Cole Haan Launches Made In Maine Collection


We’re certainly living in a golden age of oxford-cloth buttondowns, with a dizzying array of choices. But there’s also something of a rennaissance when it comes to made-in-USA footwear, as Cole Haan has just unveiled a limited collection of shoes made in Maine.

The downside to the renaissance is that there are only a couple of factories capable of satisfying the made-in-USA aspirations of heritage brands, which is why the shoes kind of look the same. Still it’s a positive sign for US jobs, for the taste level of new consumers raised on disposable goods, and for the possibility, however remote, of new factories in the future.

Made by Rancourt, the Cole Haan collection (click here for a short promo video) consists of a penny loafer, longwing, and a couple other models. Head over here to check it out. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD


24 Comments on "Cole Haan Launches Made In Maine Collection"

  1. Looks good but I’m not sure why they used white/off-white stitching on the loafer. Is that normal? Now it’s a much more casual shoe and you have to use clear/neutral polish.

  2. I think it’s disgusting that Cole Haan shuttered its American manufacturing operations and now that “made in USA” is popular they’re trying to capitalize off of it once again. Bass and Ralph Lauren also use Rancourt & Co to make shoes under their name so that they can charge a ridiculous amount for them. We shouldn’t even buy from these companies, just buy direct from Rancourt & Co.

  3. Rancourt is currently offering a very similar longwing, at an introductory price of $310. I just ordered a pair not 5 minutes before happening upon this blog entry.

  4. Rancourt is a great American brand that builds community in Maine. Show your patriotism and support American families in their time of need instead of Salvadorans in a some maquilladora. No offence to latinos.

    Rancourt used to make moccasins for Paul Stuart and they were the best. There is a high cost to cheap goods as the book “Cheap” put it.

  5. The longwings look ill proportioned to me. I am wearing Alden longwing shell cordovans today and compared to these, the Cole Haans seem too high in the ankle area with no where near enough curve in the decorative top near the toe (I’m afraid I do not know the technical term) Also, though I know some in the community do not wish their shoes to have running boards (I do) the sole appears not to be substantial enough.

  6. Perhaps if they add Nike Air technology and an inconspicuous pump button in the tongue, the shoe will be improved.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Incidentally, for daily use, I prefer the comfort of my Aldens to my Brooks shoes I use for marathons and triathlons. Brooks are a brand of running shoe for those who don’t know.



  7. Charlottesville | September 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm |

    Will — I’m with you on the longwings. I’m wearing A-E shell cordovan MacNeil gunboats today with double oak-tanned running-board soles. Although CC and others may disagree, I think they are the perfect complement to my decades old BB sack suit, and it is surprising how comfortable they are for such substantial hunks of leather. I like the look of the Rancourt camp mocs, but am not as much of a fan of the dress shoes (although, admittedly, I have never owned a pair).

  8. I don’t care for longwings at all, they look too old. However, I agree that they would complement an old sack suit nicely.

  9. @GS

    I seem to recall an Elements of Style article in the ’80s back when GQ was better than it is today-or five years ago when I last opened a copy of the magazine at an airport- which stated that it was college students who were responsible for the shoe. If I am not mistaken the students at Oxford in the ’90s cut off the tops of their rather restrictive boots giving birth to the long wing. Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong.


  10. Charlottesville | September 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm |

    GS — Old looking, perhaps, but then so am I. The funny thing (to me at least) is that thick-soled longwings with little pull tabs at the back were being worn (sockless) by 20-something hipsters in NY not so long ago, whereas until recently, according to the WSJ, the penny loafer (always associated with youth in my mind) was thought to be suitable only for Granddad. . One can still buy the hipster longwing for $1,100 from Thom Browne if so inclined, but you’ll get a classic product for much less if you try Alden or Allen Edmonds. .

  11. @sacksuit they must have been talking about the 1890’s because that would make sense, when boots were the common choice of men’s footwear. That’s along the same line as Weejuns having been worn by young people and college students alike when they were first introduced. Now, sadly, most college students wear even more casual footwear i.e. socks and sandals and loafers are now seen as an older man’s shoe (by the masses).

