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.
What is a gripper used for in curling?
A gripper is a boot that looks like the bottom half of a shoe. Essentially, it is a slider without the teflon.
A gripper is used by curlers at all times on the ice. The bottom side of a gripper is made of rubber, which allows the curler to have more traction on the ice. Grippers are worn on both of a curler's shoes. All grippers attach to a curler's shoes.
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.
In curling, pebbling the ice creates a textured surface. Not only does this allow the stones to travel, but it provides some traction for curlers too. If you have seen curling before, you will notice that the players do not start and stop moving suddenly. Instead, they accelerate and decelerate gradually. In curling, moving gradually is the best safety practice that can be followed. If a player accelerates or decelerates rapidly, their feet will slip out from under them, and they would likely fall backward. Backwards falls are especially dangerous, because it is possible for someone to hit their head on the ice.
To ensure that all players are safe on the ice, there is one piece of curling equipment that helps a curler maintain traction on the ice. This is conveniently called a gripper. A gripper looks like the bottom half of any shoe, and is made of a rubber material. Some curlers will attach grippers to their shoes while they play a game of curling so that they have extra traction on the ice.
If a curler owns a pair of curling shoes, the bottom of the shoes will be made of a rubber material so a gripper does not need to be attached. By attaching a gripper, curlers can move on the ice more freely, but must also be aware of the movements they make on the ice. Remember, even when a player is wearing grippers on their shoes, sudden movements can still cause a player to fall.
Difference From Sliders
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. This is because the gripper must be attached to your shoe in order for it to function.
Choosing A Gripper
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.