The Shoe Snob Blog

July 14, 2010

Written by , Posted in News

Monk Straps

Why don’t you ever see anyone wear monk strap shoes? I really can’t figure it out. You hardly ever see them for sale at stores and even more rarely see them being worn. I feel like they are going into extinction. But why?? Are you afraid to wear them? Do you like them? In my encounters with them and bringing them out to customers on the sales floor I feel like they are the leper of shoes, the thing that everyone wants to stay away from! It makes no sense to me, because in my mind they are such a bad-ass shoe!

Shoes At Very Top (Orange): Sutor Mantellassi
Clockwise From Top Left: Anthony Delos; Dimitri Bottier: Edward Green; Bontoni

What kills me about me writing this though is that I currently don’t own one and I am feeling like such a big hypocrite writing these things. I used to own one but during my last two years of hiatus, I had to get rid of many things that weren’t absolutely necessary. I recycled them, however, to my friend to keep the style living and set out on a quest to get one as soon as possible. What was great though, was that the same friend whom I gave them to also gave me something: a monk strap upper just waiting for me to turn it into a shoe. That being, the next pair of shoes that I make for myself will be a beige suede monk strap (only a tad darker than the one above by Dimitri) with a button and necessary hole as the fastener. Might be hard to imagine but you can bet that as soon as I go back to Europe (ETA Sept.) and make that shoe, I will post pictures immediately!!!


All Shoes Above By: John Lobb

Two companies seem to be keeping them alive though: John Lobb and Stefano Bemer. As you can tell by the pictures above and below, both companies have very unique and different styles yet it is clearly obvious that John Lobb’s specialty is the double monk strap while Stefano Bemer’s is the single monk strap. Not to say that both companies don’t make beautiful shoes in the contrary design but it seems as their preferences lie clearly in the photos as well as in their websites. It’s good to see that shoemakers are still making them even when it doesn’t seem that many people are wearing them. Yet, while I think about it, maybe it is just boring-ass Americans who don’t wear them because I now remember seeing them relatively often on the feet of men in Italy. Can’t say that I see too many of them in England but I would not be surprised if they were more prevalent in France. Nevertheless they are still dwindling in sitings and it needs to turn around.


All Shoes Above By: Stefano Bemer

I hear so many men talk about how monk straps aren’t dressy enough for work and this and that, but I think that it is all a load of bullshit and they either really don’t like them, don’t know how to wear them or are just plain pansies who are afraid to change from their norm! Whatever the case, its crap!! Monk straps are dressy enough to wear with the finest of suits and look great in work attire. In my opinion, a very nice monk strap is one of the most elegant shoes available second only to a beautiful wholecut oxford. People, get your shit together, as I will when I make my pair, and get yourself a nice beautiful monk strap shoe!!!!


Left Shoe: Koji Suzuki
Right Shoe: Santoni

  • I love monkstraps, they are really looking beautiful, no matter the context you were them in…Love your shoe pictures, if only i cant afford even one pair…sad, but still loving them.

  • I just got a pair of AE monkstraps the lubbock shoe. They look awesome with business dress and/or a pair of jeans. I highly recommend having a pair in your collection

  • Anonymous – Thanks for sharing. Yes I have my pair of light suede ones, but I do indeed need a more classic, leather pair, that's for sure!-Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

  • M

    I’m a big fan of the Monk Straps, in fact the first pair of ‘Grown
    up’ shoes that I purchased were Monk Straps and they’ve been an everlasting
    staple for work and play.

    The Think the problem with them is that that the high
    fashion houses tend to make then too Narrow or overly fashionable which strip
    away from their real value as hard working no nonsense all-purpose shoes.

    Many of the manufacturers offering this at a lower price
    point so £140 or less, had a tendency to make them a little too ‘chunky’, the
    finish was massively compromised. The few remaining options such as the Church’s,
    John Lobb’s & Crocket Jones being
    just perfect were much too expensive.

    The other reason I feel that monk straps have been in
    decline is the sudden resurgence of brogues, in particular, the novelty of
    wearing Brown Brogues on a dress down Friday, which in my opinion is a huge Faux Pas, as it was Lord Hardy Amies himself
    that was ‘amused’ by a journalist wearing ‘Brown in town’ if this isn’t
    accurate, then why are the best brown shoe’s typically made of weekend leisure?
    Furthermore, in past decade we have seen many of the Fashion houses celebrating
    Anniversary’s and a return to ‘old ways’, Gucci has been particularly prolific
    in this area making a big push to promote the iconic horse bit loafers, with
    all sorts of colours, skins and variation. Whilst I love the loafers, especially
    the classics, high fashion has allowed for the dilution of the old classics.

    As far a fashion goes, we must remember, the Monk Strap was
    the preferred shoe of James Bond right through the Pierce Bronson part of the
    franchise. SO we know this is a must have fashion and work staple. Now ask
    yourself this, would you expect to see any fashion Icon Don some of the more ostentatious
    options on Day wear? Or would they reserve it for Monte Carlo, Las Vegas,
    Cannes etc.

    I myself have the Alfred Sargent’s one’s in Suede, Barker’s
    in Chesnutt Brown and I recently acquired a pair of Church’s in Black. I bought
    a wonderful pair of Prada’s in Black a few years ago, and while they look
    wonderful, they barely lasted 3 years and required twice as much maintenance as
    the harder wearing English version.

    • TheShoeSnob

      Thanks for sharing M!