Bowling Thumb Protectors

Bowling Thumb Protectors

Thumbs are one of the most important fingers in bowling. They are constantly used and can suffer from irritation or damage over time. Bowling thumb protectors aim to help keep the bowler’s thumb safe. There is a lot to learn about the different types of bowling thumb protectors.

What are bowling thumb protectors used for?

Like the pinkie finger and index finger, the thumb is commonly placed inside of a bowling ball’s finger hole. Thumb protectors are a piece of equipment that is placed around the thumb, and sometimes palm, during bowling. Over the course of a game, the fingers inside of the holes can become swollen or sore. Thumb protectors can help fill in the gap between the thumb and the rest of the hole, preventing that swelling. This can help provide a more consistent release as well as reducing discomfort. 

Thumb savers can also help prevent the thumb from scraping or becoming irritated over time. It helps take the friction off of the skin and allows the thumb to easily slide out. Some thumb protectors can be textured rather than smooth, which helps the bowler gain a better grip on the ball. 

Things To Consider

When looking for bowling thumb protectors, you'll want to consider the following:

  • How much do you want to spend on a thumb protector?
  • How often will you be using your thumb protector?
  • What kind of thumb protector are you looking for?
  • Will you be wearing any other hand protection while bowling?


The main types of thumb protectors are thumb save gloves and thumb socks.

Thumb Saver Glove

Bowling Thumb Saver Glove

Thumb saver gloves are bowling gloves that have thumb protection directly built into them. Unlike a traditional two-finger bowling glove, thumb saver gloves have a third finger around the thumb. These gloves provide the same benefits of reduced swelling and added grip as a traditional bowling glove, but include the thumb as well.

Thumb Sock

Bowling Thumb Sock

Thumb socks are thumb protectors that only cover the thumb and sometimes wrap around the palm. Thumb socks can be worn with traditional bowling gloves or by themselves. These provide the same benefits as thumb saver gloves, but allow the user to have different glove options while still protecting the thumb.


The most common materials that bowling thumb protectors are made out of are lycra, neoprene, and velcro.

  • Lycra: Lycra is the brand name for spandex in the US. This material provides the stretch and comfort aspects of the thumb protectors.
  • Neoprene: Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber that is commonly used in braces and supports. This material is used in thumb protectors to provide protection.
  • Velcro: Velcro is a binding material that is commonly used in thumb protectors. It allows the user to adjust the tightness and easily remove or put on the thumb protector.


The most popular brands that produce thumb protectors are Brunswick, Bowling Ball Factory, and Robby’s.

  • Brunswick: Brunswick is one of the largest bowling equipment manufacturers and is known for their high quality products. They make a few types of thumb socks out of lycra. 
  • Bowling Ball Factory: Bowling Ball Factory is a bowling retailer that makes their own bowling equipment and sells other brands as well. They make their own thumb sock, which has additional support.
  • Robby’s: Robby’s makes all types of protective bowling equipment. They make thumb saver gloves as well as thumb socks.


When deciding which thumb protector to buy, always consider the durability, cost and sizes.


Different types of thumb protectors will likely have different lifespans. Most thumb saver gloves will likely last the longest as they are usually the thickest and made with high quality materials. However, if other parts of the glove wear out the thumb protection will go with it. Thumb socks usually do not last as long but will often come with a few per pack. Either way, one purchase will likely last many games.


Thumb saver gloves will usually cost more than thumb socks as they function as a bowling glove as well. Thumb saver gloves will usually cost around $25 to $30. Most thumb socks can usually be found for under $15 and will have a few per pack.


Most thumb saver gloves will usually come in sizes small to XL. These gloves will usually fit the same as any regular bowling glove. On the other hand, thumb socks will usually come as one size fits all but can sometimes be adjusted with velcro or straps.


How much do bowling thumb protectors cost?

Most bowling thumb saver gloves will cost more than thumb socks. Thumb saver gloves can usually be found for under $30. Thumb socks can usually be found for under $15 depending on how much support and adjustability they have.

Can you wear a bowling glove or brace with a thumb protector?

Yes, you can wear a bowling glove or brace with thumb protectors. If you buy a thumb saver glove, the bowling glove will actually be built into the thumb protection. Thumb socks will typically fit with any sort of glove as well. Braces are usually big enough to fit around gloves and most thumb protectors.

What are the benefits of wearing a thumb protector?

Thumb protectors have a few different benefits. Just like bowling gloves and finger protectors do, thumb protectors prevent the thumb from swelling or irritation during bowling. They also protect the thumb against cuts or scrapes that may occur with repeated throwing. Both of these factors allow the bowler to have a more consistent and smooth release.