Quoddy True Penny vs. Rancourt Beefroll: What’s the Difference?
There are few places as synonymous with a shoe style as Lewiston, Maine is to the beefroll penny. It’s like Detroit and the car, or Washington D.C. and politics – being born there seems to make you an inherent expert. However, like the GM vs. Ford battle in Detroit or the Democrat vs. Republican battle in D.C., battle lines exist in this small community. Turf wars break out between kids whose dad works at Rancourt vs. their classmates at Quoddy. Slings made of Horween’s Chromexcel can be seen in every grocery store.They fight for honor. To find which is better – the Quoddy True Penny Loafer vs. the Rancourt Beefroll.
OK, to be fair, the good people in Lewiston probably don’t have Anchorman-style brawls over these shoes. And these are not the only two names in town – Oak Street Bootmakers, for example, can compete just as well.
Around two years ago, on one of the very first reviews posted on this site, I said that the Quoddy True Penny Loafer might be the best Maine-made loafer. However, no one shoe is perfect for everyone. In fact, I just purchased a pair of Rancourts with my own money (full review here). Let’s take a look at the differences between these and see which is right for you.
Let’s get this out of the way. When comparing the Quoddy True Penny vs. the Rancourt Beefroll there are going to be more similarities than differences. Both of these loafers following the core principles of Beefroll Penny Loafer design.
On each you’ll find a true moc-toe, a strap over the plug, and rolled leather on the ends. Around back, a separate panel with stitching across is the heel. However, once you get a little bit closer you notice some key differences.
First, the Rancourt is bigger in every way. The leather is thicker, the strap is taller, the moc-toe comes up higher, and the beef rolls are larger. This means that the Rancourts are visually much more substantial. Something more akin to a dress shoe than a boat shoe. The Quoddy is the reverse. It’s not dainty, but it positions itself on the much more casual side.
The casual/formal divide doesn’t stop with the details. In general, the Quoddy leans into the rustic aesthetic. The stitching is slightly less even, the edges less polished, etc. It even includes pinking that curls slightly with wear. The Rancourt is much more serious with its straight lines and by-the-book cuts.
That isn’t to say one is better. Remember, a beefroll penny is still an inherently casual shoe. A bit of playfulness isn’t a bad thing. If they were vacations, the Quoddy would be the paint-faded beach house, and the Rancourt the rental on the golf course. Either way, you’ll probably have a good time.
When comparing the Quoddy True Penny and the Rancourt Beefroll, it’s important to remember that the standard outsole in both cases will be leather. Even here, though, the two can’t agree on the right way to do it.
Rancourt – as you can probably expect by now – went with the typical leather outsole. It’s the same style you can find from just about any shoemaker. Around a half a centimeter thick, it should be plenty durable. It fits in well with the more formal style.
Quoddy decided the typical wasn’t for them. Their leather sole is entirely their own. Cut with siping like a boat shoe outsole, and sliced thin for maximum flexibility, they trade off a bit of durability to get the style exactly the way they want it.
While both are offered with a leather outsole, Rancourt has a bit of a party trick in this department. As seen on the pair in the picture, Rancourt offers crepe soles from the Lacte Havea brand. Quoddy used to offer crepe as well, though in the traditional style, but stopped offering it several years ago.
When comparing the Quoddy True Penny vs. the Rancourt Beefroll, materials really shouldn’t come into play. In their core models, they are functionally identical – brown Horween Chromexcel leather, and a leather outsole. Rancourt’s cuts of leather and the outsole are generally thicker, though thicker isn’t always better.
It goes deeper than that, both of them have more affordable leather options from less well-known tanneries, and offer customization choices. With Rancourt, check out their “Dirigo” line. Quoddy is seen in their seasonal offerings.
Really, the big difference in materials can be seen in the two pairs being compared in the pictures. First, Quoddy got rid of their crepe soles several years ago, Rancourt offers the excellent Lacte Havea soles as an option. Second, Rancourt only offers unlined versions of their Beefroll, where Quoddy can come either lined or unlined.
Many people will find either of these upgrades worth it, and it’s a shame you can’t mix and match between the brands.
Fit and Comfort
Where the materials are the same, the fit between the Quoddy True Penny and the Rancourt Beefroll couldn’t be any more different.
The Quoddy comes in with the classic American-loafer last. Wide up front, narrower in the heel. It does a great job of letting your foot move while keeping the loafer on your feet. I never advocate sizing down to let the shoe stretch, but if you did mis-size, the Quoddy won’t punish you for it.
The Rancourt comes in with the opposite design. With a wider heel and narrow toe box, it’s doubtful anyone will fit well in both loafers.
When it comes to comfort, there isn’t even a comparison. The Quoddy’s are just about some of the worst shoes for walking around in I’ve ever tried. There is no padding, and no arch support. I know that people will say that about other moccasin construction, but the hard leather outsole makes these noticeably worse than something like a boat shoe or camp moc.
The Rancourts are on the other end of the spectrum. While the arch support is still notably lacking, the sole options make a world of difference. Of course, the Lacte Havea soles on this pair are wonderful, but even in the standard leather there is a give to them you won’t find in the Quoddys.
While I don’t want to get too old-man-yelling-at-clouds here, as I get older, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a bit of padding.
However, the extra comfort doesn’t come without a tradeoff. In exchange for the extra padding, the Rancourts are significantly heavier. In fact, in these make ups, they are nearly twice the weight.
When it comes to pricing, at MSRP there isn’t much in it. The Rancourts start at $315 (though the upgraded sole will take another $10 out of your pocket). The Quoddys currently sit at $300 – though Quoddy is much more likely to mess with their pricing. The True Penny has ranged in price from $275 all the way to $330 over the past year.
Thankfully, for the deal savvy out there, it’s possible to get both of these for a lot less. On the Rancourt side, ever since 2020 they have offered a crowd funding/pre order sale a few times a year. This is basically like buying wholesale and prices are much lower. That being said, there is no guarantee the beefroll will be available.
Quoddy does their sales a bit differently, with rotating categories throughout the year, along with a seconds-and-samples tent sale once or twice a year. Like the Rancourts, you’re never guaranteed to find the True Pennys, but in my experience it’s a bit easier to pick up a deal on the Quoddys.
In either case, expect to pay around $300 for a pair you need right now, or around $200 if you can wait for a deal to pop up.
Which is for You?
If you were talking to the average joe, these two might sound identical. Two brown, beefroll loafers, using similar materials and made just a few miles from each other. Pick one and move on with your life. Joe would be right.
However, there is more to these two loafers than the materials that make them.
The Quoddy loafer feels more hand made. Its casual nature means that it really isn’t appropriate in an office. At least, any office with a real dress code that requires more formal attire. On the other hand, while it has its flaws, but wears them as a badge of honor.
You want a pair of Quoddys for the same reason you want an antique – it transports you to a different time. You can feel the well-worn LL Bean Norwegian sweater as you pull them out, and the smell of lobster in the air.
The Rancourt is the do-it-all loafer. You can wear it to work, play, and everything in between. they feel overbuilt, like it can outlast you. Rancourt builds their boots in the same factory as their loafers, and it shoes.
You want a pair of Rancorts because you don’t have time to mess around. You need something that can do everything, and look great while they do it.
If you want the emotional connection, what to ask yourself is if you’re a dreamer or a realist. That will give you an answer.