Casual bowlers and anyone else who will not try the game because of the thought of wearing rental shoes are now able to bowl in their own shoes thanks to the world’s first disposable bowling shoe pad.
Invented by entrepreneur Thomas Marandos of Selden, N.Y., and called BowlSole, the pads will directly adhere to most types of street shoes and slide the same as regular bowling shoes. They will be available only at bowling centers for about the same price as rental shoes.
“I went bowling with my son Brandon around 2002 and was sort of taken aback with the $5 shoe rental,” explained Marandos, whose patent on his idea is pending. “I said ‘$5 for the privilege of wearing someone else’s shoes.’ And they were not even new. They looked like they had been run over by a truck. But you did get a free pair of socks with them.
“That’s when I got the idea for the concept. Then life took over when I developed a construction management company which proved lucrative during the construction boom.”
When the construction boom ended, Marandos needed another project to fuel his creative juices. While the shoe pad idea always was the back of his mind, what brought it forward was another son Robert’s marketing class last year at Nassau County Community College.
“My professor asked us to come up with a product and I always remembered Dad’s thought on the bowling shoe pad,” Robert said. “I came up with the BowlSole name as part of my class. My professor thought it had great potential.”
The elder Marandos, a former executive vice president of manufacturing, invested his own money into research, development and applying for the patent. An engineer by trade, he’s now finalizing the manufacturing details with the goal of having product ready to sell later this spring. BowlSole will be featured in a booth June 29-30 at the International Bowling Expo Trade Show in Grapevine, Texas.
“BowlSole will be perfect for people who go bowling only a few times a year and don’t bowl enough to buy their own bowling shoes,” Marandos said. “This includes kids at birthday parties, people out on a date, co-workers at an office party or anyone who bowls just for fun.”