Zara Suede Single Monks – $49.99 ($99.90)
UPDATE: Sizes 8, 9, 10, and 11 were available at post time, and have since sold out.
“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”
Apparently along with water, there are shoe making elves falling from Spanish skies. How else could España produce a pair of shoes this nice for the on sale price of fifty bucks?
Yep, they’re made in Spain. That was a bit of a stunner when they came out of the box. They might even have some sort of lightweight stitched welt construction instead of bonding (unless these stitches are a bit of fakery).
Look, they’re not Alden, nor Allen Edmonds, or even the also-Spanish made Magnanni, but they sure do look and feel incredible for occupying territory in the canvas-sneakers price sector. They’re lightweight but not flimsy. The buckle doesn’t feel like it’s going to tear off. And despite not having the thickest soles, they’re plenty comfortable.
The interior is lined with a combination of some sort of textile and what appears to be sheepskin. The pics on the Zara website make it look like they have some sort of traction to the sole. That’s not the case. They’re smooth, synthetic soles, and it just must be the stitching that gives it that weird look on the web.
The suede uppers have a nice, short & soft nap to them, and there’s no silly burnishing. Toe shape is perfect. And while they’re on the trim side when it comes to width, they’re not elongated or anything like that. No half sizes available, but a 10 fit my 10.5 feet just fine.
Recently wore them during a 5 mile, round-trip bike ride down to dinner with some friends, and they were comfortable the whole way. The other shoe option for the night was going to be a pair of canvas sneakers, but these had just showed up that afternoon. They played nicely with some dark linen-blend jeans* and a light blue/aqua polo. Not quite sure they’d look right with shorts, (you could give this a shot) but they’re a nice casual upgrade for jeans and chinos.
Zara does free shipping and free returns, and they even come with a pre-paid, already printed out for you return shipping label. But at this price, that label probably won’t get used very much.
*A warning on these jeans. They’re final sale via GILT, very slim, and have a low rise. But they’ super comfortable, breathe well, and are made in the USA.