For those that live and die by trends, and who thus abandon a trend as soon as it goes mainstream, monk straps have jumped the Menswear Shark. For those of us that adopt something when it works, and keep on using it until it doesn’t work anymore, Monk Straps are still very much in their prime.
We live in a time where many of us feel most comfortable in the middle of a Men’s Style Venn diagram, with formal on one side, and casual on the other. We dress down slightly when dressed up, and dress up slightly when dressed down. (Got that?) And Monk Straps are the perfect shoe for that sharp/casual relaxed/business-wear no man’s land. They dress down a suit, but dress up jeans. They’re comfortable, but still eye-catching. Different, without getting weird. Here are ten of the best looking pairs of monk straps (but still attainable price-wise for most) on the market right now…
Cole Haan Air Madison Single Monk – $130.94 ($248)
Leans more casual, but still looks pretty smart with a medium grey suit (maybe a glenn plaid?) or trousers & a blazer. Traditional but not clunky toe shape. Down to $130 on Amazon and ships fast with Prime. Like a more affordable version of the Allen Edmonds Norwich.
Mercanti Fiorentini Double Monk Medallion – $149.95
Lots of style-bang for not many bucks. The solo medallion at the toe is a super-sleek option that you’d think more designers would use. A slight chisel toe, but not square by any stretch. From the made in Italy, glued yet still durable, Mercanti Fiorentini brand. Be patient and these’ll go for less during the next DSW tiered code sale.
Gilt’s Wall + Water Plain Toe Suede Monk – $159.00
From a “Gilt Exclusive” brand. Made in Italy. Awfully rich looking, but know that since it’s Gilt, returns are for credit only. Also available in navy.
Jack Erwin “Jake” in Brown Suede – $195.00
Mentioned in yesterday’s monthly Most Wanted, but still belongs on this list. Full review of Jack Erwin shoes over here. Haven’t seen these suedes in person yet, but the single monks in particular might look outstanding with all manner of summer suits.
Allen Edmonds Franciscan Single Monks in Merlot – $345
WAIT. Don’t cringe just yet. These gotta come down in price. And here’s why. As already stated, there’s a push back on Monk straps right now. Plus, these are built on the slightly chisel toe 333 last. That’s the same last the double monk Neumora was built on, and that model was kicked to the curb in favor of the more rounded toe Mora 2.0. In the deep reddish brown merlot, these are almost perfect for our dressed up casual / dressed down business times. Wear them with grey or navy, and you’ll stand out quietly. Bottom line is: When these dip to the mid to low $200s (which is where some, not all, draw the line at “reasonable”), a few of us will be screaming: “TAKE MY MONEY.” Update: And like that, the Merlot seems to have disappeared off the Allen Edmonds site. Going to keep an eye out for these to reappear. Black & Walnut, as pictured at the top of the post, are currently available.
Florsehim “Classico” Double Monk Strap – $152.00 w/ LNKNEW14 ($190)
The less-fortunate man’s Mora 2.0, with what appears to be a slight chisel toe (so, really the less fortunate man’s Neumora?). From their upgraded Imperial line. Still going to be “imported”, but made with higher quality leathers compared to the entry level shoes. Speaking of…
Florsheim Castellano Double Monk – $100 w/ LNKNEW14 ($125)
From their starter line. Half-brouge perfs on this one. Also available in black. A little stumpy at the toe. Like the “Classico” above, use the code LNKNEW14 for 20% off new arrivals on Florsheim’s site through 3/2.
John W. Nordstrom Giordano Single Monk – $175.00
The buckle, at least online, looks a little chunky. But the perforated cap-toe is a nice addition. Made in Italy for Nordstrom, so quality is going to be there. May or may not be glued. A little splashy/angular looking for some.
Meermin Goodyear Welted Double Monks – low to mid $200s
All depends on what the Euro is trading for against the dollar, plus what kind of international purchase charges your credit card might tack on. The VAT that Europeans pay is taken off your final price, but international shipping sorta makes up for that in the end. Not as simple as buying something off Amazon since we’re talking International Returns. More on Meermin over here and here.
Magnanni Double Monk in Black Suede – $195.30 ($279)
Despite suede being matte in nature, and black being the only color option, these are pretty flashy in terms of personality. In a small way, these are getting close to velvet-tux slipper territory. They’re an evening shoe, but still easy to dress down. Try them with dark denim, a black corduroy or grey wool blazer (like that J. Crew Club blazer that was on uber-sale recently) and a simple dress watch. Made in Spain.
BONUS: The Current Standard: Allen Edmonds Mora 2.0 – $365
Perfectly rounded toe with a simple cap. Goodyear welted. Made in the USA. Available in black, their timeless brown burnished, or a warmer but still not that showy Bourbon. Might be worth seeing if there are some 2nds quality available during the now underway Shoebank sale. Looks like the 2nds quality were going for $269? Sizes might be scattered or non existent if they moved fast. More on how these sales work over here.
Additions are more than welcome in the comments Or, have you abandoned Monk Straps already? Did you never get on board? Are you a long time fan? Leave it all in the comments. Obligatory thanks to reader diversification for his patience with this post.