A Buyer's Guide to Curling Shoes, Sliders, & Grippers

A Buyer's Guide to Curling Shoes, Sliders, & Grippers
Hey friends! Thanks for popping over for quick information on the basics of what you need to enjoy and improve your game when it comes to curling shoes. Whether you are a beginner or a competitive curler, your curling shoes are a vital investment that will significantly impact your game. The most important thing about your curling shoes is the fit and comfort. It's important to understand that every shoe style fits and functions differently. We have answers to the questions you've asked us about curling shoes and their key components: Sliders & Grippers.

Does it matter if I'm right- or left-handed?
Curling Left and Right Handed
It sure does! If you are right-handed (you throw the rock with your right hand), you should order Right-Handed shoes because Right-Handed shoes have a slider attached to the left foot and a gripper on the right. 
Likewise, if you are left-handed (throwing the rock with your left hand), you should order Left-Handed shoes because Left-handed shoes have a slider attached to the right foot and a gripper on the left. 
What are sliders?
Sliders take you from zero to a hundred when you leave the Hack to deliver the rock. (Well, maybe not a hundred.) But they do determine your speed on the pebbled ice. Sliders can be made of many materials, but most commonly, they are made of Teflon or PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), which is a very soft material, and they range in thickness from 1/32" to 1/4".
The thicker the slider, the faster your ice speed.
So, a 1/4” slider is the thickest and fastest slider. As your ice balance and skills improve, you’ll find that a faster slider will sweeten your game, and you’ll notice your body compensating less. We recommend thin sliders if you’re new to the sport, but don’t shy away from thicker sliders as your skills progress. You’ll definitely achieve more excellent results!  
A little FYI, Goldline and Olson use different scales for rating
their slider thicknesses. 

Speed 5 = 3/32” thickness
Speed 7 = 5/32” thickness
Speed 8 = 5/32” thickness
Speed 10 = 1/4” thickness
Speed 11 = 1/4” thickness


Do I need a slip-on (anti-slider) gripper?


If you have curling shoes with a slider, you'll definitely need a slip-on gripper (anti-slider). Slip-on grippers, like winter tires, are made of soft rubber to provide traction on the ice. If you are not throwing a rock, you'll need a gripper to slip over your slider shoe to protect the slider and help assist with balance and safety on the ice.
We carry Goldline’s Regular and Wide grippers, which come in black.
Olson’s Hexa grippers come in a variety of colours with a Hexa pod design.

Goldline and Olson Grippers
As we'd expect, Goldline has come out with a Momentum Series shoe designed with a Velcro-Based Slider and Gripper System. This brilliant idea lets you customize your shoes. Simply pop the sliders and grippers on whichever foot you want! You can upgrade your speed anytime by purchasing faster slider pads rather than purchasing new shoes.
Double Gripper shoes are an excellent option for athletes who don’t want a slider. As the name suggests,
Double Gripper shoes come with a gripper on each shoe, no slider.


Goldline's Momentum Series and G50 Swaggers and Olson's Zapa and Crosskicks are all Double Gripper shoes that you can easily find here:


So how do I choose the right shoe?

That's a great question that requires some explanation.
We have shoes for Beginner (Novice), Average (Intermediate), Competitive (Experienced), and Advanced (Elite) athletes.
First, you should always consult the appropriate shoe chart on our site to find the proper size. Then, consider how well your balance is and how often you play. Remember that the slider’s thickness is the main feature that increases your speed on the ice.
The thicker the slider, the faster your speed!
If your skill on the ice advances quickly and you have a lot of gameplay, select a slider speed slightly higher than your current level.  

What are flex, indent, split and Velcro sliders? 


Olson’s Flex Perimeter sliders improve your comfort and maximum foot flexibility. They do this by gluing the front slider from the toe to the
mid-ball of the foot. 

Olson’s Flex Perimeter models are as follow:

CrossKicks: available in 1/8” and 1/4"
Genesis: available in 1/8” and 1/4"
Zapa: available in 1/8” and 1/4"

Goldline uses Indents in some of their sliders. These indents take the weight off the ball of your foot to distribute it to the perimeter of your foot, which improves your balance. These indents also help to reduce drag (friction on the ice), which keeps your slide effective.

