school aesthetic. That won’t be altered to drastically.
In response to Cyberdemon:
The idea is to make it a rental shoe. I’ve been doing a bunch of trend research and definitely have noticed that most owned bowling shoes look like regular sneakers. As dziner82 stated, I definitely want to try to respect the classic bowling shoe aesthetic to some extent, while modernizing it as well. The stealing point is a good one, but almost something I can’t worry about while designing. You can make the argument that if it looks good, they’ll steal it. However you can also make the argument that if it looks really bad they’ll steal it too. Ultimately I think it’s more an issue of security than design, or atleast not footwear design.
I’m currently looking into the issues of cleaning, perception of ownership, and interchangeability. Most people don’t like the idea of wearing someone else old shoes, so I definitely think there is something to be said about that. I’m not sure how to tackle the problem just yet, but aside from design I think that hygiene is worth researching.
Thanks again for the feedback, keep it coming.
I personally love bowling shoes, I think i big part of it is that they are a bit unusual, that there are color and form choices that would not be the first thing you think of. I think to keep the bowling feel is important, and integrating the size of the shoe more seamlessly would be fantastic, usually feels tacked on, which it probably is.
I was wondering what you had come up with…
My friend just picked up a pair of the ones with the buffed blue toe. Some very nice details on those.