While Alden continues to make some of the finest shoes in the world, and Red Wing is the standard bearer when it comes to rugged American made footwear, the market for American made sporty shoes has been extremely limited. New Balance has of course been the foremost producer of American sneakers for some time, and upstarts like Victory have definitely created a lot of excitement with its small-batch-no-logo approach, but no one has really come along and put an American spin on all of the super-clean stitch-down sneakers that have been coming out of Italy. That is, up until this summer when our old friends at Rancourt & Co. up in Lewiston, Maine launched these two classic American sneakers called the Court Classics. Made from full-grain cowhide leather, these simple sneakers were at least two years in the making with Rancourt taking note of the void in the market for this type of footwear. It seems the inspiration was equal parts want and need. “We developed the court classic because we felt that a simple yet traditional high quality leather sneaker at an affordable price was missing from the US market.” And the results are impressive.
At $260 for the Court Classic Low and $275 for the Court Classic High, these aren’t in the same price category as the one-summer throwaway canvas sneakers coming out of the PRC, but they are a great value considering the materials, the make (and Rancourt’s factory knows how to make a shoe by hand) and the relative cost compared to the competition. The only thing that could possibly make them better would be if re-soling was an option. But even with that being the case, these are an impressive development from my favorite hand-sewn shoemaker. What’s really surprising in all of this is the fact that it took this long for someone to step in and make this happen. Though, I can’t imagine that these are going to take as long for all of us to get these Court Classics into our rotation. [Rancourt & Co.]
Comments on “Behold Rancourt’s Super Clean All-American Sneaker.”
Meh, not much different from 100 sneakers on the market. All bastards of Stan Smith, might as well go with the original and save yourself 2 bills.
@NWG Glad we could have this talk.
As minimalistic, or more so, than Common Projects, made in America, and at ~$140 bucks cheaper than the previously mentioned, there’s no way these are just “bastards of Stan Smith”. Stans have their place but the clean aesthetic of these shoes is on another level.
It would be cool to see a pair of these beaten up to see how they form around the foot and how the quality of the leather holds. As pictured, they don’t look particularly comfortable. Any info on the footbed? Also, I get a tickle in my throat when someone says a $275 casual shoe is an “affordable price” point. That being said, It is refreshing to see an American company tackle this trend. I wish them success.
The folks at Gustin are having small batches of sneakers made for them in Italy at a notably lower price point.
Of course, their business model means you don’t get the instant gratification of having the item delivered a few days after you order . . .
Kudos to them. A canvas version would be nice. I am not aware of a made in America option on that front. Is there one?
Truly absurd. Too simple of a sneaker, that is going to look filthy if you do anything pictured like walk a little closer to that Maine coastline.
I love simple sneakers, but if I can get 3 or 4 pairs (i.e. 3 or 4 years of brand new canvas (ok..not necessarily leather…shoes from say Keen for the same price as these shoes I’ll stick with “absurd” as my description.
They are nice looking, but $260 nice looking!? Not for long.
They’re ok, 2 years in the making though, talk about navel gazing.
The bottom picture is the most telling, normal lacing and the toe cap is creased, suddenly don’t look quite so crisp
@Thomas I could see you at home squinting at your screen trying to find a flaw. Also, I can’t help but to notice your email address. Good to see everyone in the world hasn’t abandoned Hotmail. I can tell that you’re out there fighting the good fight for aesthetics.
I enjoy your site, but I wish you would be more graceful in taking criticism. Not everyone has to share your opinion or lathe brands featured here with praise and adoration. Some people have different price sensitivities and aesthetic preferences. Heck, some might even know more about footwear and clothing construction than you do. It’s what makes this blog interesting — dissent and (respectful) back-and-forth. Maybe then readers would learn something from reading the comment section too. Such comments won’t get submitted, however, if you give every non-fawning commenter a snarky — and frankly, somewhat jerk-ish — response.
^ Sorry, the above was supposed to say “lather,” obviously not lathe.
Here’s a question: do these sneakers feature cloth insoles? My issue with Rancourt is that they use fiberboard insoles for their handsewn line, which is really disappointing. Fiberboard, as you know, is just reconstituted leather, made from a mixture of ground up leather and glue. It doesn’t take a footbed as easily as quality, full-grain leather.
The Rancourt team, sadly, tried to justify their decision in a marketing video, but it said little about what fiberboard was actually better than full-grain leather. To be frank, it felt a little dishonest on their part. I wish they just said something like “using fiberboard allows us to give you these shoes at a more affordable price.” Which is a fine reason. But to hold fiberboard up as a quality material for insoles is kind of a smack to the face to anyone who knows anything about shoemaking.
@David I’ve been at this for about 8 years and found the best way to deal with the trolls is snark. Plus it’s fun. Read back into the archives and you will see what I mean.
Jeez, $260? Hope they come with a lifetime supply of blowjobs.
I hear those shoes come with a free Smythson’s Panama Jotter refill notepad.
Oh Darling! I would gladly spend 260 on my hubby and have his tootsie’s in new tennis shoes such as these, heehee. But I did swoop in H&M (did I really say H&M?) and I saw a similar pair such as these for 24.99! Who knew? But then again who would be caught dead in H&M??
Lewiston… the armpit of Maine. Funny bc no one in maine can afford these. No one
Someone with a hotmail account probably.
Trisha also actually had a Hotmail acct as well.
@David I asked Rancourt and they told me they don’t actually use inner soles in their handsewn line. So basically what we have all learned is that you have no idea what you are talking about. I for one am shocked, because you seemed super legit. I guess this means that you weren’t smacked in the face after all â€” because we can’t count you as one who “knows anything about shoemaking” …
$260 … nice one to Rancourt if they can sell at that. Buttero and Common Projects get away with it so why not.
If not, you people moaning can change your story, say you liked them all along, and snap them up in the sale.
People are happy all down the line.
It’s almost like a public service.
Interesting shoe, I would like to see how they look after a few months of use.
I hope they are durable also.
Epaulet and Wolf vs. Goat also have similar shoes, albeit sourced in Italy and/or Spain? Nonetheless, these are particularly nice and its good to see a made in Maine company with a more contemporary style. I really like the hi-tops, maybe in off-white leather someday?
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