Since its release in 2015, the Dexter THE 9 has been one of the top selling bowling shoes on the market. Made with high-end materials and cutting edge technology, the company promises a great fit for any type of bowler. Is it currently the best option on the market today? Some would say so. Here is a closer look at the shoes after getting a chance to try them.
Out of the box, the shoes definitely stand out. They look like a premium shoe, especially when catching a glimpse of the soft leather that covers most of the upper. It’s the type of leather that a lot of people would love to have on their dress shoes, so having it on bowling shoes is a classy touch.
Of course, bowling shoes can look great, but they need to have top-level performance materials on them as well. The sole of the shoe really stands out initially, as there is absolutely no trimming on the outsole. The outsole system is interchangeable, allowing for a fit on the left and right shoe. This is convenient for those lefties who seem to be left in the dark at times.
Slipping them on for the first time, the fit is already pretty good overall. It is recommended to order either true to size or a half size down from their normal athletic shoe size. A person should strive for a close fit since it will provide more control. There is nothing worse than having a shoe that does not mold to a person’s foot correctly, allowing too much wiggle room and throwing off things ever so slightly.
Comfort is there right out of the box, especially in the heel area. A lot of cheaper shoes are not going to have a raised heel, but this is perfect for not only comfort but a more uniformed delivery.
On The Lanes
The big test was going to come at the bowling alley, and the T.H.E 9 delivered in a big way. With a lot of customizable options, a person can really get the perfect amount of sliding, depending on how they play. It also depends on the type of lane a person is usually playing on, but there is really no right or wrong answer when dealing with the different types of souls.
Everything is completely interchangeable on the sole and the heel. Each new pair of shoes comes with the THS7 slide pad already attached, as well as the H5 ST, THT2 Traction par and the B2 UB. It’s worth playing around with different options at first, but most people are going to stick with a certain setup and never really use the others.
Flexibility is not really something that is noticeable during the initial fitting, but on the lanes, it is definitely noticeable. Dexter added these hyper flex channels at two different stress points on the foot, and they really make a big difference. Anyone who has felt like bowling shoes needed a little bit more flexibility will be very happy with this type of shoe. It resembles a basketball or tennis shoe as far as flexibility is concerned, which will help with delivery as well as durability.
The only negative when hitting the lanes for the first time with the shoes is actually a positive, at least when a person gets used to it. Chances are, most people are going to slide more than ever with the shoes initially. That is because most are moving from either an inferior pair of shoes or a pair of shoes that are a little bit older and not performing at a high level. Take things slowly at the beginning, and that will prevent any type of injury early on. It just takes a little bit of time to get used to the new type of sliding, but it is a positive one people are used to it.
How did the Dexter THE 9 hold up?
One of the main selling points of the issue is durability, and after playing in them for about 20 hours, it is clear that these shoes are meant to last. They pretty much look brand new, and they fit better than ever before. It takes a little bit of time for the shoes to really mold to a persons foot, which really makes them feel great. It is very easy to wear these for hours at a time, And they never feel too cumbersome.
The pads on bowling shoes will always need to be replaced after a certain amount of time, but there is no way around that. The good news is the Toehold system, a major selling point of the shoe, is great. The shoes definitely have less abrasion during play, and the ability to remove and replace so many things will only extend the life of the shoes. The upper part of the shoe holds up well thanks to the quality materials and the right amount of breathability.
Speaking of breathability, that is something that might be overlooked at first, but it makes a big difference the first time a person plays in a warm environment, or for a long amount of time. The feet are able to breathe very well thanks to just the right amount of mesh in the lower tongue area. That not only helps keep the feet cool, but it prevents the shoes from smelling after several wears.
Leather inevitably creases a little bit after use, but the uppers still stay very strong after bowling with these for over 20 hours. Clean them once in a while, as it is a very fast and easy process. Even the white color still pops after hours and hours of use on not the cleanest lanes.
Final thoughts on the Dexter THE 9
Dexter is one of the most trusted brands in bowling, and they put out some really fine products across the board. The T.H.E 9 bowling shoes provide just about everything that a bowler could ask for. They are very stable and supportive, but still flexible enough to feel like a true athletic shoe. Their new Toehold system is definitely something that is more than just a new marketing buzzword. It makes it not just a high-performance shoe, but a durable one as well.
No matter what skill level a person plays at, the shoes can really benefit any type of bowler. It would be nice to see an additional color option or two, but most people will be satisfied with either the white or the black model.