I've read enough!
Lets go to the shoes!
What you need to know about curling shoes according to “Sweep”
You never absolutely need curling shoes ...BUT, having dedicated footwear is important. Curling shoes are specifically designed to provide stability & warmth not to mention that the slider is significantly better! When you consider the cost of a good pair of running shoes, it may be cheaper & better to buy curling shoes in the first place.
The best way to think about curling shoes is to look at them just like you would look at any other athletic shoe by considering function and form. Function refers to just how well do your curling shoes work where as form considers the shoe’s composition and style. Both are important considerations.
Let’s consider function first. Remember, the purpose of a curling shoe is threefold:
- To provide comfortable & stable footwear
- To provide a sliding surface on the delivery foot that matches the skill of the player (sliding speed)
- To provide a gripping surface on the trailing foot for traction and safety
As for form, here are a few things that you should look at:
- Shoe composition – vinyl, leather or a combination of both are standard like any other shoe
- Shoe sole – usually made of a composite – thickness and durability is what you are looking for here
- Stitching – seems like a simple thing, but the thread used can vary. Inexpensive shoes often use cotton threading where as more expensive shoes use nylon.
- Insulation – shoe lining is important for comfort (function), but also for warmth, fit & durability. More expensive shoes often feature “Thinsulate” lining and have quality pull out inserts.
Now considering all this information, the question you likely have is “so what should I buy”? If you are a new curler (one a week) and just want a basic shoe, then a good vinyl shoe with a 7 speed slider is what you want. If you are looking for a bit more comfort and durability, then move up to an entry level leather shoe with a 3/32” thick slider.
If you plan to curl more than once a week or you are an active curler, then you definitely need to buy a leather shoe. Most people make the mistake of considering the slider first. Big mistake! Spend your money on the shoe, but don’t let price be your only guide you here. If you consider function and form, you can buy a very good competitive shoe in the $135 - $150 range.
Ironically, sliders are where many manufacturers have tried to differentiate themselves and as a result there is myriad of sliders compositions and configurations that have their own special sales stories attached. Rated slider speed is what you should consider first where slider speed is the direct result of slider thickness. However, watch out! Remember, thicker sliders may go faster, but the faster they go the more unstable they may initially feel.
Oh yes, one other thing to consider is that thicker sliders are less flexible (bendable). This may not seem to be a big issue but it can be depending on the situation. If you have a nice flat foot delivery then slider thickness will not be a big issue (flexibility wise) other than when walking around the club. In this case you may feel like your heel is lifting on your sliding shoe but this will go away in time. If you do not have a flat foot delivery then you are going to have some challenges with a full sole one piece thick slider depending on the degree of severity of your toe slide. But new split sliders can offset this problem so take this into consideration when buying your curling shoes.
All you need to know about curling shoes according to “Rocky”
Vinyl shoes are cheap, but better than running shoes with a slip on slider or tape. They are good for new curlers and will last your 2-3 years.
If you have an extra $60 bucks or so, move up to a leather shoe. Take a weekend off of golf, talk to your wife, call your mother, and put that money into a real man’s game.
Be careful what you buy as some manufacturers have tried to leverage their “brand” name and stick what amounts to a running shoe on a slider in order to offer a low entry level price point. They look good in the box, but they don’t last.
You do not have to spend over $200 to get a top end competitive curling shoe.