‘Court Of Appeals: Rancourt Crowdfunds With Wholesale Prices To Avoid Layoffs

It’s been a dismal year for American manufacturing, with the lights going off at the Brooks Brothers shirt factory in Garland, North Carolina; the culling of Southwick in Haverhill, Massachusetts; and the impending shutdown of the original Gitman factory in Ashland, Pennsylvania. Surely even the most cynical trads are hoping that at least one factory will pull out all the stops to fight back against the unfolding made-in-America Götterdämmerung. That seems to be the case with Rancourt & Co., the 52-year-old moccasin maker based in Lewiston, Maine. On June 24th the company sent an email worryingly titled “We Need Your Help – Support Our American Factory.”

The email’s body laid out a plan that, if successful, could prevent Rancourt’s factory from being hit with pandemic-induced layoffs. Rancourt is making seven of its best-selling styles available at wholesale pricing via a crowdfunding model. If the threshold of 150 orders is met for a style at its wholesale price (which knocks off $100 or more from the price of each), it will go into production and ship in 8-12 weeks.

Among the styles in its crowdfunding promotion are several that may appeal to Tradsville denizens, including its Read Boat Shoe, Gilman Camp Moc, Classic Ranger Moc, and Beef Roll Penny Loafers (and if anyone’s going for a 70s Japan-influenced Heavy Duty Ivy-look, I could see the Acadia Chukka working, too). 

One of the reasons I’m so passionately proselytizing for the shoemaker is that Rancourt’s been among my chief footwear sources for the last five years. I’ve accumulated five pairs in that time, and the level of comfort that comes from a broken-in pair of Rancourt moccasins is something to behold. That quality, and the fact that these are decidedly un-precious shoes that can take a beating and only look better with age, sees me wearing Rancourts 3-4 times a week and almost exclusively when I travel. 

Among those currently offered in the promotion, I own the Gilman Camp Moc, the Classic Ranger Moc, and the Beef Roll Penny Loafers. I like slipping into the camp moc with shorts and an OCBD for quick errands in summer, though I’ve also found them to cozily pair with Shetland sweaters, cuffed khakis, and thick socks for in fall and winter. The ranger moc is what I wear in lieu of sneakers, and mine have seen action hiking and bike-riding and make a great foul-weather shoe with a bit of leather dressing. As such, I like wearing it with Levi’s 501s and a Barbour jacket. 

But I’ll admit that the penny loafers are my favorite. Their stretchy chromexcel leather has formed to my foot like no other, and among the things I look forward to most when warm weather returns is the feeling of slipping into them with my bare feet (admittedly, I do wear no-show socks). The shoe’s beef roll detail, soft, rounded shape and moccasin stitching make it great for knocking about with chinos or denim and an OCBD, but the leather midsole keeps it smartly elevated. I’ve resoled my pair perhaps three times and they’re still going strong. 

Anyhow, that’s more than enough about my own shoe-wearing preferences. The point is, it’s easy to grumble about how no one supports American manufacturing anymore, and our mom-and-pop factories are doomed. But here’s a golden opportunity to directly support a small domestic maker in its time of need, with prices competitive to what’s offered by the many ex-American Made brands that have offshored. If you’d like to see Rancourt stay in the former category, this is a chance I wouldn’t pass up. — ERIC TWARDZIK

25 Comments on "‘Court Of Appeals: Rancourt Crowdfunds With Wholesale Prices To Avoid Layoffs"

  1. I was listening to “Gotterdammerung” last Sunday…

  2. Charlottesville | June 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm |

    Thanks for the heads up, Eric. I just ordered a pair of Rancourt camp mocs that I have long wanted, but was reluctant to pay $250 for. A fair price, and in a good cause. I hope their campaign is a great success.

  3. john carlos | June 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm |

    Eric and Charlottesville- I’m a big fan of Rancourt. I own the camp moc, ranger moc, boat shoe as well as several of their pennies. All are top quality and are super comfortable. In fact, I’m wearing the boat shoes today, sans socks, with khakis. Charlottesville, I really like the camp mocs with shorts in the rather toasty San Antonio summer weather. I think you will find that they are worth the money.

  4. Charlottesville | June 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm |

    Thanks, John Carlos. I can’t wait to receive them; they are expected to ship in September. My 1990-era camp mocs are no longer fit for much beyond yard work, and the newer “Jackman” mocs that I bought from LL Bean as a replacement a couple of years ago are comfortable enough, but just never looked right to me.

  5. john carlos | June 26, 2020 at 4:15 pm |

    Charlottesville, I used to wear camp mocs from LL Bean and I agree with your assessment that they just don’t look right. No comparison between Bean and the much superior Rancourt.

  6. I suppose the good news is that they’re reached their goal on all of their (good looking) models offered. The bad news for the rest of us is that we don’t have a chance to buy them at a great price.

  7. Too Much Johnson | June 26, 2020 at 5:45 pm |

    @RWK – Did my part earlier this afternoon with a pair of 9.5D Beef Rolls ordered from the link above. I placed my order after their goal had already been met without any issues.

    Am a bit worried though that I took their advice to go down a 1/2 size in the Beef Rolls…

  8. john carlos | June 26, 2020 at 6:49 pm |

    Too Much Johnson- I have their beef rolls and ordered a half size smaller. Perfect fit.

