Being well dressed for curling will let you slide farther, keep you warm, but not sweaty, and let you sweep harder!
If you have ever lived in a cold climate, you learn quickly that if you are too warm you can take a layer of clothes off… If you are under dressed you’ll just plain freeze! That rule can be applied to your curling wardrobe too, as the air temperature in the rink can vary a lot, very much dependent on the outdoor temperature.
When you put your curling outfit together you want to make sure your shoes and clothes do not mar or are detrimental to the surface of the ice. What follows are some curling wardrobe ideas and suggestions ranging from the frugal to custom professional equipment.
If you want to improve your game, you need shoes that are dedicated for JUST curling. This ensures that no dirt, stones or sharp objects can ever be imbedded in the sole of the shoe, and eventually mar or dirty the ice. We really want you to help keep our ice surface as prisitine as possible.
For the beginning curler I’d suggest a good pair of flat soled walking/running shoes. Flat? To keep as much surface area on the ice as possible, and the grippers will fit better.
A pair of your OWN grippers. Yes, you should have a Pair of grippers, they will keep you safer on the ice and you will be able to sweep rocks even if the ice gets slickery slick. Note that some grippers come uni shaped, they fit both right and left shoes, or they come in foot shapes for left and right shoes.
A Note About Grippers
Gripper rubber deteriorates over time and can leave little rubber granules on the ice, the deterioration gets worse after a year of use… As a result you should purchase a pair of new grippers every year. Your ice ops team will be a-statically happy that you are helping keep the ice clean!
If you have your own slider attached to your shoe with an elastic band, you will achieve two things: speed up the time to get ready for delivery, and your slide will be more consistent. You should never worry about how far you slide, as distance will come with experience, time and better equipment!
The Professional Curling Shoe
A half sole slip on slider, also available in a full sole size with an 1/16th or 3/32 inch thickness.
That’s right! The thicker the slider, the farther you can slide! That’s the main difference between an attached thin 1/16th of an inch slider and curling shoes with thicker sliders, up to 1/4 of an inch thick.
BalancePlus published an article titled “Slider Deceleration Quantified Scientifically” https://www.balanceplus.com/decelleration.htm The result? The thicker the slider, the farther you can slide!
What else to look for in a shoe? You want enough room in the toe of the shoe so that when you put your weight on the ball of your foot, and you flex the shoe your toes have room to spread out. A flat soled shoe will help you keep your sliding foot flat on the ice during delivery.
I unfortunately have super wide feet EEEE plus, and no one makes a curling shoe that wide! So I made my own pair. I purchased a pair of skate board shoes, some thick, thick teflon and gripper material! You can read my blog article “Curling Shoes and Acausal Synchronicity” http://blog.evergreencurling.com/?p=477 about my own adventures on making my own curling shoes… I had purchased my shoe materials at Atkins Curling supply in Winnipeg, but most curling suppliers carry the separate components. (See links at the end of the article)
What’s important here? Dedicated shoes with an attached slider, and a Pair of Grippers will help you improve your game.
Theoretically you should own several brooms that match ice conditions; A horse or hog’s hair brush head works best on warm “frosty” ice, a synthetic fabric broom works best on normal to cold fast ice.
For the serious culrler there is an economical way to have your choice of broom head… You can buy a broom that allows the attachment of different kinds of broom “heads,” either “hair” or “synthetic” material, or both!
From a practical point of view a good synthetic broom head will offers the most flexibility, as long as you keep the head of the broom clean. So an ancililary piece of equipment whould be a small “nail” scrub brush, like you might find in your bathroom, to scrub your broom head! The club has been trying to keep a broom “head” brush available on each sheet of ice.
If you are a casual curler, replacing a broom head 2 times a year would be sufficient. If you are serious curler, perhaps after every 2 weeks of curling, but, in a bonspiel, after every game! By the Way ECC is looking at purchasing broom fabric so you can make your own new covers for your brooms.
But, a really good alternative is the most coveted broom today, the Hardline, the broom’s head fabric is water proof and washable.
If you are beginning curler, use a stabilizer! Your delivery accuracy and balance will improve faster than trying using your broom for balance during the delivery! The thing to watchout for is that the stabilizer’s handle should be the same height as the rock’s handle… This is important as it’ll keep your shoulders square and your delivery straight. Some of the club’s stabilizers have different heights! Beware. The Best solution is to have your own!
What’s important here is that owning your own equipment makes you a more consistent curler.
Pants should be made of a flexible, stretchy material. Professional curling pants stretch in all directions in the seat, and linearly in the leg. They can be real expensive. A good alternative is a pair of Golf Slacks… They are durable, stretchy and usually made from a micro weave fabric. You can also purchase stretchy pants, made from polyester or nylon, usually sold as warm ups for training or running.
