Timeless is a term that’s often thrown around by fashion pundits, but when it comes to men’s footwear, one of the most enduring dress shoe styles to this day is still the monk strap. It’s an odd name for a shoe, but there’s a very good reason for the religious tie-in.
Monk Strap History
During the 15th century in Europe, the life of a monk was relegated to worship and manual labour. Part of their daily ritual revolved around traversing the hills of Europe in order to reap, sow, plough, and bind crops for their villages.
This was conducted arduously from sunrise to sunset and in order to carry out these tasks efficiently, the monks had to wear double strap sandals. In the hills, however, they required footwear with a bit more protection that wouldn’t slow down their work; therefore, a closed version of the sandal was devised as a practical and robust shoe that covered the foot.
Since then, monk straps have entered the fashion realm and are more of a formal dress-code statement shoe than a manual labour shoe.
How To Wear Monk Straps
The beauty of the modern monk strap shoe is its ability to be worn both casually and formally. Make no mistake though, if you’re rocking monk straps, you will be noticed – for the right reasons.
Monk Straps With A Suit
The most stylish pairing for monk straps is a nicely tailored suit. Obviously, there are some colour rules to follow but they are pretty flexible these days. Like other dress shoes, black and brown monk straps are still the most versatile colours that can be matched with various suit colours and styles.
Monk Straps With Jeans
Keep the jeans fitted or slim and you have a winning look that straddles the fine line between formal, stylish, and smart casual.
Monk Straps With Chinos
For a purely fashionable statement, monk straps and chinos are the way to go. This combo is especially popular with the smart casual crowd and can often be seen at parties or race days.
Monk Straps With Shorts
One of the harder looks to pull off is the monk strap and shorts combo. It follows the same principle as suiting, and the only rule is no baggy shorts and no exposed socks.
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If you’re after a pair of monk straps to add to your wardrobe (which you should be, as they’re extremely stylish and versatile), we’ve rounded up the brands selling the absolute best monk strap shoes for men.
Price: From $300
Scarosso is an online Italian brand producing premium handcrafted shoes that are actually made in Italy. The beauty of Scarosso is they’ve cut the middleman out of the shoe-making process, meaning they can then sell their shoes at post-luxury prices.
Scarosso have a huge range of monk straps in both dressy and casual styles in a variety of colours and fabrics, including luxury leather and suede.
Price: From $476
Founded in 1866, Grenson has been continuously making durable and high-quality shoes. All of Grenson’s shoes are ‘Goodyear Welted’, a shoemaking technique, meaning the shoes are very strong and will last for a very long time.
Grenson’s range of monk straps are contemporary and versatile; they’ll easily pair with casual and smart-casual looks.
Price: From $210
Material: Calf leather
Founded in 1892, American brand Florsheim has been producing fine-quality footwear for quite some time. Renowned for being at the forefront of new trends whilst simultaneously staying true to their classic styling and quality workmanship, you’re guaranteed an excellent shoe when purchasing from Florsheim.
Florsheim’s monk strap shoes are available in black and brown leather varieties that are elegant and stylish.
Johnston & Murphy
Price: From $165
Material: Full-grain leather
Founded in 1850, Johnston & Murphy first specialised in crafting quality and highly durable work shoes but in 1880, took the craftsmanship and durability of their work shoes and built them into a line of higher-fashion footwear, which quickly became popular around the world.
Their range of monk strap shoes are on the dressier side and will elevate whatever outfit you pair them with.
Price: From $395
Material: Premium European calfskin leather
Founded in 1922, Allen Edmonds is a premium men’s footwear and accessories brand. Since their inception, Allen Edmonds have been creating timeless, stylish, and comfortable men’s dress shoes and casual shoes using only premium leathers.
With a large selection of monk straps, that are all extremely elegant, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Price: From $235
Material: Calf leather
A family-owned company, Magnanni has been producing luxury shoes in elegant styles since 1954. Their range of monk straps are crafted from premium leather and feature cushioned footbeds for support and comfort.
Price: From $275
Material: Full-grain leather
Founded in 2014, TAFT is a men’s footwear brand specialising in unique, bold shoe designs. TAFT shoes are produced in Spain and Portugal with premium textiles ranging from suiting wool, to woven upholstery fabric, to Charles F. Stead leather. Meticulous in their work, intentional in their designs, and obsessive over what makes the cut, TAFT has become well-known for their extremely well-made unique men’s shoes.
TAFT has a fantastic range of stylish monk shoes in premium leathers and suedes. Available in various colours and styles, TAFT’s monk straps have a unique look that’ll definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
Price: From $350
Material: Full-grain calfskin leather
Beckett Simonon, founded in 2011, believes in the power of well-made products which make you look and feel your best; products you can wear year after year, and repair rather than replace. Which is why they produce stylish high quality shoes, available for unrivaled prices and made with responsible manufacturing processes.
They have a fantastic range of monkstraps that are all crafted with premium full grain leather, and come in multiple styles and colours.
Price: From $324
Material: Italian leather
Founded in 2012, Ace Marks believes that men shouldn’t have to spend obscene amounts for a handcrafted world-class shoe. Using modern technology, to cut out middlemen and their markups, Ace Marks can directly deliver cleverly contemporary, utterly luxurious, and comfortable shoes (which rival those of the top luxury brands) all at an attainable price.
With a huge range of monk straps, available in multiple stylish colours, you’re sure to not only feel comfortable but also make a lavish powerful statement when rocking a pair of Ace Marks monk strap shoes.