I got new curling shoes today. I'd meant to replace my shoes last year but never got around to it. The shoes had metal eyelets that had shifted and that left scratches on the curling ice, and I'd worn through the heel cup. I wavered between two pairs: the Goldline Regal and the Asham Slam (second from the top). I very much liked the fit of the Slam but the disks on the bottom were weird. As well, the outer part isn't leather and I was worried that they wouldn't last as long as a leather toe. The Regal is leather and it's a shoe that should last a long time - part of the point of buying a good-quality curling shoe is to get something that will last a long time.
I ended up with the Regal but I have to say that the buying process was quite an adventure. The first pair I tried on was my normal size (36.5, or a 5 1/2 in their sizing) but I couldn't get my foot in because the tongue is stitched down to the top at a higher point than most shoes (most likely for stability when delivering). If I can't put the shoes on, I can't curl in them, so that pair didn't work.
Next, I tried on the half-size up and the right foot was fine but the bottom of the tongue dug in strangely on my left foot. I kept saying "ow" and Ian finally told me that it sounded like something was wrong. And that if it hurt now it wouldn't stop hurting later. So that pair didn't work, either.
The sales guy then said that the shoe I was trying on was the *new* version of the Regal and that there was an older version still available in the back. He went back, searched around for a bit, and brought me out a pair to try on. It fit just fine on my right foot but it was a bit loose in the heel on my left. This isn't unusual - my left foot is about a half-size smaller than my right foot - but I don't want to buy a shoe that didn't fit. So that pair didn't work too well, either.
After that I went back and forth, trying on first the Regal and then the Slam and then the Regal and then the Slam, trying to figure out which pair to buy. Another sales guy came by and said that sometimes different pairs of shoes in the same brand and size can fit differently. He also said that as long as I bought a right and a left shoe in the same size and version, he'd be fine if I got the two shoes from two different pairs. So he went in back, searched around for a bit, and found another pair of the same size in the old Regal version. He brought them out to me and the left shoe fit perfectly! The pair I got was a combination of the first right shoe I tried on and the last left shoe I tried. Crazy, huh?
This whole process took quite a bit of time and the help of two different salespeople. I am very pleased with the result and I'm grateful for all of the help I got. I'm also grateful for Ian's patience - he was there the whole time and encouraged me to be absolutely sure that I was happy with the shoes. Hopefully we won't have to go through this process again for a while.