Maine Attraction: A Closer Look at Rancourt & Co.
Exquisite, handcrafted shoes are the product of good breeding.
“We think we are a bit different up here. There’s something in the water,” says Kyle Rancourt, explaining the fine craftsmanship that goes into his Lewiston-based company’s camp moccasins and wingtips. Following a five-decade-long family tradition of making shoes by hand, he and his father, Mike, launched Rancourt & Co. in 2009. Though their artisanry is rooted in the past, the footwear purveyors have a very forward-thinking business approach: In addition to their private-label work for Ralph Lauren, Red Wing, and others, Rancourt & Co. has an expanding in-house collection, and offers styles with fully customizable details. (Customers can use the company’s online tool, for example, to cobble together three-tone beefroll suede penny loafers with different sizes and widths for each foot.) Watch for a collaboration with the British designer Greg Chapman—think sleek boots with straps and flannel-accented pairs—debuting this fall.
The company’s “Read” leather boat shoes will be released May 1.
An employee sews a camp moccasin by hand.
A steel die used to cut leather.
The ink-transfer machine stamps the size and lot number onto each shoe.
A craftsman sorts various leathers.
Kyle Rancourt on the factory floor.