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Chances are you have never heard of Antiloper Cycling shoes. But if you have watched a Tour de France time trial in the past two years, you might have asked yourself which shoes Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard had beneath their aero covers. In fact, since we answered why Wout can ride with a Red Bull helmet, every time he rides a time trial we now get numerous questions as to what shoes he is wearing from readers, riders, and even other World Tour teams.
We first reported on Wout’s shoes after the Tokyo Olympics Time Trial last year, and even put the same question to Jumbo-Visma’s press officer earlier this year, to no avail. The question went something like,”which shoes is Wout wearing in the TT with a BOA dial on the rear?” The answer went something like, “Indeed, that is a boa system.”
And so we set our thumbs to work on the Instagram search function. Lo and behold, five minutes later, we think we found the answer.
That answer is Antiloper cycling shoes, and, interestingly, I was already following them. That said, I do follow anything with even just a hint of aero profiling. When contacted, Antiloper said that they “cannot confirm” it is their shoes on Wout’s non-sponsor-correct clad feet, but the shoes sure do look like an Antiloper’s offering. Perhaps tellingly, the founder did agree to talk to us about the shoes that may or may not be his.
So who or what is Antiloper Cycling?
Cornelis Terpstra, no relation to the recently retired Niki Terpstra, is the brains behind Antiloper Cycling, a custom shoe manufacturing business he operates from his garden shed in Bitgummole, in the Frisian region of the Netherlands. Antiloper directly translates as “Anti Walker” and gives a hint to Terpstra’s shoe philosophy, these boots are not made for walking.
A self-employed composites worker, Terpstra works roughly 50% of his time on creating discipline-specific cycling shoes and the rest of his working week building custom yachts.
Asked if he is a foot expert or a carbon expert, Terpstra suggests perhaps a bit of both. “I first started making custom footware when I worked with Kip Carpenter of CBC shoes. I made long track and short track skating shoes. That was around ten years ago, and at the same time I made insoles for an orthopaedic company.”
Compared to the skaters, cyclist feet are way less beat up. I get all kinds of feet, from narrow long to clumpy small.Cornelis Terpstra on how cyclist’s feet compare to those of athletes from other sports.
Terpstra explains: “Antiloper tries to make the best cycling shoes for different disciplines.” Terpstra offers track, road and time trial shoes, and currently only works with cyclists, although he has also made leather gloves for Kaatsen players, a version of handball local to the Frisian area of northern Netherlands.
So what makes the Antilopers so special? Well, first, there is the price. At €1,849 per pair, they are not cheap, but for that money, it sounds like the rider lucky enough to own such shoes is in for a real performance treat.
Each individual pair of made-to-measure Antiloper shoes takes two weeks to manufacture, and that’s not even counting the time required to take the mould before Terpstra can even get started on each shoe. The whole process begins with a mould of the athlete’s foot. Terpstra prefers riders come to his garden workshop for a 1:1 fitting session. But that’s not to say only athletes living nearby can avail of Terpstra’s expertise, as he regularly travels to events, especially track meets, specifically to get moulds of prospective customers’ feet. There is also a DIY option for athletes further afield, and Terpstra has shipped Antiloper shoes as far from Bitgummole as Japan and the United States.
Antiloper offers two versions of its shoes, one incorporating the insole into the shoe mould, and one leaving space for an aftermarket insole. The precision required to create an integrated supportive insole, in a shoe so perfectly fitted it offers no space for post-manufacturing corrections, leaves no room for error. But by incorporating the insole into the shoe, Terpstra explains the final shoe is both lighter and offers reduced overall height getting the rider lower for presumably improved aerodynamics and better power transfer.
While Terpstra admits the lower stack height and consequently a lower position for the rider is the biggest aero gain, the smoother finish, lower bulk, and rear-facing retention system on the Antiloper aero shoes contribute to an end product that is, in theory, more aerodynamic than a traditional cycling shoe with dials, ratchets, and straps up top. Terpstra has wind tunnel tested the Antiloper shoes, but did not want to divulge exactly how much faster they are.
From there, all Antiloper shoes are constructed using the same core philosophy to deliver a custom fit, with increased stiffness, lower weight, and improved aerodynamics. The construction method used means Terpstra can use carbon all the way up the side of the shoe, making for a much stiffer final product, despite using less material.
Up top, the shoes wrap around the rider’s feet to fit, presumably, like a glove, or perhaps a sock in this case. While the single BOA dial at the rear is said to be more aerodynamic than multiple forward-facing dials, a claim which seems to make sense, Terpstra explains it is also much easier to reach and adjust mid-race.
Flipping the shoe over to the sole, Antiloper shoes are compatible with three-bolt cleats, with a four-bolt option specifically for Speedplay users, reducing the stack height slightly further.
Stiffer and lighter shoes with no insole required? Sounds good, and perhaps more than a little uncomfortable? Not so, says Terpstra, who explains the shoes perfectly match the rider’s feet and incorporate all the support or corrections they require. For those after road or time trial shoes, Terpstra uses a more flexible resin for “a bit more comfort.”
“No problem to take them for longer rides,” Terpstra claims.
It is usually around this time I’d say we have a review sample on the way and will report back soon. Unfortunately, at almost two grand for a pair of shoes, I can’t see that happening this time. So we want to hear from you. Are you one of the lucky few with a custom pair of Anti Walking shoes? Just how good are they?
For more information check out Antiloper Cycling’s Instagram page.