Rancourt at Capsule New York
Words by Ben P.
I stumbled across the Rancourt booth at Capsule. I’d just gotten a free haircut (when #menswear marketing and tradeshows combine, sometime the results are good), and was killing time waiting for the line in front of the bathroom to shorten. After wandering past several paint-by-the-numbers streetwear brands, I saw Rancourt tucked into the back of the building, and couldn’t resist.
Unlike most brands at Capsule, Rancourt doesn’t have a strict “seasonal” collection. Their collection of moccasins, loafers and wingtips are generally made-to-order, and are essentially seasonless. That being said, Rancourt did bring several exciting examples of new products to the show, and it was a treat to see all of the different combinations of leathers, soles and finishing that are possible with virtually unlimited made-to-order options.
Rancourt is the epitome of a family brand – they’ve been in business for decades, manufacturing shoes in their Maine factory for well-known brands that would have you think otherwise (apparently not every Made in Maine moccasin company is completely authentic). Originally based out of Canada, Rancourt moved to Maine in the 1960s, and today the brand is run by two generations of the family: Kyle, who has spearheaded the development of Rancourt’s website and the popularity of the brand’s own product line, and his father, Michael Rancourt, who maintains the quality associated with Rancourt the classic New England styling. Both Rancourts were exceptionally polite, and were excited to talk about their brand and where they see their shoes going.
To most people, Rancourt means traditionally constructed moccasins and loafers. At Capsule Rancourt showcased several of their standard models, and I was particularly struck by how rich their chomexcel leather looks, and how perfect Rancourt’s finishing is. When comparing moccasins, what really sets brands apart is the small details, and this is where Rancourt excels: their shoes feature comfortable leather insoles, the flawless stitching and the elegant lasts.
Rancourt has also recently expanded into wingtips and boots, opting for Blake-rapid construction. While there’s been some discussion on the forums about this choice, and the quality of Blake construction instead of Goodyear, Michael took the time to reassure me that his wingtips are designed to last for years, and Rancourt stands behind their products 100%. Rancourt is also introducing a new wingtip boot modeled on their regular wingtips, and these boots blew me away: the last is elegant, the price point is great (and in line with their other products – and far cheaper than most other boots in this category), and the styling is perfect. Rounding out the lineup is their Blake workboot.
I also enjoyed seeing some examples of Rancourt’s shoes produced in more exotic leather combinations, including a chukka and boots in bison leather, and a wingtip in contrasting red wool Harris tweed and black chromexcel leather. Baller.