Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! Today’s video is all about Monk strap shoes.
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We discuss the single monk strap as well asthe double monk strap, boots, we talk about history, how to wear them, what to do, whatnot to do, and anything else you need to know.
First, let’s start with the history.
Supposedly, in the 15th century, a monk inthe alps modified a pair of sandals which is why the monk got its name.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find records fromthe time and the kind of earliest evidence we have as a brand came in 1901.
That being said, if you want to learn moreabout the monk strap shoe history, please check out our detailed guide here.
Traditionally, the monk strap shoe had a singlebuckle and that’s what the shoe looked like for years.
Over time, men wanted to create a differentstyle so they added a second buckle.
Sometimes, you can even see shoes with threebuckles, maybe more.
In my experience, everything that has morethan 2 buckles is very trendy.
You want to stay with a classic look, go witha single or a double monk.
No matter if you have a single monk or a doublemonk, the construction is very similar.
You have an upper vamp as well as a bucklestrap and then the heel.
In this case, the shoe has some broguing, wingtip but that’s entirely optional.
The same is true for the double monk shoe, the only difference can be that the buckles in the straps can be in different positions, either here or there, the spacing between the buckles can be different and the anglesand the style can be different.
Personally, I think the spacing of about 2inches is ideal because if it’s too narrow, it looks odd.
If the buckles are too parallel, it looksunadvantageous too.
Simply get a more dynamic look with strapsthat are not aligned or parallel.
Most monk strap shoes have a little part ofan elastic, right behind here because it’s a very inflexible shoe and you still haveto get in and out of it.
Naturally, not all feet are alike and thereforeyou can find certain holes in the strap to adjust it to your foot.
For a single monk strap, that’s basicallythe only adjustment you can make and therefore it’s more difficult to fit them right.
Because you have 2 adjustable straps on adouble monk, it’s a theory easier to get the fit right though in practice, it doesn’t makethat much of a difference.
It’s just important that you try on the shoeand make sure it’s as close as possible, otherwise, it will be an uncomfortable shoe that youdon’t end up wearing.
In terms of buckle designs, you find all kindsof shapes.
Thicker square ones, rectangular, round, halfround, octagonal, hexagonal, you name it and it will probably exist.
Off the rack, these buckles are usually madeof brass and then either plated with chrome or palladium or with a natural patina whichis actually quite attractive.
If you go bespoke, sometimes they’ll alsouse sterling silver or even solid gold which makes the shoe more expensive but it’s usuallya collaboration with a goldsmith and it allows you to get a very unique buckle design.
Ideally, you want to match the metal colorof your monk strap buckle to your tie bar, your cuff links, or your rings although, it’snot always possible and you shouldn’t stress out about it.
In terms of material, of course, classic, plain calf leather is the number one choice.
It’s easy to take care of, even get a nicepatina and it’s quite robust.
In terms of colors, I would suggest you startwith something with a dark brown range or maybe something reddish like burgundy becauseit’s versatile and you can wear it with so many outfits.
Once you’ve mastered dark brown and reddishbrown, you can think about other colors such as tan.
On top of that, a dark brown suede monk strapcan be very good for a casual and business casual wardrobe.
Personally, I don’t have one because I havemany other suede shoes but if I wouldn’t have them, I would probably invest in a dark brownsuede monk strap.
A black monk strap shoe is only recommendedif you wear greys and charcoals, otherwise, I really suggest you stick with brown or burgundy.
Of course, once you’ve got these colors covered, you can play a little more and get a spectator monk strap either with linen or with leather, you can even use tweed, basically, the possibilities are endless.
Another somewhat popular monk strap shoesis exotic leather such as alligator and lizard.
If you go that route, ake sure you get a mattealligator leather or lizard because it looks much more sophisticated and the shiny finishlooks rather cheap and it’s definitely something you want to avoid.
Apart from the classic monk strap design witha single buckle, there’s a style that evolved in the last couple of years where the strapspint towards the heel, for the lack of a better word, they call it the cutaway monk strap.
It’s an entirely different look once you wearit and I think it works better with slightly shorter pants so you end up seeing the buckleand it’s basically a matter of personal choice.
Of course in the shoe world, you always wantto be classic yet different and so someone had the idea to do a double cutaway monk strapand it can look quite elegant although it’s a shoe that you can buy once you have allthe basics covered.
Apart from shoes, you can also invest in monkstrap boots which can actually look quite elegant especially with one buckle.
Becaue it’s a boot, the strap is slightlyhigher but you can also add a second or sometimes a third strap and unlike with the shoe, itlooks quite good.
At the end of the day, I would suggest youbuy those only if you already have a chelsea boot, johdphur boot, and maybe a balmoralboot because it’s slightly more advanced.
So how do you wear a monk strap shoe? Basically, it’s a slightly less formal shoethan an oxford or a derby, that makes it very versatile in today’s day and age.
It pairs well with casual outfits, businesscasual outfits, blazers, sport coats, especially combinations.
I also like to wear it with tweed and apartfrom that, it always gives you a unique look because there are way more oxfords and laceupshoes out there than there are monk straps.
You should always stay clear of monk strapshoes for formal events, when you wear a three piece suit, black tie or white tie, funeralsor stroller suit.
it’s simply not suited for the type of garment.
Even moreso than with regular shoes, it’sextremely important to use a shoe horn to put on monk straps.
Why? A monk strap is cut higher on the foot andthere is no real opening unlike with a lace up shoe and so ideally, you should unbuckleyour monk strap, get in with the shoe horn and close it.
So with the double monk strap shoe that canbe quite time consuming so if you’re in a hurry, use a shoe horn and pull so you getinto the shoe easily without damaging it.
If it’s your first monk strap shoe, go withsometing in dark brown, burgundy, or chestnut brown.
Saty clear of black unless you wear a lotof grey and charcoal suits.
Buy shoes before boots and start with calfleather and then move to suede.
If you want to be particularly non-chalant, you can actually leave one buckle unbuckled when you wear it and it gives you that sprezzaturaand flair that you usually see at Pitti Uomo.
Because the monk strap is more casual in itsnature, it’s a perfect shoe to pair with unusual socks, either striped, dotted, or patternedand in different colors.
Also make sure not to wear it with formalattire and always use a shoe horn when you put them on.
If you’re in need of s shoe horn, head overto our shop where we have like a 25 inch, 15 inch and travel size version so you canhave a shoe horn with you wherever you are.
If you enjoyed this video, please subscribeto our channel and for more details, nice pictures on how to combine monk straps andinspiration, please head over to our full fledged guide here.