What the curling shoes are made of as Team GB aim for double gold in Beijing

What exactly are curling shoes made of? How do athletes keep their balance on the ice cap with their shoes?

The gold medal matches for the Beijing Winter Olympics curling program have been set – with Team GB in the men’s and women’s events.

The men’s final will be played on Saturday February 19 as Great Britain take on Sweden, while the women’s final will take place on Sunday February 20 as Japan try to deprive GB of the gold medal.

One of the mysteries of curling is how athletes manage to move smoothly on the ice, especially since they are not wearing ice skates.

What kind of shoes do you wear when curling – and what exactly are they made of?

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

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No curling ice skates

Curling is an exception to the Winter Olympics.

It is the only sport to take place on ice without the athletes wearing ice skates.

Keeping your balance in curling is essential.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Whether it’s your turn to throw a rock or desperately trying to sweep it to the right spot on the ice, you better not fall.

The shoes one wears while curling are therefore crucial.

They’re definitely not skates, but how can athletes glide across the ice cap so easily?

What are curling shoes made of?

Curling shoes actually feature different soles on each shoe – and both are equally important.

A sole known as the “clamp”.

As one might suggest, the rubbery material is designed to give athletes traction and grip on the ice cap to ensure they don’t fall.

Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

The other sole is known as the slider.

The idea here is to give athletes the ability to glide across the ice with minimal effort.

It is usually made from a Teflon material.

Left-handed players typically use the toe on the left foot and the slider on the right.

It is the reverse for players who use their right hand to throw a stone.

Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

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