I remember when I first started curling and didn’t know where to look to find curling gear or what I should get. It was a bit overwhelming so I thought I would share some of my findings and recommendations.
When it comes to curling gear there are a few options and places to buy it from. Most major brands, if buying direct, will be out of Canada. That said, there are places within the US where these brands can also be purchased. Also, keep in mind curling equipment can last quite a long time if you take care of it so I would recommend going for good equipment right from the start. Also, don’t hesitate to ask WCCC members about their equipment. I’m sure they would be more than happy to answer any questions and even let you try it out.
There are four major brands that most curlers will use:
All brands sell brooms, shoes and other curling gear/apparel. They are also based out of Canada so be mindful that prices are typically in CAN and shipping can be pricey so get all your items at once if you can. Most of these brands can also be found in the US at various places. One of our favorite places is Steves Curling Supplies out of Wisconsin. There is also an Asham Rep, Jay Diamond, out of the Bay Area who will often sub at WCCC and usually has merchandise with him.
Okay, lets talk Brooms and Shoes...
They are going to run you anywhere from $75 - $175 depending what you get. The more expensive brooms will tend to be made of carbon fiber and much lighter than the composite/fiberglass brooms. This is pretty important and makes a difference after playing 8 ends or more in a day. As I mentioned earlier, if you are serious about curling I would go with the good gear from the start. Trust me, you will end up buying it in the end more than likely anyways.
All four brands mentioned above will have varying styles of brooms to choose from (heavier to lighter, material used, handle circumference, tapered vs non-tapered). Carbon Fiber will be the lightest and most expensive.
Hardline Standard 1/18” Tapered is the broom we will be using for our WCCC club brooms. They come with IcePad heads, which I personally prefer, with easily removable/replaceable covers. You can also purchase just the IcePad head and use on a different boom if you choose. I am currently using an Asham Ultra Light Taper handle with an icePad head.
There are quite a few options when it comes to shoes. Obviously, you want to be comfortable in the shoe and can be a bit challenging since these will more than likely be ordered. You can always ask around the club for recommendations and we may have a pair in our spare shoe bin for you to try out. You will need to make sure to select Right or Left handed when placing the order. This is important to make sure the sliding disks are on the correct shoe.
Regarding sliders: The thicker they are the faster they are. Most entry level shoes will come with 3/32” or 5/32” sliders. If you are worried about sliding too fast and falling it might be good to start with these. As you improve and get more comfortable you can move to the 1/4” disks. Asham sliders will run you around $50-60 (CAN) per disk so keep that in mind. My personal recommendation would be to go with the 1/4” slider from the start. You will most likely wish you did fairly early on. I would recommend asking around the club to see what other members are using and get their reviews.
I started with Asham Men’s Competitor Ultra Lites. They were a very comfortable and light shoe currently running around $229.99 (CAN). They come standard with 3/32” Teflon disks but you can always upgrade to 1/4” or whatever thickness you prefer.
Another very popular option is to have your curling shoes custom made. Many people in our club are doing this and I eventually went this route as well. You are assured to get a shoe that is comfortable and you will have a lot more color/style options. The conversion starts at around $215 US + the cost of the shoe. You will need to purchase the shoes then have them sent for conversion. The best place for this is through Craigs Curling Shoes. This can take up to 3-4 weeks (sometime longer depending on how busy he is) so keep that in mind. I think it is well worth the wait. If you are interested in this route I would recommend going to the site and reading the FAQs under the BLOG menu. It will give you advice and tips on what type of shoe works best and the process.
I hope this information helps a bit and don’t hesitate to grab me, or anyone, on Sunday if you want to try some brooms, shoes or just get opinions and recommendations from others at the club.
Thanks and good curling!