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RANCOURT & Co. Shoes - Made in Maine

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by whatever123, Sep 2, 2010.

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  1. wdahab

    wdahab Senior member

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    I don't see any stitching problems. Are you talking about the part where they end the stitch? That's normal, just how they do it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
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  2. space4lyfe

    space4lyfe Well-Known Member

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    Ya, I was talking about the frayed stitching (mainly seen in the top picture). But you are right, looks like thats just where they end the stitch. I guess the top one was just done a bit sloppier. Thanks :D
     
  3. anrobit

    anrobit Senior member

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    A Visit to Rancourt & Company

    Recently, cathpah and I paid a visit to the Rancourt factory in Lewiston, Maine, and we thought we would share our experience. Going into the tour, we were both uncertain what to expect, but were blown away by the hospitality and welcoming displayed by Katie, Rancourt’s customer experience manager. She hosted us for nearly three and a half hours, guiding us through the factory and patiently answering our endless questions. We’d like to send a big thanks to her, as she was a phenomenal host, and to Rancourt as a whole for allowing us to tour the factory. Apologies in advance for any image quality issues; the photos were taken on a phone camera. In addition, we are not able to share some things for various privacy reasons. We hope to tour Highland and Quoddy in the future, as I’m sure they would also be very welcoming.

    The Factory Tour

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    We started our tour in the the conference room, where there were a wide variety of styles on display. Unfortunately, some of them have not been released yet, so we don’t have many images of these. We also discussed Rancourt’s various leather sources, which include Horween, S.B. Foot, Stead in England, and and La Veneta in Italy.

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    From the conference room, we progressed to Rancourt’s storeroom, which was stuffed to the brim (leather, soles, tucks, welt, insoles). A shipment from Horween had arrived recently and was waiting to be unpacked.

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    There was also some shell lying around from Shinki-Hikaku, the Japanese supplier of shell. An old order that had asked for it and Rancourt never used it all. Neither cathpah nor I were very impressed by it.

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    As was previously known, Rancourt buys only natural unfinished, color 8, and black shell from Horween. Other colors are dyed as needed from natural shell. Rancourt receives approximately 50 shells per month from Horween.

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    Following the storeroom, we began our tour of the Rancourt factory floor. Rancourt has recently added a laser cutter to speed their clicking process. However, they said that they will continue to do clicking by hand.

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    Rancourt has dies for many different patterns in full size ranges, as shown in some of the photos.

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    Once the individual pieces are cut, they are grouped by individual pieces, placed on racks, and moved to initial processing.

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    Initial processing occurs next to the clicking section. Here, the leather is stamped with the requisite information.

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    In addition, the edges of some leather pieces are skived (thinned) to make the handsewing process easier. Portions of the shoe are also stitched together by machine to prepare for the handsewing stage.

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    Prior to handsewing, the leather is dipped or soaked in a water tank. The length of time spent in the water depends on the leather being used. All handsewing is done on wet leather, as it is softer and more pliable. In addition, prior to lasting, the fiberboard tuck is attached to the last. EDIT: random note, but most of Rancourt's lasts are apparently decades old, from back in the days when the company first started, and have made it with them through the Cole Haan and Allen Edmonds days

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    Then, the shoe is sewn around the last using waxed horsetail threads from a few miles down the road from Rancourt’s factory. Following the handsewing process, the shoes are placed in a heated storage rack to dry and tighten on the last, followed by a period on an unheated storage rack to conform to the last.

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    Once the shoe has been sewn, it moves on to the final stage of processing, where soles,edging, and finishes are applied. Soles for the handsewns are temporarily glued, then stitched on by machine, similar to the rapid process used for their Blake/Rapid shoes.

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    Once soles are attached, they are trimmed down to the correct size (an example being the crepe soles, which are cut in larger pieces. This trimming is done entirely by hand without a guide. The finishing machinery is also nearby (some of which is not pictured)

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    We didn’t ask a lot of details about the finishes Rancourt applies, but they primarily do some basic cleaning and shining in the final stages. Once completed, shoes are placed back on the racks, where they will undergo quality control checks before packaging and shipping.

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    We asked less questions about the Blake/Rapid shoes, but much of it is done similarly to the above process. As Kyle has mentioned in earlier posts, Rancourt uses fiberboard wrapped in leather as the insole of Blake/Rapid shoes.

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    Rancourt also does recrafting services for all Rancourt-branded products. Finally, Rancourt rarely has seconds or damaged shoes, but when they do, they are all donated to charity.

    Final Notes


    Although this may not be a ton of new information, it was a great experience and we wanted to share with someone. Again, our thanks go out to Katie and to Rancourt as a whole. Cathpah and I will be happy to try to answer any questions you may have. A full album with all images (and a few not included) can be found here. Thanks for reading!
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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
    10 people like this.
  4. halfnhalfnhalf

    halfnhalfnhalf Senior member

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    +1000. Thank you for this fantastic and extremely informative writeup of what sounds like a great visit. Looking forward to maybe someday taking my own tour!
     
  5. pwkd

    pwkd Member

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    Would love to see some pics of some broken in suede Blakes!
     
  6. dddrees

    dddrees Senior member

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    1 person likes this.
  7. gmmiddle

    gmmiddle Well-Known Member

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    Great virtual trip through the factory! Thanks for posting!

    Best part...seeing my olive beef rolls on the bottom rack! RLHs coming for summer!
     
