Introduction to Rancourt (An Unexpected Journey)
I have long debated covering more than Alden on this blog, as although Alden is my true love and passion, I do undeniably have a small collection of fine footwear from other fine shoe makers around the world. These include the likes of Edward Green, Crockett and Jones, Allen Edmonds, and Viberg. However, one other brand rises up to the list of being worthy of having a small section of AoSD carved out for them, Rancourt.
Why Rancourt? Well, I probably wouldn’t have created this section 2-3 years ago. Because back then, Alden was still making competitive footwear to the Rancourt style via their Cape Cod Collection. But due to unfortunate circumstances, which I believe was the closing of the Highland Shoe Company in Brewer, Maine back in 2017, Alden no longer offers their Cape Cod Collection. I believe that Rancourt lives up to the quality that a brand like Alden represents and from what I have been told, they have even produced some of the Cape Cod Collection for Alden.
Also, and more importantly, I am creating a small corner for Rancourt because they have been truly remarkable to work with. Their friendliness and willingness to work with me on fairly comprehensive custom designs is truly unmatched. If you don’t believe me, please check out my special Reverse Black Shell Cordovan Boat Shoe post.
My journey into Rancourt started rather unexpectedly in April 2019. For years, I had browsed their site and playing around with their custom shoe designer tool. I played around with all kinds of crazy colors combinations and soles. It can be quite fun to see how things can inexplicably come together and look better than you may suspect. However, I was never willing to pull the trigger. However, I saw an unexpected Instagram Post while I was on travel to Boston, MA. They had just opened up a new shop, in Portland, Maine two weeks prior. I had to spend the weekend in Boston and so I knew what I was going to be doing on one of the days over the weekend. Fortunately, I met an amazing acquintance there who helped show me around and took me around the amazing town of Portland, ME. Finally, before departing, I placed my order for my first pair of MTOs, now my Natural Shell Cordovan Boat Shoes.
Rancourt has two different styles of construction, specifically Moccasin Construction and Blake Stitch. The Blake Stitch is a very similar construction technique to the construction that Alden uses, the Goodyear Welt, but has some technical differences in how it is executed and what is attached to what, but overall, it yields a relatively similar result.
Here is a video from Rancourt’s Vimeo page that summarizes their Blake Stitch Construction.
The Moccasin Construction is honestly what I believe truly sets Rancourt apart. In their Moccasin construction, the shoe’s material wraps completely around your feet, with the vamp wrapping completely around the foot and the plug covers the top of the foot. The shoe comes together on the Last during their hand stitching process. They attach a mid-sole directly to the upper and then attach an outsole to the mid-sole, allowing them to be re-soled without having to impact the upper. Their Moccasin shoes can be made Unlined, creating a truly amazing and comfortable shoe wearing experience. This combined with the all-around construction mechanism means that you are literally walking on the Shell Cordovan that it is made out of.
Here is another video from Rancourt’s Vimeo page that summarizes their Moccasin construction.
Overall, I believe Rancourt to be a great companion brand to Alden. Their Moccasin Construction, their use of Horween’s Shell Cordovan, and their willingness to work with you makes them a great asset in your more casual shoe fairing activities.