I've read enough!
Lets go to the shoes!
Curling Shoe Maintenance
Curling shoes, like brooms have come along way. We often get a laugh when hear about the impressive length of shoe ownership and then get to see old curling shoes that are barely hanging together and have no gripper to speak of. Shoes do have a life and its not 20 years or more! You can, however, extend the life of your shoes by looking after a few critical areas: Slider, Gripper, Stitching, & leather uppers.
Let handle sliders first. Most sliders are made polymers (usually Teflon). By nature of the product they have a tendency to scratch and experienced curlers know from experience that a heavily scratched slider just doesn’t work that well. Typically, the greatest opportunity for this scratching to occur is off the ice as you move around the club, etc. If you want to protect your slider Always wear a gripper or have your Grandmother knit you a nice sock to put over the bottom of your show if you want to make a fashion statement.
When you are on the ice, take the time to swipe off the bottom of your slider if you notice a lot of trash on the ice. Before its your turn to shoot is always a good opportunity. If ice conditions are good, then simply clean off your slider at the end of each game. A quick wipe with your hand is generally sufficient, but a cloth will keep you hands clean. You will be surprised just how much residue is out there.
If you have a slider that is significantly scratched then you have three choices, you can ignore it and just get use to a slower slider, you can buy a new pair of shoes (we really like this one) or you can have your slider replaced. The last one seems simple enough, but you need to consider a few things. First are your shoes worth it? Replacing a slider can be a costly proposition $70 - $75 is normal for a basic 5/32 teflon slider replacement. so make sure that its worth it. If your shoes are showing signs of fatigue in other areas then a new pair of shoes is likely the best choice). If you decide to repair the slider please call and we will direct you to someone that knows what they are doing.
Curling shoe gripper replacement often gets ignored. Like your slip on gripper, the gripper on your show will wear out over time. If your gripper looks not bad (still lots of embossed texture to it), but doesn’t seem to have the grip you like there is a little trick we learned from one of our manufacturers. Simply brush varsol on to your gripper and let it sit for 30 mins or so. You may want to repeat this a couple of times. Once finished, wipe off any residue. Your gripper will be definitely cleaner, but more importantly, it will be mote tacky giving you the grip you need. Now this works with most shoes, but older grippers can dry up to the point that this process will not yield any significant results. If you are in this camp then read on.
Eventually shoe grippers need to be replaced. Most often grippers will last 3-4 years which is how long most people hang on to their curling shoes before buying new ones. If you just love your old shoes and would simply like to replace your old gripper then you need to call us. Over the years we have seen some pretty horrible re-gripping jobs that cost $50 or more and didn’t last a season. At Clean Sheet Curling, we repair the brands we sell by returning them to the original manufacturer. This is the best method as it ensures a top quality job. If you weren’t lucky enough to have purchased your shoes from us and live in the Hamilton area, please call us anyway. We can direct you to a reputable repair shop.
When I mention stitching as a maintenance item, I get a lot of funning looks! What we are talking about here is the thread or stitching that holds your shoes together. Ever heard the saying that the difference between good clothes and poor ones is in the thread? Well, the same thing applies to curling shoes. Thread quality varies by manufacturer and shoe model. If you want to avoid problems make sure that you wipe down your shoes after every game to remove moisture and store your shoes in a dry area. Poor quality cotton threads are particularly prone to breaking or fraying. If you have a shoe that needs repair and is out of warranty your local shoe repair shop should be able to help you out, but ask them to use nylon thread. If you just bought new shoes applying silicon sprays will add some protection right from the start.
We know slip on grippers or anti-sliders are not considered part of the shoe, but that’s where they attach so we think they are worth commenting on. A new gripper sells for $12.95 and should be replaced as it wears. Competitive curlers often replace them 2-3 times a year, but for the average curlers one every year or two should be fine. If you want to gets some extra life out of your gripper that looks good, but doesn’t seem to have the same level of tackiness then consider this. Every month or so, bring your gripper home with you and through it in soapy dish water. Let is soak for 15-20 mins. Rinse and air dry and “voila” your gripper will be a lot better. If you have an old gripper with lots of wear we would recommend that you use the soapy water to wash off your VISA card and buy a new gripper!