Casual players will often wear regular tennis shoes, with a strap on slider. More advanced players will often wear shoes will a teflon slider built into the shoe. These teflon sliders can be bought in a variety of thicknesses. The thicker the slider, the faster the person will slide. The thinnest sliders will start at 1/4" and range all the way up to 3/4". Newer sliders are made out of stainless steel, and can slide even faster.
The curling broom is used to sweep the ice surface in front of the rock. Sweeping momentarily melts the ice, which lessens friction, thereby lessening the rock's deceleration while straightening its path. The broom can also be used to clean debris off the ice, which is important to keep a throw from "picking". The skip will also hold his/her broom as a target for the throwing player to aim at.
In earlier days, brooms were made of corn strands and were similar to household brooms. Brushes were used primarily by elderly curlers as a substitute for corn brooms. Today, brushes have replaced traditional corn brooms at every level of curling, but are universally referred to as brooms. Curling brushes are made out of hog's hair, horse hair, and the newer ones are synthetic material. Lower end brooms are made out of wood and fiber glass, while the newer, more expensive ones, are made out of carbon fiber.
The curling stone, as defined by the World Curling Federation, is circular in shape and weighs between 38 and 44 pounds with a handle and bolt attached. The stone has a circumference of 36 inches. A stone must be a minimum of 4.5 inches in height. The handle is attached to the stone by means of a bolt that runs vertically through a hole in the center of the stone. The handle of the stone is colored in many different ways with the main colors being red and yellow. The handle of the stone is used during the delivery to grip the rock.
The surface in contact with the ice, known as the running surface, is a circle 0.25 to 0.50 inches thick. This narrow running surface is where the ice and the stone interact. On properly prepared ice, the rock's path will bend (curl) in the direction the front edge of the rock is turning, especially toward the end of its motion. The degree of curl depends on several factors, including the preparation of the ice and the flattening of common paths to the house during the game. Ice on which the rocks curl well is said to be "swingy."
The Scots, in particular, believe that the best-quality curling stones are made from a specific type of granite called "ailsite," found on the Ailsa Craig, an island off the Ayrshire coast. According to the Scottish Curling Stone Company, Ailsite has very low water absorption, which prevents the action of freezing and melting water from eroding the stone. In the past, most curling stones were made from this granite. However, the island is now a wildlife reserve and is no longer used for quarrying. Because of the particular rarity of Ailsite, costs for curling stones can reach as much as $1500 for the best stones. Many curling clubs use a lower-grade stone that can cost upwards of $500. There are also stones that use a disc with a running surface of Ailsite attached below another type of granite. Kays of Scotland has been making curling stones since 1851 and has the exclusive rights to Ailsa Craig granite as granted by the Marquess of Ailsa, whose family has owned the island since 1560. The last "harvest" of Ailsa Craig granite by Kays took place in 2002, yielding 200 tons (note: Kays' statement is that they harvested 1500 tons, sufficient to fill anticipated orders through at least 2020). Kays of Scotland has been the exclusive manufacturer of curling stones for all three Olympics where curling has been a medal sport. Pictures of the official Olympic curling stone are available on Kays' website.