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Rancourt & Company

Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters Frequently Asked Questions... and answers

Q: How do I figure out my size if I have not worn your shoes before?

A: You can use our sizing guide. Or you can visit one of the retailers in your area that carry our shoes to try them on. Keep in mind that retailers typically carry "D" width shoes only.

If you still have questions, email us at info@rancourtshoes.com and we may be able to help you determine the best size.

Q: What is a last?

A: The last is the hard plastic mold on which the shoes are crafted. The last gives the shoes their size and shape.

Q: How many different lasts do you use?

A: We use three different lasts. Our handsewn lasts are the 114 for loafers and other slip-on shoes and the 800 for tie shoes and boots, these lasts come in widths B, D, E, EE. Our Blake stitch last is called the John last and comes in D width only.

Q: How do you measure the size of a last?

A: Lasts are measured by the girth and circumference to give us a measurement of the total volume of the shoes. We do not measure length and width by the linear measurement of the bottom of the last. Thus, you cannot measure the bottom of your foot or the bottom of the shoes to determine the size.

Q: Do you have combination lasts (narrower width measurement in the heel and wider in the forepart)?

A: Yes, all of our lasts are combination lasts. Most modern lasts are combination lasts. This typically means that a D width last has a B width heel. E width lasts have C width heels, and so on.

Q: Which brands of shoes can I compare the sizing to Rancourt & Co.?

A: Most American shoemakers will have a similar fit — this includes Allen-Edmonds and Alden. In general, but with exceptions, you will wear the same size in our shoes as you wear in Alden or Allen-Edmonds. However, this should not be the only determining factor for sizing before you order. Please follow our sizing guide and/or try our shoes on at a retailer near you.

Q: What are the options for MTO shoes if I want to order something different than pictured on your website?

A: We can accommodate most requests for types of leather, soles, and colors. The best way is to email us at info@rancourtshoes.com with your requests and we will work with you from there. We are currently working on a tool that will allow you to build your own shoe on our website and see it before you purchase — this should be available by November 2012.

Q: How should a loafer fit?

A: Loafers, like our beefroll penny loafers, are always going to fit more loosely than tie shoes. The hand-sewn moccasin constructions is inherently pliant and will not fit the same as a Goodyear Welted loafer. Loafers are meant to slip on and off of the feet easily, so slippage in the heel is almost unavoidable. However, your heels should not come completely out of the shoes with every step.

Q: Should I order a different size in a loafer as opposed to a tie shoe?

A: The simple answer is no, we engineer our shoes so that you can order the same size in every style. However, tie shoes are much easier to fit than loafers - you can tighten them and the throat opening is generally smaller so they keep your heel locked in to the shoes. You should expect some slippage with loafers.

Q: What types of leather do you use and can you describe the properties?

A: Please see our Leather reference guide for a description of the leather we use.

Q: What is the difference between a lined and unlined pair of shoes?

A: When we use the term lining, we are referring to a leather lining that is attached to the inside of the upper leather before the shoes are lasted. Lined shoes generally retain their shape better than unlined shoes and thus are more durable. They are also marginally warmer in colder weather. They can be stiffer and less forgiving than unlined shoes. Unlined shoes are a single layer of leather that forms the upper of the shoes. Unlined shoes are typically reserved for very casual shoes. They will form to your feet very quickly and are more breathable than lined shoes. Unlined shoes are preferred for sockless wear.

The sizing of a shoe does not change if the shoes are lined or unlined. Yes, an unlined shoe is more pliable and will stretch more but the initial volume of the shoes remains the same whether they are lined or unlined.

Q: Can your shoes be re-soled and what do you charge for this service?

A: Yes, all of our shoes can be re-soled multiple times. We charge $50 for the service, plus shipping. We will only re-sole shoes that were made by us. We can replace the soles on your shoes with any type of sole we have in stock. For an additional $25, we will refinish the shoes by cleaning, moisturizing, and buffing the leather and replacing the old leather sockliners with new ones. You can purchase this service in our online shop in the "Shoe Care" category.

Q: How do you recommend caring for your shoes?

A: We recommend that you insert a pair of cedar shoe trees in your shoes whenever you are not wearing them, 100% cedar shoe trees can be purchased in our online shop. We also recommend keeping your shoes as clean and dry as possible. To prolong the life of the shoes it is best not to wear them everyday — if possible you should rotate your shoes every other day. Venetian shoe cream and saddle soap are good products for cleaning and moisturizing the leather. You may use wax polishes or colored creams, but keep in mind that these products will stain the stitching if it is a light color, and they may change the color of the leather.