They have different soles, one in Teflon for sliding and one in rubber for grip on the ice

[On the cover: the italian olimpic winners Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner]

Little known in Italy until the Olympic victory of Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner in Beijing in 2022, curling has attracted everyone’s attention – even if it’s only to better understand the dynamics of this bizarre sport. It is a widespread sport, especially in Canada, where there are about two million association members, compared to 333 in Italy. Curling has an important star: shoes with different soles, depending on the role they have to play. In fact, one shoe has a rubber sole for grip on the ice, the other has a Teflon sole for sliding the stone (a smooth granite stone that weighs 20 kilos) on the ice’s surface. However, this sole, after the initial sliding shot, must be covered over with a rubber under-shoe structure, which in curling jargon is called a “slip-on gripper”, so that both soles do not slip and give stability to the players. These are, thus, specific models for this sport, even if recently some teams, including the US one, wear normal sneakers to which they apply the Teflon slider sole. It is, as such, an operation that can be undertaken on any type of shoe as long as it doesn’t have a treaded sole.

The curling footwear market is today dominated by Canadian brands such as Balance Plus, Asham, Hardline, Goldline, and Olson, which produce not only shoes but also other curling equipment, such as trousers that must be warm and elastic. The Italian Ice Sports Federation, of which curling is a part, confirms that at the moment there are no Italian manufacturers of curling shoes. In the past, the Marche-based company Dinos, which currently produces work and safety shoes, had dedicated itself to the creation of curling models (it supplied the Pinerolo team), which was then abandoned due to lack of market. “I started producing them” – explains Gabriele Corpetti of Dinos – “because my cousin had started playing curling and couldn’t find the right shoes. Of course, compared to the Canadian products available on the market, an Italian production would have the added value of quality (ours had an upper in full grain leather or in water-repellent suede) and the expertise of our footwear tradition. The problem for the diffusion of this sport also concerns the structures it requires, which are few in Italy and are concentrated in the North. We’ll see if there will be an ‘Olympics effect’, which could also drive an Italian production”.