  12. GQ and Polo: both peaked in the 80’s.

  13. @Charlottesville

    Out of curiosity I visited Thom Browne’s site and found them to be on sale for $619, a bit less than the cost for the real thing from Alden. My Aldens don’t have that great tab pull in the heel nor do they look like elevator shoes.


  14. @Charlottesville I agree that loafers are a younger man’s shoe, in most of its forms, but not to the masses. I’d say that leather soled shoe are seen as formal these days which is why they are less commonly worn. Also, the maintenance that comes with leather shoes (polishing, re-soling, re-lacing etc) in this throw-away society makes them less desirable as well. As for hipsters, they like certain old-fashioned items which explains their adoption of longwings.

  15. Should be: “in most of their forms”.

  16. Charlottesville | September 21, 2016 at 6:20 pm |

    Will — Thankfully my AE longwings also came sans pull tabs (although I have boots with similar tabs). I also thought that the TB version has an elevator shoe look, perhaps because Mr. Browne himself appears to be on the diminutive side and needs the boost. However, if he can get someone to pay $619 and up for pebble-grain calf wingtips, I have to admire his marketing ability.

    GS — Sadly, even in this fairly traditional town, most men tend to wear cheap-looking shoes, and if they bother with leather uppers, they neglect the polish. There are a few holdouts, mostly a few lawyers, stockbrokers and the like, but the general look is pretty shabby.

  17. @Charlottesville as I said, we now live in a throw away world. Why bother to take care of something? Just buy another one they’re cheap! That, is the mentality I loathe.

  18. Charlottesville | September 21, 2016 at 6:52 pm |

    GS — I agree. Your attitude is often associated with New England, but my New York father and Virginia mother instilled much the same lessons. Advice I have sometimes ignored to my regret. Shoes in particular are worth spending money on up front and maintaining through the years. You’d think I would remember after having to polish my father’s shoes every week when I was a tyke. But no. I just gave away a pair of black cap-toes that I bought from a promising looking, on-line start-up. They were offered for an introductory price of around $100 or so as I recall. I wore them perhaps five times and that was enough. I now have a new pair of AE Park Avenues that should last me the rest of my life. However, some of the new online companies have a quality product. Ratio makes am excellent shirt, for example, and hope to get some more.

  19. @Charlottesville that is true, it is often called “Yankee Frugality” and is a WASP value but I agree that it is just an old-fashioned value. That is, to get the most use of out something. Luckily, there a few retailers left, as you describe, that offer items that last. However, they are in the minority and their prices reflect that.

  20. I’m with GS…the last thing I need in my life is another intermediary. Buy direct whenever possible. Go to Rancourt’s site and you’ll find they have a sale on this model, as well as others. Billax owns Rancourt; that’s good enough for me to at least give them a website visit.

  21. Thank you for agreeing with me, George. The models offered under these brand names are often the same as those already offered by the manufacturer.

  22. Cole Haan along with Alden and Weejun were mainstays of Ivy men’s shops post war through the early 80s. Cole Haan made some great shoes till the mid 80s, then Nike bought them. Cole Haan was founded in 1928 in Chicago and moved to Yarmouth, Maine in 1975. I still wear a pair of cordovan and black saddles bought the fall of my high school sophomore year, 1967.

  23. Even though Rancourt makes shoes for different people, to possibly include the Alden Cape Cod collection(I heard that rumor), I think it is great that these other companies are recognizing that American shoe manufacturing isn’t quite dead yet, although limited. There is still a very large market for “Made in the USA”, and I am proud to say I am a patron in that market. I have and wear Allen Edmonds to include longwings(McNeil), which will never go out of style, and also some A-E Park Avenues. Love them both. I also do have a pair of Alden “Cape Cod” penny loafers which I also love. I do know Allen Edmonds is doing very well. If the trend continues and the market grows, I believe others may invest in their own manufacturing operations in the future at least on a limited scale, and bring the jobs and the quality back to our country where they belong.

  24. The Cole Haan site shows no Made in Maine products, including at the link provided.

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