Curling Shoe Maintenance
Are my curling shoes ready for the season?
Here at Goldline, customers often come into the store with their curling shoes in hand, wanting to know if they should be buying new shoes. Here is an overview of the discussion I will typically have with the customer.
First and foremost, fit is the most important thing that you need in a curling shoe. It doesn’t matter how much money you originally spent on the shoe and whether the shoe is in pristine condition with fine unscathed leather. If it doesn’t fit properly, you probably shouldn’t be wearing it. If the shoe is tight and/or uncomfortably rubbing your toes/ankle, or causing blisters, or if the shoe is so loose that your foot is not secure in it, it is likely time to consider investing in a new pair.
Customers are often worried about scratches on the surface of the Teflon slider. It is inevitable that the slider will get marks in it, as there are bound to be minute pieces of debris on the ice which your shoe will slide over in the course of delivering a rock. But Teflon is an extremely hard and durable material and it is rare that the scratches are so deep that it impairs one’s sliding ability. I do occasionally see shoes with very thin Teflon sliders where a piece of the Teflon has actually broken off, typically as a result of the shoe being used to move or stop rocks that are in motion. You don’t want to slide on the shoe in this case; new shoes or a slider replacement is in order in this situation.
Now, although it is not technically part of the shoe, the anti-slider that covers the slider on your shoe also merits inspection on a regular basis. I believe that as a minimum, you should be replacing the anti-slider at least once per season, at the start of the season. You need to inspect not only the outer surface; just as important is to inspect the inside of the anti-slider which will also deteriorate over time.
The final step is to assess the overall appearance of the shoe. Leather is durable but if you use your feet to move rocks around, your shoe is going to deteriorate quickly. Use your broom to move the rocks! The outer shell of the shoe was not built to withstand regular contact with 42-pound slabs of granite.
It is also very normal for the toe of the dragging foot to become scuffed. You can put a small piece of clear sliding tape over the toe to minimize this. Many people put a “toe coat” on the dragging foot; this is a thin layer of epoxy that protects the toe. But be warned: not only does the toe coat provide protection, it also reduces the amount of drag provided by the trailing leg, so much so that the trailing leg may have a tendency to fishtail. Be sure to get out and get some practice time when you get a toe coat for the first time.
Curling shoes: they’re an investment and with care, they can serve you well for many years.