What is a strike?

It was curious to see cartoon characters get their thumbs into bowling balls and crawl down the lane, but the friction between their fingers and the ball is a real problem facing bowling enthusiasts.

Humans have very different hands. Some have soft, smooth hands with thin thumbs and others have rough hands with thicker thumbs. So it doesn’t make much sense for all the bowling ball holes to fit us.

In this short article, we will review some of the best bowling tape brands on the market that ensure good grip and release.

Why bowling thumb tape is important

Whether you use it on the thumb or in the thumb hole of the ball, the bowling thumb tape provides several advantages for bowlers.

1. Thumb protection

Friction between the thumb and the bowling ball can cause calluses or blisters after continued use. The tape provides a layer between both surfaces to protect your thumb from excessive friction.

2. Better control and release of the ball

Depending on your style of play, you may want a certain level of friction between your thumb and ball to execute the perfect throw.

Thumb tapes come in different levels of friction to offer anything from a smooth, fast release to a slow, slow control.

In addition, people with sweaty hands may want to use duct tape to ensure better grip on the ball and prevent slipping.

3. Improved hole size

If the hole is too wide, it can adversely affect the throws. Therefore, many people with thin fingers who need to adjust the size of the thumb hole can use thicker tapes to do so.

4 Best Bowling Inch Ribbon Options

Finding the perfect thumb ribbon for bowling can be very difficult given the wide variety of options on the market. To narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of the top four bowling ribbons today.

1. Monster Bowlingball

Bowlingball provides a 30-piece package designed to be placed inside the thumb hole. It comes in two colors that vary in terms of release.

The color black provides a smooth, quick release that is perfect for people with dry hands who may be affected by constant friction.

The color white provides a slower, more controlled release, more suitable for people with softer or sweatier hands.

Things we like

  • Affordable price point
  • Durable material that will last you many games
  • Great grip

Things we don’t do

  • The tape may be too stiff
  • The adhesive can leave debris inside the holes

2. Ultra Tac Bowling Ball Factory

The Bowling Ball Factory thumb tape roll has 100 pre-cut pieces, each piece is about 3 “thick. The tape is white and textured to provide some friction for grip.

It is designed to be added to the inside of the thumb holes to improve grip and release. It also reduces friction between the fingers and the inside of the holes.

However, as with all thumb hole tapes, the adhesive can leave annoying debris inside the bowling ball. If you are looking for a solution to this problem, check out the following product, as it is designed to fit the back of your thumb.

Things we like

  • It can last up to 8 games
  • It can be used to improve both fit and grip
  • Great price per unit

Things we don’t do

  • Adhesive waste can be difficult to remove
  • The material is prone to cracks

3. Turbo Grips course adaptation tape

The Turbo Grips thumb tape is designed to stick to the thumb. It is mint green in color and is suitable for people with sweatier hands who experience constant ball slips. That’s why they have texture for a slow, controlled version.

People agree that the product fits perfectly and stretches to take the shape of the back of the thumb. The tape is comfortable to the point that people would forget to take it off after they’ve finished bowling.

Things we like

  • It sticks for long periods even with sweaty hands
  • The tape is elastic to fit the size and contours of the thumb
  • Made of thin but durable material

Things we don’t do

  • More expensive than other alternatives

4. Genesis Excel Copper 3 Performance Tape

The Genesis Bowling 40-piece package includes purple ribbon made from a copper therapeutic material that fits snugly on the thumb. It protects the thumb, improves grip and provides moderate release of the ball.

However, you should keep in mind that the material is quite thin, which affects the durability and that the adhesive residue is also a problem.

Things we like

  • More affordable than other brands
  • Good material used
  • Strong adhesive for sweaty hands

Things we don’t do

  • The material may be too thin to protect it
  • Adhesive waste can be annoying to remove


Thumb tape is important to your game. If you want to reduce friction, go for the softer types like the Bowling Ball Monster black ribbon.

Conversely, if you want a strong grip with a controlled release and also hate the feeling of sticky residue inside the ball, we highly recommend the Turbo Grips tape, which may cost you more, but will do the job perfectly.

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