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.]