B.R. Italian Leather Single Monk Straps – $126 w/ BRSAVE ($168)
These are basically budget Allen Edmonds Franciscans, with a slightly different buckle placement. Sure you give up a bunch of quality points, but boy are they lookers. And initial impressions are that with reasonable care, they should hold up over time. Banana Republic can be hit or miss with their shoes, but these certainly appear to be a hit.
The case was recently made for single monk straps being superior to double monks, and the BR “Wyatt”*** hits all the advantages of a single monk. The flash from the metal buckles is minimal. They’re sleek enough for wearing with a suit, while they’ll also do great with some dark wash jeans and a sportcoat (especially as they get a bit beat up over time).
Suit worthy for sure.
Even though that buckle is small and has an antiqued finish, these shoes still have some “flash” thanks to the broguing. Lots of perforations on them, and a nicely done medallion sits over each toe.
Construction feels solid. No flimsy-ness to the sole, and they’re comfortable on the first wear. Banana Republic does make a point to describe the leather as “Italian” leather, but don’t take that to mean it’ll be some luxury full grain calfskin. It’s not awful, but it’s about what you’d expect at the mid to low $100s. Think DSW’s Mercanti Fiorentini brand. Feels like similar stuff.
Lots of brogue details. The higher positioned, smaller buckle keeps them sleek.
Available in the Burgundy shown here, a lighter brown “chestnut”, or black (where they smartly swapped out the gold-tone buckle for silver). A 10.5 fits like a 10.5 D, and again, there’s no real break-in time out of the box. That’s one of the (few) advantages to leather that leans towards the thinner side, and not so thick and stiff.
On BR’s website the toes look to be a slight chisel, but that’s just the lighting. They’re great. Sleek through the toe box without being cramped, and they come to a nice, rounded off, non-chisel apex.
Great shape on these. Not overly elongated and the toe is a nice rounded point.
List price is $168, but they’ve already gone on sale a few times thanks to codes. Currently just 25% off (most wait for 30% or 40%), but thankfully they aren’t carrying the blasted “BR Picks” distinction. That label might get slapped on em’ in the future, and would then exclude these from almost all promos.
They’re impressive. They look like they cost quite a bit more than most will be able to get them for, and they should make for a great entry-level monk strap for the beginner. Or, if you’re the type that prefers (or has to wear) more conservative shoes during the work week, and wants something a bit more risky for your time off? These can pull that duty without costing an arm and a leg to get your feet in them.
*** Interesting name choice for an Italian leather single monk… ever meet an Italian man named Wyatt? Or a Monk, of any nationality, with that first name? Not a lot of “Brother Wyatts” out there.