Are you pinching pennies to save up for a pair of penny loafers (or perhaps for other styles of handsewn shoes)? Well, great news: Rancourt & Co. has just added new models to their Dirigo collection.
For anyone wondering “what the heck is Dirigo?” we’ll fill you in right quick. As Kyle and Mike Rancourt explained to us in our conversation with them last year, their factory in Lewiston, Maine produces footwear for other brands alongside their own Rancourt & Co. offerings. The Rancourts found that they were accumulating a lot of leftover leather from these projects—thousands of dollars’ worth—that wasn’t typically a part of the Rancourt & Co. catalog. At the same time, they were thinking of ways they could compete with the sub-$200 shoe space, while still producing footwear in their own American factory.
In 2017, Rancourt & Co. launched the Dirigo line as an answer to both of these challenges. Each shoe in this collection is made with overstock leather and other materials from their private label projects, and the models feature a stripped-down design. They’re not compromising on the build quality of these shoes—they’re still made with a handsewn construction—but they have reduced the complexity of the designs to allow their shoemakers to build them as efficiently as possible, reducing the overall cost.
For example, compare the Dirigo Loafer in Black Fargo with another Rancourt model like the Pinch Penny Loafer. The Dirigo model forgoes the handsewn details at the strap and the backstay, but it’s still a damn solid pattern that stays true to the essential style (and is only $198). Meanwhile, we can’t even tell the difference between these Dirigo Boots in Desert Oasis Safari and the regular Harrison Boot, aside from the soles.
Other highlights from this latest collection include a Dirigo Boot in Harvest cowhide with Caliber crepe-style outsoles (definitely feels like a Maine handsewn interpretation of a Red Wing moc toe boot), a couple of different Dirigo Ranger Mocs (the model in this oily Desert Oasis Snuff looks especially cool), and two different Dirigo Boat Shoes in Navy Bulldog and Walnut Latigo.
As with every Dirigo release, quantities of each model will be limited to whatever amount of leather Rancourt has left to make them, so when they’re gone, they’re gone.