Summer Shoe Guide March 24 2015
With spring destined to show up any day now here in the Northeast, there's no better time to add some key pieces to your wardrobe for the upcoming barbecues, beach days and road trips. Nothing says spring better than an eye-catching (and functional) pair of loafers or boat shoes, but with so many options out there it's easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, some of the best examples of this type of footwear can be obtained at a reasonable price, made right here in the USA. Check out some of the following classic New England moccasin manufacturers for the perfect intersection of style, comfort and durability.
Rancourt and Company has been making genuine handsewn moccasins in Lewiston, Maine for three generations. With Kyle Rancourt joining the business, lots of great new options are available for the style conscious among us who like classic designs with a modern twist. Rancourt is my personal favorite for fit, given the ease of their "made to fit" program. In exchange for $50, you can get your hands on two pairs of Rancourt shoes to dial in your size. Send them back, and the $50 is applied to your made to order or custom order shoes.
Here's where the fun begins: with the custom order program, you can design shoes on Rancourt's website using their existing designs. You choose the leather for all different portions of the shoes, the sole, the stitching, the lining and the stitching. With over 20 choices for the vamp alone, the sky is the limit!
I just put together a pair that showcases natural chromexcel with their rare dark green shell cordovan offering. A plantation crepe sole and natural midsole rounds out the package, with natural stitching setting the whole package off. You simply can't find something like this anywhere else.
Quoddy is another venerable New England handsewn moccasin specialist. Like Rancourt, they operate out of Maine:"Our methods go back centuries, back to the native Passamaquoddy. Made to cradle your foot in comfort. Meant to last a lifetime because they can be renewed by the same hands that created them.
Here, these skills have been passed down through generations. Here, we stubbornly resist trading human touch for industrial efficiency. Here, output is measured in dozens, not thousands."
Their spectacular take on the classic blucher can be ordered with 19 choices of leather, 4 choices of colored gum sole, 5 variations of hardware and 4 different thread options. Quoddy even offers 8 different colors of rawhide laces! Simple, beautiful and hardwearing, personalize these shoes and your new favorite pair will arrive in about 4 weeks. Hard to believe, but it's true.
Yuketen puts a great twist on these classic designs with the guidance of genius designer Yuki Matsuda. Here, you'll find bluchers, camp moccasins and loafers in classic make-ups, but you'll also find dramatic, eye-catching versions of these same shoes with twists such as a full ripple sole. These added elements somehow manage to toe the fine line between creativity and excess, and offer an incredible foundation for a great men's fit.
Check out the collections from these 3 companies and know that no matter what you choose this summer, a little bit of care will go a long way. So remember to use your Petri Polish Leather Balm and Potions and you'll look fresh and put together no matter where your summer takes you. Have fun out there and stay shiny!