I love monk strap shoes so it’s about time I compiled a guide about my top 10 choices.
In this article you will read about 10 great choices for all budgets and all styles.
After all, monk strap shoes are making a comeback and are a sartorial must in your wardrobe!
what are monk strap shoes?
Monk strap shoes are a style of shoe that dates back to the medieval ages.
It is essentially a shoe with a strap that goes over the top of your foot and uses buckles to fasten it.
Based on the number of buckles, the shoes get an appropriate name.
Single and Double Monk Straps have one and two buckles respectively, while more than two go in the “idiotic” category.
It is quite common to see single monk straps with a plain toe, while double monks often have a cap-toe.
Broguing and medallion toes are uncommon in lower price ranges but possible.
In certain cases, you will even see a Norwegian apron with a split-toe or reverse stitch front.
Monk strap shoes became extremely popular about 10-15 years ago and a fashion trend.
This trend slowly waned in popularity for the past 5 years I would say because everyone bought one.
However, now it is making a comeback and I love it as this is a very versatile, smart and good looking style.
I do encourage you to read my in-depth guide on the History of Monk Strap Shoes.
Top 10 Monk strap shoes
A disclaimer before we get on with the list.
There is no such thing as a Best/Top/Ultimate List.
This is a personal favorite and recommendation that should be adjusted by each individual based on style and taste.
However there is one important thing that is consistent and that is quality over quantity.
Additionally, due to seasonal variation and the sheer variety of options out there, it is impossible to cover them all.
Invest (mostly) on Goodyear and Hand-welted shoes and avoid cheap, fast, fashion brands.
In fact I will include a quick list of brands to avoid at the bottom of the article.
Now let’s begin with the categories!
1. Best budget | Meermin
I really don’t like Meermin as a brand but no one can deny it is one of the best entry level welted brands.
Starting at just $195 you can get a shoe with decent leather and construction.
With quite a disruptive business model and aggressive pricing, it is a good way to dip your toes in the shoe market.
There are many options but at this level you will be ok with the basics.
I would personally begin with the dark brown calf Double Monks.
Easy to match, versatile and aesthetically better looking than Allen Edmonds.
If you are on a very specific budget that you cannot stretch, Meermin is the way.
Be aware that their Customer Service is shady, shoes are stiff as cardboard at first.
Also, don’t expect perfection at just $200 shoes made in China.
Avoid Linea Maestro, better burn your money or donate them to me.
2. best classic english style | Crockett & Jones
I always knew Crockett & Jones were good shoes.
However, I really got to appreciate them after I started retailing them at The Noble Shoe.
While many of their designs can be too safe, their black and brown waxy calf is buttery smooth and their famous scotchgrain leather so rich and full of character.
There is no need to go for the Handgrade Line to get a great pair of monk straps.
When I think of a classy, English shoe, it is probably black and Crockett has a version with a really nice city sole.
The 348 last is also quite elegant with a soft square gentle look
I can source this model for $600 upon request so email me!
3. best handmade european value | Vass
Vass Budapest has some of the best values on the market when it comes to handmade shoes.
They certainly impressed me during my Review and offer an extensive collection of RTW and MTO.
At the time of writing their RTW Monks collection is small and less inspiring.
However it is a great chance to grab a pair on museum calf for a unique aesthetic.
The Single Monks are also alright but I found them too generic.
For $470 you get a fully handmade European shoe with excellent quality.
They can be a bit of a hassle to communicate with, but be patient!
4. best handmade asian budget value | YeARN
If you are looking for an actually handmade shoe in the entry level, your options are limited.
You get Meermin’s Linea Maestro which I cannot recommend and possibly a few small workshops from developing countries.
For just $450 you can get one from Yearn Shoemaker that is customizable as an MTO.
In my recent Review, I was impressed by their value but found the clicking could be a little better at some parts.
My choice would be something unique, such as this Norwegian Apron Split-Toe Single Monk Straps.
I think they look fabulous and are a rare model not easily found.
Regardless, you will get a solid shoe and if you are looking at Asia to dip your toes it is a good option.
Check out Yearn Shoemaker here.
5. BEST OVERALL VALUE | yEOSSAL
I won’t lie to you, my most worn pair of shoes over the last year is from Yeossal.
Whenever I need a quick choice of shoe or something comfortable I reach out for my Suede Split-Toe Derbies.
Terrific quality, a perfect fit (for me), endless customization and a pretty good price for what you get.
Made in one of the best workshops in China and based in Singapore, Yeossal should be in your list.
Not only for their shoes, but also their excellent polo shirts, MTO trousers and safari jackets.
Back on topic, my pick would probably be similar to Yearn in a single monk variation.
The Ardmore looks tasty and in a suede or museum patina with a Norwegian construction would be a treat.
All that starting at just $590 as well.
Tip: Be wary their prices on the website are on SGD not USD! So convert!
6. bEST patina | Septieme largeur
When I think of Patina, I think of France.
Berluti, Caulaincourt, Altan Bottier, and of course Septieme Largeur.
My heart belongs to Carlos Santos, but the fact that Septieme Largeur can customize so many colors makes them unique in my book.
Altan Bottier probably has the crazier designs, but the price of Septieme Largeur is hard to beat.
Your option is the Rennan Double Monks which you can customize with any patina of your liking.
Well built shoes with a Goodyear construction and a lovely (but slippery!) sole.
