July 22 — LEWISTON – This summer at the Olympics it’s red, white and Lew again.
Team USA athletes will wear red, white and blue sneakers hand-sewn by Rancourt & Co. during the opening and closing ceremonies in Tokyo on July 23 and August 8.
“We are very honored,” President Mike Rancourt said on Wednesday.
He described the process of creating the shoes, which started in March 2019, as “very demanding, very precise and I understand – we make sneakers for the people who are going to be on the world stage with a lot of eyes, phones. and cameras on everything we do, everything Ralph Lauren does. “
The high-end fashion label, which has been equipping Team USA since 2008, called on Rancourt & Co. to hand-sew red, white and blue leather boat shoes for the athletes of the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio.
“They are making every effort, it’s practical, to have everything made in the United States. It started in 2016 and continues today,” Rancourt said.
This time, Ralph Lauren was after the jump sneakers. Prototyping started over two years ago.
“When you start to develop a new product, it has its own peculiarities that we need to know about,” he said. While the company makes their own line of sneakers, “we usually work 99% of the time with leather, so this time it was fabric and leather, but most of it was fabric. That poses its own challenges. “
Production halted in March 2020 when games were delayed due to the pandemic and resumed last fall. The soles of the sneakers arrived pre-molded with everything else sewn by hand and assembled by the 41 employees of Rancourt & Co ..
“It’s about 100 steps,” Rancourt said. “In the end, three quarters of our production in March, April, May was devoted to sneakers.”
Rancourt & Co., in its third generation of shoemaking with Rancourt’s son Kyle, is known for its high-end hand-sewn shoes. The company makes private label shoes for companies such as Sperry and Ralph Lauren in addition to having wholesale accounts with J.Crew and Huckberry.
In recent years, she has turned to selling her own brand products, Rancourt said.
“Today 65% of our revenue is based on the Rancourt products we sell online,” he said. “It’s a big change since 2016.”
As before, the sneakers from Rancourt & Co. will also be worn by Team USA at the Paralympic Games.
After the leather boat shoe exhibition in Rio, “we saw a real rebound (in sales) in August 2016 and then it continued until the holidays,” he said. “It’s a great piece for us because people across the country are excited that there is a manufacturer in the United States.”