Goldline’s indent models are the G50 Series:

Cyclone (Also a Flex Perimeter Slider shoe)

Split Slider shoes have two sliders glued fully to the shoe’s sole. One is attached entirely to the front of the foot, while the second is glued fully to the heel. The G50 Fuego has a Split Slider. Olson’s Black Crosskicks 1/16” also has a Split Slider and an indent with Hexa pods.


Goldline’s Momentum Series features a Velcro-based slider and gripper system, allowing you to upgrade your ice speed by purchasing a faster slider as you become a more experienced athlete. They’ve designed Momentums with you in mind! You can pop the gripper and slider on whichever foot you want. You could even make them Double-Grippers by skipping the slider and purchasing just the grippers! 


What if I need new shoes for a tournament or bonspiel?

As with any sport, when you purchase new shoes for a competitive event, it’s a good idea to break them in by playing several games in advance, which will help fine-tune your balance and create the muscle memory needed to maximize your performance.  

What are step-on, slip-on and elastic sliders?


Clubs often loan or rent Slip-on or Step-on sliders to folks trying the sport for the first time. These sliders have a rubber side that grips your shoe when you stand on it; the underside has a 1/16” Teflon slider. It stays firmly under foot when toe sliding. Slip-ons come in different sizes and are a great way for newbies to get hooked on the game.  

Goldline's Slip on sliders are perfect to wear over street or running shoe as a temporary slider, and come in sizes extra small to extra large. And Olson's Elastic Sliders fit over the entire shoe using an elastic strap.

Why should I order a gripper (anti-slider) with my shoes?


You may have noticed most curlers wear a pull-on gripper over their slider shoe while sweeping. It makes sense that having two grippers firmly on the ice allows for a safer, more effective sweep. A pull-on gripper also protects your Teflon slider when stepping off the ice.

In case you missed it, grippers are made of soft rubber that provides traction on the ice, like winter tires, and they go on the same foot as your dominant hand.
We carry Goldline’s Regular and Wide grippers, which only come in black. Olson’s Hexa grippers come in a variety of colours with a Hexa pod design. 
When you order a gripper with shoes, we will be sure your gripper fits perfectly. 

Quick Note: Grippers wear and peel over time, leaving pesky rubber specs on the ice that negatively impact the speed and path of a rock. These are known as “picks,” and they have definitely been the cause of game losses. Nobody wants to be “that person,” so we suggest you clean your gripper after every game and replace it when it shows signs of wear. 

Are there grippers for every day footwear?


You betchya! Many curlers use a specific gripper to fit over their running shoes or sneakers. In fact, most clubs will loan or rent these grippers to beginners. If your club does not provide grippers and sliders for new curlers, or if you are not quite ready to invest in a pair of curling shoes, we recommend the following: 
Select a Regular Goldline gripper from our gripper page. Our Olson Hexa grippers also fit over running shoes. In either case, consult our gripper chart and choose the size that accommodates most running shoe sizes. If you’re in doubt, try on a gripper from another curler before ordering. 

What is toe-dipping (or toe coating)?


So glad you ask! Tuff Toe is an application that provides extra protection specifically for your gripper shoe. Because your gripper foot drags behind on the ice when you leave the Hack, it slows you down and causes wear and tear on the toe of that shoe. This is why athletes often apply this coating over the toe of their gripper shoe. Applying a Toe Dip to the tip of your gripper shoe can result in a more efficient, straighter slide.

We highly recommend!

But be sure you are happy with your new curling shoes, and that they fit you well before having the toe of your shoe dipped. As you'd expect, once a shoe is dipped, it voids the warranty of the shoe. 
You can have this service professionally done, or you can DIY. Our single kits provide enough coat for approximately six shoes.
Special Note for Olson Shoes Only:  TUFF TOE does not work on NeoSport and CrossKicks (which have a mesh toe). The epoxy has a tendency to melt the mesh fabric. 
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