An interesting source of stretchy durable pants come from the word of skate boarding. Check out this web page for some really fancy pants
You’ll never guess which pair I bought!
If the pants are made of polyester or spandex, or some sort of synthetic cloth, you’ll want to get them lined! But, what if you really like the pants, and they have no lining? Purchase several pairs of good thermal underware. Getting cold is no fun. Thermal underware wick’s body moisture away from your skin, keeping your legs from freezing and you comfortable.
Please note that the stretch quality, necessary for curling pants rules out cotton pants including twill and cotton denim jeans. They do not stretch, and can be very uncomforatable, especially if you sweat and they get wet/damp… the cotton will not dry out, and you’ll get really cold!
(Sweat? If you sweep every rock during a game you can burn up to 1800 calories, an yes, you’ll get very warm).
By the way denim cotton jeans also shed cotton dust all the time, and it will add dust and debris to the surface of the ice during play.
The Knee Pad
The knee pad has 2 purposes, it protects your knee and it protects the ICE! If you slide on your knee, the heat from your knee can melt the pebble and can at the worst, leave a divot in the ice! A knee pad will prevent the divot and make the ice ops team very happy!
I tape a piece of 6″ x 6″ camping sleeping pad to my knee under my pants. Knee pads for soccer or volley ball will also work. Olsen Curling http://www.olsoncurlingstore.com/knee-pad/ makes a knee pad called a “pant saver”…
A unique knee pad, available at Steve’s Curling http://shop.stevescurling.com/Utica-Knee-Slider-1348.htm is the Utica Knee Slider, designed to protect your knee with a slippery coated material that lets you slide over the ice on your knee…
The Bottom Line:
A pair of comfortable lined stretchy pants will keep you warm and confortable and the knee pad will protect you, your pants and the ice!
In the Pacific Northwest we have a problem. It’s the climate, it’s classified as “Temperate Mediterranean” The outdoor temperature stays above freezing almost all year, except for a few weeks at most, from December – February. The outdoor temperature really affects the temperature/climate in the rink’s “ice house.” In my youth I curled in a bonspiel in Selkirk, Manitoba. It was a windless -48 F outside and -22 F in the ice house!
Dress smartly! If you are too warm, peel off a layer. If you get cold and don’t have a layer to put on… you can get in trouble, as your core body temperature cools, you will loose energy, get tired, loose concentration and at worst start to shiver… All classical symptoms of hypothermia, and Drinking that beer or whiskey won’t help either!
Sporting outlet/manufacturers make long Sleeve baselayer shirts that are designed for performance in warm and cold weather. The performance shirts are anti-bacterial and wick moisture away from the skin and help maintain your core temperature. They are labeled “Warm-Dry” as opposed to “Cool-Dry” However, they can be rather thin, so a top layer, a long sleeved shirt would help. If the outside temperature is in the 30’s and actually drops below freezing, it’ll be cold enough in the ice house to add another layer, a “curling” jacket. You can order a “Columbia” jacket through ECC at a discount, and even have your name and ECC logo stitched onto the jacket! A good alternative jacket is a fleece jacket/sweatshirt, or a performance jacket that will let the moisture out, and keep you warm.
You want to wear a long sleeve T-shirt… if during your delivery your hot bare skin rests on the ice… you’ll melt the pebble and leave a divot that might cause your winning stone later in the game to miss its mark!
Steve Liske and Olympian Viktor Kjäll both Well Dressed Curlers! Steve’s jacket is the Columbia jacket that you can order through the club.
Dress Smart, with a base layer, a 2nd top layer and jacket!
A pair of gloves serves two purposes: You can grip the broom better and use more force when you are sweeping, and the gloves protect the ice from your hot skin. And, as a bonus, they’ll keep your hands warm. The broom handle can get really cold.
What to look for in a glove? A leather strip across the palm will keep your hand from sliding on the broom while you are sweeping.
At your local hardware store you can find “work” gloves for about $10.00 or you can pay up to $40 for a pair of name brand golf/curling gloves.
Gloves will turn you into a power sweeper and keep your hot hands off the ice! (nothing like having a happy ice ops team!)
Where to Shop?
The ECC Store
ECC Currently carries a limited amount of curling supplies that include grippers, long sleeved shirts and sliders. The inventory of the ECC Store will improve with time… check in before the holiday break. Or, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Steve’s Curling Supplies
Dakota Curling Supplies
Shot Rock Curling Supplies
Or, just search the internet with the Keywords, “Curling, Supplies, Performance sports wear.”
The Bottom Line: Be a happy comfortable curler keeping the ice clean!