Why maybe, just maybe, Single Monks > Double Monks
Look, you’re either good with Monk Straps, or hate ’em. But here’s why they seem to work:
We live in a time when 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. Monk Straps are the perfect shoe for that sharp-casual, laid-back-business-wear no man’s land. They’re not stuffy, but still eye catching. And single monk straps seem to accomplish this better than a double monk.
With one less buckle there’s 50% less flash. They’re more subtle. And while they’re still easy to dress down, all that uninterrupted leather between the toe and the hem of your pants is reminiscent of a true oxford. So suits? Yes indeed. They work great with a full suit and tie, tieless, with chinos, and often with jeans. Nifty, huh? So, if you’ve made it this far without barfing up your Cream of Wheat on your Park Avenues, then buckle up (HAAHAAHAH!) and proceed.
Cole Haan Cambridge in Java Grain – $115 – $180 ($258)
From one of Cole Haan’s higher quality lines. Still not Allen Edmonds quality, but better than many of their other offerings. Grain leather on this one with a bit of broguing. Stitched sole. Gold/Brass tone buckle might not float everyone’s boat. Maybe wait for the next select-shoes extra 20% off code so these drop into the mid $100s? Made in India.
Gordon Rush “Bryant” – $100ish – $188
Prices are depending on size & color. Bunch of different places to get these. Full price at Nordstrom, sometimes on sale at Bloomingdale’s, and all over the place in terms of price at Amazon. Full price is probably asking too much for a Gordon Rush shoe. But the shape is perfect, the buckle is subtle, and they’re versatile. Also available in black.
Allen Edmonds Franciscan – $385 (mid $200s for factory 2nds)
Was just $199 during the Shoebank Tent Sale, and under $200 might be tough to find again for a good long while. But if you like the visuals that broguing can bring, then the Franciscan was made for you. The perforated cap toe / medallion are pretty darn spectacular, while the curved edges to the subtle buckle deliver on the elegance factor. Slight chisel toe, so not for everyone, and built on the somewhat rare 333 last. Shown above in the currently unavailable Merlot, but they do have the more true-red, “dark chili” in stock. Also available in walnut or black.
Wall + Water Made in Italy Single Monk – $149.00
Wall + Water is a Gilt House Brand. Nobody else carries this brand, and therefor, you’re subject to Gilt’s (awful) return policy if you want to get a pair of these things. Anything under $199.99 is returnable for Gilt credit ONLY. So that makes anything under that price an enormous risk. But rarely it can pay off. Big time. Made in Italy. Limited sizes at post time, but it seems like every season or so they do another run of Wall + Water footwear. If you’re a Gilt member, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for this brand.
Allen Edmonds Warwick – $385 (mid $200s for factory 2nds)
Man. Just… I mean, come on. Less is often times more, and these prove it. Currently made in Black, Oxblood, or the knock-your-socks-off walnut burnished calf as shown above. Goodyear welted of course, but they’re still slim and aerodynamic. Full review here.
Sak’s Fifth Avenue BLACK Brown Suede Monks – $49.98
Well those are… inexpensive. From the in-house diffusion brand “BLACK” (kinda like Macy’s Alfani RED, where not everything is red… or black). Awfully similar to Florsheim’s old “Asset” monk from a few years back. Should do quite well in the cooler months, but why not wear em’ now with a mid to light grey suit and a light blue shirt?
DSW Aston Grey “Chatsworth” Single Monk – $99.95
DSW’s Aston Grey house brand does it again. Their suede single monks from last year were phenomenal, and these new, almost burgundy-leaning leather monks hold a bunch of potential for the late summer, fall, and winter. Perfect toe shape. Gonna look great with jeans and/or chinos. And while the buckle is “antiqued” a bit more than maybe some would prefer, it’s certainly not as distracting as some chromed-up shiny thing. Leather is super soft, but seems to wrinkle easily up where the flaps meet the smooth vamp. But that’s not unexpected for a hundred bucks.
Herring Made in the U.K. “Hilton” Monk – $254
Made in Britain, Goodyear welt, there’s that dynamite medallion at the toe, and the mid $200s price point is spot on for plenty. But there’s a catch. They ship from across the jolly ol’ pond, and you’re on the hook for international shipping in terms of returns. Dealing with customs and international shipping is a deal breaker for many. But Herring shoes are somethin’ else. Full review of another one of their models can be found here. Don’t forget that these are made in UK Sizes, so consider sizing down a half to a full size.
Charles Tyrwhitt Goodyear Welted Wingtip Monks – $199
A wingtip single monk could be a little “much” for some, but being that it’s a single monk with a higher placed buckle, it can actually translate quite well up against all manners of grey or navy trousers. Along with their shirts, CT shoes offer good value for the money, and often go on sale.
The “hope it makes a comeback” – Jack Erwin Jake – $195.00
Jack Erwin tends to be pretty cyclical with their more fashion-forward models. They come, they go, they… might come back. You never know. if memory serves, their “Jake” single monk was offered in a couple shades of calfskin, as well as the fantastic brown suede seen above. Blake constructed so they were nice and slim through the sole. Made in Spain. (Or Portugal?) Here’s to hoping they show back up in the fall.
Note: Do not confuse the endorsement of single monks as a knock against double monks, or, traditional laced shoes or slip-on loafers. If you can’t stand em’? Understood.