Flanderian

Connoisseur
21,578
United States
New Jersey
Flanders
Around the end of May I decided that I wished to add a another pair of penny loafers to my wardrobe as they meet a lot of practical needs and I like them. In particular, I had been taken with the looks of a particular pair Rancourt offers, and I'd always been intrigued with what I read about Rancourt, particularly their authenticity and reputation for quality. Knowing that other members had purchased Rancourt footwear, I sought council with the wise brethren as to any peculiarities of sizing. While not all agreed, the general consensus was they fit pretty much true to size. As I normally wear an 11D, and don't seem particularly difficult to fit, I decided to stick with this.

I can report that I am well pleased with the sizing. While the shoes were made in anticipation of often being worn without socks, I don't, and tried them on with thin socks. They fit very well without being unduly snug or loose. But I do expect them to loosen up a bit as is characteristic of all shoes, but particularly moccasins. That shouldn't be a problem, because I often like wearing my pennies with crew socks anyway. There's no slippage, the vamp is snug, not tight and the heel fits well. And I expect those things only to improve as I wear them. One concern I have is that my instep is somewhat high. And I know others have complained about the strap on some other makes being unwearable because it's too tight. No problem with the Rancourts, it's just right.

I selected the Sherman Penny Loafer made from shrunken bison (Buffalo) with the Reltex crepe soles.

http://www.rancourtandcompany.com/men-s/loafers/penny-loafers/sherman-penny-loafer.html



I'm a sucker for grained leather in general, and have found I very much like crepe soles, and I like the contrast stitching as used here.

The leather is shrunken American Bison, AKA Buffalo. It is tanned by Tasman Leather in Hartland, Maine. Bison is thick, supple and durable leather with a pronounced grain. But I don't believe it's as dense as cow. Shrinking leather in the tanning process reduces volume, shrinks the pores and makes the leather denser. It also tends to impart, or in this case, increase the grain effect. (Coincidently, it can also impart resistance to water.)

Rancourt uses full grain Bison. I happened upon this illustration, which while probably for cowhide, should hold true for Bison and shows exactly what full grain consists of.




The hide is dark chocolate brown, heavily grained and thick. It feels about as supple as full grain cowhide would. It has a matt finish with only a very a slight gloss and is very rugged and rustic in character. Rancourt recommends cleaning only by brushing with a horsehair brush and using neutral Venetian Shoe Balm once a month. That sounds reasonable from what I know, and I think I will follow their suggestion.

I have other shoes with laxtex crepe soles, but this is the first with Reltex, and I love them. Very dense, fairly heavy but just the right combination of support and cushioning. This is something that should also only get better with wear. One of the virtues claimed for the Reltex natural latex soles is durability. And this is something from my experience which can vary widely. The evident density of these soles as indicated by their weight suggests their durability should be good. The natural dark tan of their color is one I find very complimentary and appealing with the Bison.

(I have arthritis in my spine, and I've found softer soles kinder in this regard than other choices.)

Now on to quality: This is going to be short and sweet, the shoes appear to be perfect both cosmetically and structurally. They are carefully and precisely made with no observable flaws. In fact, they radiate quality in every aspect, displaying superb construction and high quality materials throughout. A very honest and properly made shoe that I don't think could be made better for what it is.

I had to wait an extra week due to soles coming in slowly. (You see, in the summer the French, being sane people, go on holiday! :beers:) This was no problem. They're carefully packed in their handsome box, with a nice presentation of one shoe being in the complimentary shoe bags, and a shoe horn, and even a set of coasters made from left over scrap leather! :thumbs-up:
 
Last edited:

mreams99

Senior Member
579
United States
Ohio
Marysville
Thank you for this detailed review.
I have been interested in giving Rancourt a try myself, and I love that bison leather.
 

Woofa

Super Member
1,095
United States
Texas
Fort Worth
This could not make me happier. I have been thinking of getting these for months. Congrats on a great purchase. I will eventually follow.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
14,564
United States
Illinois
Chicago
Very nice and thank you for the review. It looks as though the leather will require little, if any, break in time.

It's nice to see an American company doing it right.
 

swils8610

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
410
United States
New York
East Amherst
I have a pair of Rancourt shell penny loafers and the quality is superb. Congrats on your new penny's.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

cellochris

Super Member
1,573
United States
Massachusetts
Boston
Excellent post and great shoes! I have a similar bison pair made by Rancourt for Bill's Khakis (thrifted from TweedyDon) and they are extremely comfortable.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
30,084
Harmony, FL
United States
Florida
Harmony
Great choice for a penny loafer. Rancourt certainly does do it right when it comes to crafting shoes. Should you continue to feel the itch for Bison leather, you might consider adding a pair of the Sherman Ranger Mocs, fitted with the Laxtae Hevea soles...they are indeed wonderfully comfortable to walk in!

Flanderain, my friend, may you long wear those Bison loafers and may you do so only in good health! :thumbs-up:
 

mreams99

Senior Member
579
United States
Ohio
Marysville
Great choice for a penny loafer. Rancourt certainly does do it right when it comes to crafting shoes. Should you continue to feel the itch for Bison leather, you might consider adding a pair of the Sherman Ranger Mocs, fitted with the Laxtae Hevea soles...they are indeed wonderfully comfortable to walk in!

Flanderain, my friend, may you long wear those Bison loafers and may you do so only in good health! :thumbs-up:
The review prompted me to visit the Rancourt site and look at their products again. The shoe that most interested me was that very Sherman Ranger Moc in bison! I'm glad to hear that those also get a good review.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
21,578
United States
New Jersey
Flanders
Thank you for this detailed review.
I have been interested in giving Rancourt a try myself, and I love that bison leather.
This could not make me happier. I have been thinking of getting these for months. Congrats on a great purchase. I will eventually follow.
These are sweet, and very easy color to combine with almost everything
I have a pair of Rancourt shell penny loafers and the quality is superb. Congrats on your new penny's.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Excellent post and great shoes! I have a similar bison pair made by Rancourt for Bill's Khakis (thrifted from TweedyDon) and they are extremely comfortable.
Thank you! I hope it might prove useful.
 
Ratio Clothing Custom Shirts