  8. wdahab

    wdahab Senior member

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    First day of the season wearing my shell ranger mocs. They are so wonderful, and fit perfectly without socks. Still on the fence about sending them to Rancourt for that little bit that's cracking, as Kyle assured me that he'd replace the vamp for me if I want. I just would hate to lose the beautiful Ruby shade, they are an amazing, brilliant red. Can't wait to see how they patina in the sun.
     
  9. dddrees

    dddrees Senior member

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    I have to imagine the little bit that is cracking can't be a good thing. But here's hoping it works for you, and besides I imagine his offer didn't have a time limit on it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  10. wdahab

    wdahab Senior member

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    So, just got my J Press bow-tie tassle loafers, Eastland Made in Maine, and it looks to my eye that they are Yuketen, or maybe Highland, rather than Rancourt made. They are Here for about $110+tax/shipping. Diamond pattern on the sole, size stamped on the tongue, double leather sole, and nothing stamped on the bottom of the sole for any kind of branding. Interesting thing to notice, means that I have to stop advising that Eastland Made in Maines are all Rancourts. That said, the shoes are great, and of course I'll take any of the 5 hand-sewing shops (throwing NEOC and Quoddy into the mix as well).

    So, yeah. End of the day, I'll still take any Eastland MiM loafers I see on sale. Sized up and narrow for a 10D. Not as great a fit as a 9.5EE, but it works.

    BTW, those green shell cordovan loafers I scored are Yuketen, retailed for $750 apparently. They are gorgeous, however they are a hair big on my feet, so they're going up either on the marketplace or on eBay, once I get some photos taken. I only feel a *little* guilty about the profit I'll make off of them. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
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  11. GooseG

    GooseG Senior member

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    Hey guys, I'm down to two for my next order: either a Mohave or CXL Ranger Moc.

    1.Anyone have experience with Mohave break-in? I'm curious whether it would stretch out like CXL does, but probably not as much. Did anyone size down from Brannock for Ranger Mocs?

    2. I spoke with Katie, and she suggested to size down a half from my CXL beefrolls since my current ones have stretched a lot.
     
  12. tifosi

    tifosi Senior member

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    I am down to two similar make-ups for my next pair as well. I can't help with Mohave, but I'm interested in the answer.
    I was going to size 1/2 down for the rangers, but my beefrolls fit really well when they were new in my Brannok. They have stretched a bit, but I figured the laces on the Rangers would make up for any looseness from stretching. I did the made-to-fit program (after I bought my first beefrolls)and 1/2 down fit really well in the loafer, but I don't know if I want/need the same loafer fit in a shoe with laces.
     
  13. GooseG

    GooseG Senior member

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    Yeah. Katie said that for CXL, laces will help a little but they're still going to stretch. No idea about Mohave though, although I doubt roughout leathers stretch that much.

    Being summer shoes, I might size down considering that they'd be worn sockless a good deal of the time.
     
  14. rydenfan

    rydenfan Senior member

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    Barrie sizing for loafer works best for me. They have stretched quite a bit even from there. I went with a 7.5E instead of 8D on my most recent pair of loafers as I thought they may help account for even additional stretching but they are pretty damn tight. I may send them back to be professionally stretched
     
  15. GooseG

    GooseG Senior member

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    Similar experience with Ranger Mocs? Sadly I only own Blake boots and the beefrolls at the moment.

    I think part of my issue is that I must be some oddball size for Brannock. Measurement guides put me right near a 9D, yet three "TTS" pairs fit me quite large. My Barrie size is 8.5, but 8.5 also works in the AE 5 and 1 lasts.

    CXL and it's crazy stretching only makes the problem worse, which is why I'm considering Mohave for a summer shoe in the first place.
     
  16. rydenfan

    rydenfan Senior member

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    The loafer last fits me better than the Ranger Moc last. My only ranger mocs are in shell. The first 10 or so wears they seemed great in length but the width was an issue. As the footbed has relaxed and shell stretched a bit the width (and lacing gap) is improving with every wear. I would say it depends how an 8.5 Barrie fits you. If they are snug I would stay the same but if you have room and you plan to wear these sock less you could consider an additional .5 down. They may be quite snug at first though but should stretch
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  17. tifosi

    tifosi Senior member

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    So did you go 8D on the Rangers, Ryden?
     
  18. rydenfan

    rydenfan Senior member

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    Yes
     
  19. Puffsan

    Puffsan Member

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    Hello, new to this forum.

    I got introduced to Rancourt about 6 months ago when i saw them at a local shoe maker here in Oslo that sells high end shoes. I immidiatly fell in love with their boat shoe, and the shoe maker told me about the rancourt custom order option. I didnt buy a pair at that time due to lack of money but now i feel the time has come and im considering gettin 2-3 pairs of different shoes.


    What i am wondering about what are the pro's and cons on the different soles they offer in terms of traction, durability etc?

    I will probably buy a pair at the local shoemaker to support his business if he has the right pair in stock, even though it will cost me 150 usd extra. Also good to know he can do repairs on the and maintenance on rancourts since he has all the right materials and also has a good relationship with rancourt.


    Hope you can help me with tips on what sole i should get.
     
  20. Bakes11771

    Bakes11771 Senior member

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    Need more info on what you are looking for. For boat shoe, I like the boat sole. Traction is fine, unless standing on the wet deck of a boat, but that is to be expected. Durability is fine. Arch support is terrible.

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