Introducing Rancourt & Co. + Horween
- June 6, 2013 |
The idea began with the leather—a rich, scotch grain Chromexcel that our buyer, Michael Jaworowski, stumbled across on a visit to Horween. Taken with the traditional, British texture and evident quality, we decided to put this scotch grain to use in classic, versatile penny loafer. “Our goal was to make a simple, beautiful, and high quality product that would challenge the aesthetic of the status quo and show our attention to detail,” says MJ. “We like working with people that care about the details just as much as we do. We have this world-renowned tannery right here in Chicago (Horween). And, Rancourt is producing really high quality footwear out of Maine.” In short, we wanted to create something distinctive but wearable, something that goes anywhere and wears well and will last a very long time. It’s as simple as that.
According to Phil Kalas of Horween Leather Co., “The best part about the Chromexcel, especially on footwear, is that it will mold to your foot. The leather will age with you and stretch around your foot—eventually, it will be like wearing a slipper.” The Chromexcel is treated with a process called hot stuffing, during which a proprietary blend of greases and waxes (natural tree bark tannins and beeswax, to name a few) are pounded into the leather using steam-heated mills. The result is a rich, full leather that actually smells like leather with a hint of beeswax, instead of chemicals. It’s a process and formula that has been used for well over 100 years, as seen in the original formula—an artifact that recently resurfaced in the historic Horween factory.
And then, there are the shoes. The Rancourt family has been making genuine handsewn moccasins in Lewiston, Maine, for three generations, starting with Dave Rancourt, and continuing today with co-founders, Mike and Kyle Rancourt. As one of few remaining companies still manufacturing here in the U.S., the folks at Rancourt have a lot to be proud of, starting with their hand-sewn construction.
Instead of using a pre-punched technique (punching holes when the leather is cut), the sewers at Rancourt use an awl to carefully slice the leather as they go, allowing for a more precise fit on the last and less noticeable perforations in the moccasin toe. The result is a timeless, high quality pair of shoes that are completely resoleable—ensuring a long, long life for your shoes.
Through June 30, 2013, they’re available for pre-sale in stores and online. Each pair is made to order and will ship within 12 weeks. When your shoes are ready, you can pick up in store or have them shipped.