Curling shoes can significantly improve a delivery by allowing a longer slide, and thus a greater degree of flexibility in precisely where during the delivery to release a stone. If your son or daughter is interested in a pair of curling shoes, there are a number of retailers and distributors who can help you. Retail/wholesale distributors/manufacturers of curling shoes include:
- Goldline, with its main store at 6620 Kitimat Rd, Mississauga, (800)-465-6900.
- Balance Plus, located at Unit 1, 99 Hooper Rd in Barrie, (800)-715-1715.
- Asham Curling Supplies, 700 McPhillips Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, (800)-267-5730. Asham’s has an outlet in Vaughan, ON located at Unit 7, 9000 Keele Street, (866)-514-2875.
During a recent trip to Goldline at their main Mississauga store, I found that they had a fairly good selection of shoes in small sizes suitable for younger players, starting at women’s size 5, in three different models.
It can be difficult finding children-sized curling shoes locally. The Elmira club has a small pro-shop but doesn’t regularly stock the smaller sizes needed for pre-teens and teens; they can be ordered, however, if you know what you’re looking for. The pro shop at the K-W Granite Club in Waterloo has more stock than Elmira, but again they tend not to stock the smaller sizes.
I’ve had great success with Asham in buying shoes for my boys, though I confess I’ve done it while being in Winnipeg rather than shopping online. What I have found with Asham’s is that their customer service is second-to-none, so if the shoes don’t fit you can send them back, no questions. I have also found that Asham’s are willing to significantly discount items, including shoes, if they know that it’s for a junior curler. Make sure you mention it if you’re buying over the phone.
A couple of points about shoes. There are a lot of styles of shoes (leather, synthetic) and styles of sliders (“red brick”, solid Teflon discs, Teflon full sole, Teflon full sole with a doughnut, Teflon perimeter). Which shoe is right for you is a personal preference; I wear Asham shoes with Teflon discs, and so does my son Ryan, but my other son Andrew has Balance Plus shoes with a perimeter slider and he swears by them. The golden rule with Teflon sliders – the most common – is that the thicker the slider, the faster the shoe. What I would recommend is:
- Get the thickest slider you can afford, preferably 1/4 inch. 5/32 of an inch is the minimum I would go with. Stay away from stainless steel sliders, they’re not worth the money for a pre-teen.
- The gripper (worn over the slider) has to fit snugly. A loose gripper is of no use, as it will fall off halfway down the sheet during brushing.
If you know of local locations from which to purchase curling shoes for young curlers, please post a comment.