Rancourt Bit Loafers

Around these parts, our affection for Rancourt shoes is well known. A pair both of penny loafers and camp moccasins from the Maine-based company have a regular and treasured place in my shoe rotation.

So it seemed only natural that, in the market for another pair of slip on shoes, I would turn, once again, to the good folks at Rancourt.

I decided that my next pair would be Gucci-style bit loafers, every bit as classic at the penny and tassel iterations. It’s a style I’ve long coveted but one that, up until now, never had a place in my footwear collection.

I placed a custom order, paying the modest $25 upcharge for a split size request, and waited a couple of months for the shoes to arrive.

And arrive they did, more or less within the promised time span.

But there are two issues with these shoes. When I first tried them on, I was aghast at how tight they were. I did a little comparison against my Rancourt penny loafers, and the bit loafers were about 3/8″ shorter–despite being ostensibly the same size.

They’ve begun to stretch a bit after a few wearings, but they’re still too snug for regular use. I imagine the break-in period for these to be in the order of months rather than weeks.

The other issue is one of quality control. The left sole, before I even tried it on, looked a bit discolored and scratched. Now I realize that, after the first trip outside, that consideration is moot. I’d just like the soles to look pristine when I pull them out of the box.

Out of the box, they should not look like this.

At this point, our experience demands we knock Rancourt down a peg, from highly recommend to recommend with reservations.

Tony Bonanno Sandals

A few years ago, we extolled the virtues of Palm Beach Sandals. At the time, that company was one of only two enterprises producing the classic resort sandal–the one popularized by Jackie Kennedy–in the United States.

Alas, they are no longer.

The only company remaining that can trace a direct line to the original sandals made for Jackie Kennedy is Tony Bonanno Sandals. Tony is a third generation sandal maker, grandson of the couple who made the first pair for Jackie Kennedy. A few years ago, he took over the family business from his father Stephen.

Palm Beach Sandals might object to this characterization, as it is still marketing a version of the sandal. However, I contend that one must make the sandals in the United States–as they were originally–to stake that claim. Otherwise you’re nothing more than a name doing a diminished legacy business.

In the same way I’ve been leaning hard on slip on shoes during the pandemic, my wife has been upping her sandal game. Here in the subtropics, a good pair of sandals is almost a year-round shoe.

So it made perfect sense to get her a pair of Tony Bonanno sandals for her birthday last month.

Yes, dear reader, these are everything we hoped they would be. They are impeccably constructed, beautiful in appearance and a perfect addition to a resort/summer wardrobe.