  9. Hello to All and thanks so much for the support. We are truly grateful for the overwhelming positive response we’ve received to this crowdfunding experiment. I️ wanted to clarify that while our goal for each style was 150, that was the minimum needed to produce each style. However, there is no maximum. One week of production for us is about 300 pairs, so we will be making orders, as they come in, in batches of 300. We are planning to accept orders for two weeks from today.

  10. Trevor Jones | June 26, 2020 at 11:49 pm |

    I’m with Charlottesville here, have always wanted a pair of Rancourt camp mocs but $250 is steep. At $150, I’m getting them at a great discount and helping to support my fellow New Englanders: a win-win. Historically, I’ve been a staunch boat shoe guy but last fall I tried my first pair of camp mocs and have loved them. Supposedly Rancourts are some of the best so I’m eager for them to arrive!

  11. American manufacturing will be perfectly fine, if the prices will be reasonable. Decades ago, American-made wasn’t considered luxury and didn’t cost a lot. It makes no sense to pay $300 for “American-made” moccasins, when U.K.-made Goodyear-welted dress shoes can be purchased for a similar price (or less), if you know where to look. Britain is also a modern, developed, very expensive country, yet, they manage to keep prices that are good enough to attract people, and thus, still have their Northamptonshire manufacturing going strong.

  12. NaturalShoulder | June 27, 2020 at 9:17 am |

    Eric – thank you for posting. I have a pair of Ranger Camp Mocs and the sole is wearing out and was thinking about a replacement pair or trying the Ranger moc instead. The weltline shell loafer is my favorite shoe. I sent in to be resolved and the upper part was damaged in process and they provided a new pair without additional charge. i appreciated their great service and will be placing an order today. Just wish they would offer a shell tassel loafer.

  13. Kyle Rancourt: what about sizing. For many of us we often have issues with sizing over the internet. Assume these are not returnable?

  14. Old School Tie | June 27, 2020 at 11:11 am |

    Greetings to all! I got the Rancourt email but haven’t had a chance to do anything about it so glad that one can still order a pair as per Kyle Rancourt’s post. Charlottesville and Trevor – as Camp Moc guys and given JDV’s thoughts what size are our going for? Your normal sizes or half a size down? Indeed, John Carlos as a fan and owner might be able to throw some light on this…

  15. In my own experience, I’ve gone down a half-size for the camp and Ranger Moc (I’m an 11.5D).

  16. Darn it – I just spent my shoe budget on black lug sole bit loafers from FE Castleberry!

  17. Too Much Johnson | June 27, 2020 at 1:21 pm |

    @ john carlos Many thanks – I do appreciate that.

    I used to pick-up Rancourt loafers in the early 90s under RL’s Polo and Polo Country labels for around $100 ($75-85 on sale) at The Polo Store, SFA, Lord & Taylor, etc. They were considered a disposable item – wear them out over the course of a semester or two and then throw them out as simply not being worth the cost or the bother of a re-sole.

    Times certainly do change.

    Funny though that as pointed out above you can still find solid Northampton made shoes for $300 to $400 today – albeit by doing a bit of strategic shopping.

  18. john carlos | June 27, 2020 at 1:25 pm |

    Old School Tie- The only Rancourt’s I’ve gone down a half size are the Beef Roll pennies. Otherwise, I just ordered my regular size. And I own several pair of various Rancourt models. Quality shoes and excellent service.

  19. Old School Tie | June 28, 2020 at 5:06 am |

    Thanks Eric and jc. Now I still don’t know what to do….but at a guess john carlos wears his with socks and Mr Twardzik without. Guesswork only.

  20. john carlos | June 28, 2020 at 2:24 pm |

    Old School Tie- NEVER would I wear camp mocs or boat shoes with socks.

  21. Old School Tie- I wear a 10D in Rancourt’s (ranger mocs and camp mocs). For comparison, I wear a 9.5D in Alden (Van Last and Barrier Last). I also wear a 10D in Allen Edmonds. I don’t wear socks with my Rancourt’s and find that the sizing is “true to size” except for when Kyle and the team recommend sizing down. I sized down a half size for the beef roll penny loafers in Chromexcel and kept my normal size for the camp mocs in this most recent order. I hope that helps with sizing.

  22. Old School Tie | June 30, 2020 at 1:56 pm |

    Thanks very much Cameron – no offence meant, jc, I was teasing…

  23. Henry Contestwinner | July 3, 2020 at 12:43 am |

    Some years back, Bass offered a made-in-America Weejun that was manufactured, I believe, by Rancuort. I ordered a pair, and have been well pleased with them. They’re still going strong, though I did have to get them resoled recently. They’ve become my go-to shoe for Kung Flu Casual.

    As much as I would like to support Rancourt again, I’m afraid that I’m just not a camp moc/boat shoe kind of guy. Regardless, I am very glad to see this campaign working for them, and I hope the remain in business for many, many more years to come.

  24. PocketSquare | October 28, 2020 at 10:11 am |

    I received my two pairs recently, it was well worth the wait. Both styles were offered in Horween leathers. Gonna hold on them them for awhile.

  25. I ordered a pair of Rancourts pennies full strap recently with a tentative shipping date of October 15th; my anticipation is building, hopefully won’t be disappointed. I’m currently a Russell moc. customer but always looking for alternatives and looks like Rancourt could be one.

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