While oxfords are formal and derbys/bluchers a little more casual, monk straps say ‘Hey, I’m smart and I’m cool’.
Mr Style himself, James Bond is a fan, maybe just when not in the casino. Daniel Craig wore black double buckle monk strap boots in Spectre. Before that the suave Sean Connery wore single buckle suede monks in Diamonds For Ever. When escaping the bad guys on a Honda trike no less.
So what are monk shoes? Also called monk straps, they get their name from having a leather strap and buckle rather than traditional laces. They can have one or two straps, hence the terms single buckle and double buckle monks.
Which is the more popular? It can vary a little depending on the person and the season but at the moment we’d go with double monk strap shoes. They just that bit more visually interesting.
Classic monk strap shoes have a cap toe, but this is a matter of personal style and preference. Some have plain toes and some have broguing or punching.
Some people see them them as less formal than other dress shoes such as oxfords. But this gives them some of their charm. They can give the wearer a little ‘edge’ while still being smart and formal. The glint from the buckle catches the eye, even on a black pair. And bolder colours such as oxblood or blue can really add pop to an outfit.
They are more interesting to look at than oxfords and derbys, so add pop or interest to a neutral toned outfit, even more so if they also add a splash of colour eg oxblood. But we’ve seen very stylish guys pair them with some very colourful and punchy suits. Monk straps are strong enough to hold their own with them. And they can look equally good dressed down with jeans for more casual moments.
Some people just love double buckle monk shoes. One is the very stylish Benn Bromley (Instagram @dailytouchofclass), based in Brisbane, Australia. (Photos above and below).
We asked Benn why he likes monk straps so much.
Benn told us “Monks are my favourite style of mens shoes. They offer a sophisticated look that dates back to a time when men used to men”. He believes they represent power and elegance that is unmatched in other styles.
We asked Benn what is his favourite colour? He replied, “The burgundy/oxblood is by far my favourite. I believe they are the most versatile colour. It can be formal but also help an outfit really pop when you want to style it up.”
Thomas Bird have double buckle monks in a range of colours. Classic colours are black, tan/light brown and oxblood. We will continue add other colours over time such as blue, dark brown and suede.
Our monk straps have a cap toe and stitched leather sole with a rubber insert to make them wear better. We use high end full grain calf leather. Each shoe is coloured by hand in Italy to produce a rich, unique patina. They are made with blake construction typically favoured on high end shoes in Italy.
So there you have it. If you want that bit of extra visual interest or pop, or edge to an outfit, try a pair of monk straps. Are monks for you? Or are you already a fan?
Browse Thomas Bird Monk Strap shoes.
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Ever wondered how to wear Oxblood Shoes? We've put together a straight-talking style guide to help you style up your Oxbloods (updated for 2018).
Thomas Bird fits fairly true to size. If in doubt, go half a size smaller. This size guide shows how EU sizes compare to US and UK sizing. Please ask our advice and tell us what you normally wear and we'll be happy to help.