Let alone the lovely owner, who I consider a friend now.
There’s also a half croc version which I find really tempting myself.
Tip: You could also go all the way and get the iconic Triple Monk Boot Tobar.
7. Best entry level | Carlos Santos
Say whatever you want, but my heart beats for Carlos Santos from Portugal.
My first real, mind-blowing pair of shoes that opened up new possibilities and eventually made me decide I want to be a shoemaker.
In fact, it was a Double Monk Strap in Wine Shadow Patina which I still sell to this day!
Made in Portugal with solid construction and excellent patina work for an amazing price.
For just $330 you can grab one from the Patina Service in any color, or choose one of the stock models.
I really recommend the Algarve Mid-Brown version as it is versatile, beautiful and elegant.
The lasts Carlos Santos has punch way above their weight and quite often you will see Awesome Group Made to Orders.
For me, this is one of the benchmarks in the entry level category.
8. best Blake stitched | Aubercy
If price is not an issue and you value the comfort and lightness of Blake Construction you should look at Aubercy.
A historic, small atelier in Paris with wonderful passionate owners (Read my Interview with Xavier Aubercy).
Aubercy has unique designs that you can call many names: elegant, weird, ugly, gorgeous.
There is interestingly a lack of monk straps, but looking at this list I saw one missing.
Why not get a single monk in a charming hazelnut nubuck color?
It looks very good and Aubercy uses the finest Blake construction and materials available.
For $1400 however, they better be.
9. best modern style | Paolo Scafora
Time to crank up to 11 with my favorite shoemaker of all time.
Classy, daring, different and a bold statement straight from Naples, Italy.
Paolo Scafora is currently the only high end luxury shoemaker that I work with at The Noble Shoe for a reason.
The fit is comfortable, the designs endless and modern and you can get Paolo’s trademark Norwegian construction.
I cannot recommend just one but here’s a recent favorite in an underrated color.
The 793 Single Monks with skin stitching and a “look at me!” X stitch at the toe area.
Charcoal silver grey is a really nice color and even has some blue hues here and there.
It is MTO only and you should expect to pay around $1800 for this model.
If you are interested in Paolo Scafora MTO let me know via mail!
10. best chunky style | Norman vilalta
Commando soles are making a statement since 2021 and 2022 is no different.
Few can marry the combination of sharp lasts with a commando sole and Norman Vilalta is one of the few.
Based in Barcelona, the Bespoke shoemaker has a curated collection of RTW and MTO.
Excellent leather, fit and construction with dazzling patinas on both calf and suede.
Not my favorite style, but I can surely appreciate the idea behind the Joseph.
I previously reviewed the Calder Derby and it was a home run.
If your budget is over $1000 I really recommend checking out Norman’s offering.
He really has managed to find his own style in a saturated industry.
Since this is a (personal) Top 10 List, something had to be omitted.
This doesn’t mean they are not good brands, but they are maybe not my favorites or their Monk Straps don’t awe me.
TLB Mallorca has excellent shoes and you should check out their Artista Line.
Carmina has decent shoes, but with declining QC and dodgy customer service I would rather spend my money elsewhere.
Stefano Bemer is a true heavyweight but you need $2400 to get those perfect monks.
Caulaincourt is a French brand with excellent patina and mostly Blake construction.
Unfortunately I haven’t tried them out yet so I cannot give a verdict but they look good.
Fan favorite Antonio Meccariello is also absent, purely because I haven’t seen a monk strap that I really wanted yet.
Gaziano & Girling is the only High End English Brand I would recommend.
Altan Bottier is also another French Brand making crazy stuff but if I don’t try first, I cannot recommend in this list.
Brands to avoid
This would be a colossal list so I will just mention a few to make your life easier:
- Any fashion/designer brand (Prada, Zara, Gucci etc): They are rubbish
- Santoni: Overpriced, too many ranges and you can buy better
- Suitsupply: Overpriced, terribly constructed blake stitched garbage
- Lethato: Avoid if you are a thief, they squeak a lot
- To Boot New York: I accept PayPal donations at [email protected]
- Paul Evans: Not worth half the price
- Allen Edmonds: French fries without salt, overpriced and not even 100% made in the USA
- Undandy: Mostly because you will never even receive your shoes
- Stacy Adams, Cole Haan, Kenneth Cole: I can’t come up with a good pun. They suck
- Church’s: Don’t support companies with disgusting practices and low quality fashion shoes
- Mezlan: Mezlan is like fresh cat poo mixed with the lowest quality crocodile scales you can find in the wild
- Magnanni: Overpriced and not good enough
- Paul Parkman: Spend your money into something better with heritage
- Ace Marks: Anything recommended by sellout YouTubers is an instant red flag
- Taft: You are not 12 anymore
- CNES (Main RTW Line): As flat as a tire
- Anything posted in Dapperly Dressed in a Casual Age Facebook Group
Would you look at that, it still was a large list and I didn’t even scratch the surface.
I also have a rather hilarious guide on brands to avoid which you should totally check out.
This marks the ending of the “Best” Monk Strap Shoes List for 2022.
As I previously mentioned it is just a guidebook and a good start, which you should alter based on your taste.
If you like a specific style just check them out as long as they are not in the “avoid” list.
Personally I really like monk straps, especially the underrated single monks and I hope to expand my wardrobe soon.
Let me know in the comments what you think and which brand you want to check out!
Thank you for reading,