Curling grippers, also called the drag shoe or trailing shoe, are one of the shoes in a pair of curling shoes. Grippers are often compared to car tires. They provide friction to curlers when sliding across the ice.
Simply put, a gripper is a boot that looks like the bottom half of a shoe. Essentially, it is a slider without the teflon.
In Curling Sliders, we discussed that there are different types of sliders available, and the types of sliders you will see in a curling club. When it comes to grippers, there is only one type, and is seen above. This is because the gripper must be attached to your shoe in order for it to function.
REMEMBER: Safety comes first! Just because others aren't wearing grippers on their shoes doesn't make it embarrassing to do so. Most new curlers wear grippers when they curl, even when they are stepping on a slider.
Grippers are not absolutely necessary to start the sport of curling. Curlers can purchase one of two types. Beginner curlers typically purchase a gripper that slips onto a regular sneaker. Slip-on grippers are inexpensive and can be purchased at many different sites online and at sporting goods stores. They range from about $12 to $30. The other type of gripper shoe is one that does slip-on. Instead, the gripper is attached to the entire shoe and does not detach. This type usually includes a feature referred to as toe coating. Toe coating helps to decrease the amount of drag that a gripper provides and it can also help in making the gripper's traction last for a longer amount of time. These grippers tend to be more on the expensive side, ranging from $75 to $200. Grippers can be bought at multiple different curling websites and at sporting goods stores.