I want you to do me a favour.
The next time you are out, I want you to pay special attention to the type of shoes most men are wearing. Specifically, the type of dress shoes they are wearing.
My eyes! They burn!
All kidding aside, the clunky dress shoe syndrome is an all too common ailment that I see many men suffering from today.
That’s why in this article I want to introduce you to a type of dress shoe that will not only help you solve this problem but also score you some major style points along the way.
Why type of dress shoe has this extraordinary power you ask?
Monk straps are a type of laceless shoe that are fastened near the ankle with buckles or straps.
As the name suggests, monk strap shoes were initially worn by monks in Europe. Apparently these shoes were much more functional than the sandals that they wore at the time. Who knew?
Today, monk strap shoes are an indispensable item in any stylish man’s wardrobe. While neither a loafer nor a lace up, monk strap shoes are in a category unto their own. In terms of formality, they fit in between your traditional closed laced shoes such as Oxfords or Balmorals and your less formal open laced shoes such as Derbys or Blutchers.
How will monk strap shoes win you major style points?
Simple, because hardly anyone ever wears them.
Case in point: I work in a male dominated environment in which business casual attire is the norm, yet I have only ever seen one guy wear a pair of monk strap shoes to work.
It’s no different anywhere else.
I see plenty of men during the day wearing suits and ties but I’d be lucky to find even one man out of a hundred who was wearing a pair of monk straps.
Gentlemen, you can capitalize on this style opportunity!
What’s the best way to wear a pair of monk strap shoes?
Leather monk straps look best when paired with either wool trousers (e.g. a suit) or dark denim jeans, but tend not to work as well when paired with things like chinos or cords. I find that the shoes are just a little too formal for these casual garments.
Bonus tip: leather monk strap shoes paired with dark denim jeans are a fantastic way to knock it out of the park on a “casual Friday” at the office.
However, if you are dead set on wearing a pair of monk strap shoes with your chinos and cords, then I highly recommend you look into a suede variety. These are less formal than the leather versions of the shoes and will work much better with things like chinos, cords, and lighter washes of denim.
Double or single monk strap?
Some guys will argue that double monk straps have a little “too much” going on, while single monk straps look a lot more “elegant” and “refined.”
I think both varieties look fantastic.
My recommendation would be as follows:
If you decide to go with the double monk strap and are excessively worried about having “too much” going on, then look for something in a plain toe (i.e. no broguing).
If you decide to go with a single monk strap, then broguing is a nice detail that can certainly set them apart, but by no means is it a requirement. They look just as good in a plain toe.
In terms of colour, I say stick with something in the brown family (dark brown, cognac, walnut etc.).
Why not black monk strap shoes?
Not that there is anything wrong with black monk strap shoes, it’s just that black is a very much overplayed colour by most men.
If you’ve already got a quality pair of black leather Oxfords or Balmorals, then there is little need to add a pair of black leather monk straps to the mix. Seriously, don’t be afraid to branch out.
What companies or brands make the best monk strap shoes?
I’m still a huge fan of Allen Edmonds. They make quality shoes at a reasonable price and it’s really hard to go wrong with them.
In fact, Dappered put together a pretty good roundup of some of the best monk strap shoes out there earlier this year.
Monk straps shoes are a rare sight to see on most men these days, which is a damn shame considering how great they are. Once again, it all boils down to men simply not wanting to take any risks with their wardrobe.
If you’ve been reading this site regularly then you know better by now. Stylish men stand out (in a good way) and a quality pair of monk straps will help you do just that.
So the next time you’re in the market for a pair of quality leather dress shoes, don’t forget about the monk strap.
Here’s to looking sharp!