Curling Shoe Buying Guide
This could be a very long essay, but I'll try to keep it to just basics and feel free to contact us if you need more detail.
Why should I get curling shoes? Curling shoes will improve your grip and stability on the ice compared to step on or elastic band sliders and athletic shoes.
What's a fast and slow slider? Generally speaking, thicker sliders are faster than thinner sliders. Thicker sliders are more rigid and ride on top of the pebbles (bumps on the ice), therefore they don't lose as much energy as you go over the pebble and slow down as quickly.
Many people think new curlers should start on slower sliders, I don't necessarily agree with that statement. A faster slider will allow a person to maintain their speed in the delivery better, this is good for curlers of all skill levels, even beginners. The catch is that thicker / faster sliders cost more. So if you're new and not sure if you're going to stick with the game long term then thin is a great way to save some money while you figure it out. If you love the game and know you'll be playing into the future something a little thicker will be worth the extra money in performance and durability.
1/4" vs. 3/16" vs. 5/32" vs. 1/8" vs. 1/16" sliders? The people you see on TV are pretty much all using 1/4" sliders. These are the top of the line and in theory can benefit anyone, in reality I would say that 80% of curlers can't tell the difference between a good 3/16" or 5/32" slider and a 1/4" slider. The 3/16" BalancePlus slider, for example, is a great slider that is fast and durable and will serve most curlers very well. If you want to make sure that you're not leaving anything on the table that will leave you unsatisfied down the road spend the extra $20ish to get the 1/4" slider. If you are on a budget or not sure you're going to stick with the game you can save some money by getting a thinner slider yet. These will work just fine, but as your skills develop you may wish you had a faster slider.
What is toe coating and do I need it? This is coating that is applied on the trailing shoe, it helps to reduce drag from the back foot during the curling delivery and it also serves to protect the trailing shoe making it last longer. Some brands offer this as an option straight from the factory. For the shoes that do not offer it we sell Toe Coat Kits where you can apply it yourself if you decide after you get them that it's a little to slow or wearing faster than you would like. Sidenote, there is enough material in the toe coat kit to do 3-5 shoes, so practice on an old pair if you've never done it before to make sure you get it just right on your shoes.
Left Handed vs. Right Handed? If you are a right handed curler you will slide on your left foot. All of the shoes come this way unless otherwise indicated. If your are left handed you will need a slider on the right foot and it will be indicated by saying left handed or lefty on the website.
Grippers or Anti-sliders? This is the rubber thing you put over your slider shoe when you're not shooting or when you're walking around off the ice. They have excellent grip, and most importantly will protect your slider. A good slider will essentially never wear out from on ice use, but walking around inside the club one tiny piece of gravel or grit on the floor can put a large scratch in your slider that may make it almost useless. Make sure to include one of these with your shoe order if you don't already have one, if you don't know what size to get you can call us or indicate in order notes that you want the gripper to fit the shoe you are ordering.
Grippers / anti-sliders should be replaced every year or two. They may still grip well after a few seasons, but if you notice smooth spots that means you are shedding little pieces of rubber on the ice.
Please contact us if you have any other questions about curling shoes and we'll be happy to assist.