They say that the most noticeable item a man wears can be found on his feet.
Think about it, most men pay attention to the bigger portions of their body such as their upper torso and legs.
However, it is the details that set apart a stylish man from a regular joe.
One of the more popular shoes in menswear today is the double monk strap shoe.
This is for good reason.
The versatility of the double monk strap is second to none.
It can be worn in multiple environments and in various settings. You will look equally sharp wearing them (with the right combination of course) in an important business meeting or a night out with your lady.
I am going to take a deep dive into double monk strap shoes and will give you the scoop on how to wear them, what to look for when buying a pair, along with what to wear them with.
The History of the Double Monk Strap
Although popular today, few people realize how deep of a history the monk strap shoe really has.
We are talking centuries here.
The double monk strap shoe found great popularity in Europe. Specifically, the monks were most notably known to wear these shoes during this era, which resulted in the naming of the shoe.
Monks wore these shoes for the additional level of protection they offered compared to the sandals they normally wore. The durability of these shoes made them the top choice for monks as their signature work shoe.
Originally, The monk strap had a difficult time being placed in either the formal or casual ends of the shoe-wearing spectrum. Considered too casual to be worn with a suit and too formal for many casual environments.
Moving right up to present day, this is the complete opposite. The double monk strap that can be found in menswear stores now are considered highly versatile and the shoe of choice for the stylish man.
The Double Monk Strap Shoe Defined
How do you define the double monk strap?
First off, the most noticeable feature is the lack of lacing. Replacing the laces is a distinct combination of a dual strap and enclosing buckle that secures your feet within.
Giving the shoe a once over in more detail, the Double Monk strap resembles a Derby style shoe based on the upper quarters overlapping the tongue of the shoe. The main different between the two is of course, the Derby has laces and the Double Monk Strap does not.
Color plays a key role into what you wear and how well it will look on you. The double monk strap comes in a variety of colors that really heighten its appearance.
Coupled with the material of the shoe (which will be outlined below) you can create a look that can stand the test of time:
- Brown – A versatile color that ranges from light to dark shades. The great thing about brown is that you can wear it in pretty much any environment if you take black tie settings out of the picture.
- Oxblood / Burgundy – Rising in popularity, this shade pairs extremely well with a navy blue suit. The oxblood and Burgundy colors also look great with a pair of blue jeans
- Black – Not as popular as they once were, black is great in formal and semi formal occasions. I would recommend including a black pair of double monk straps to your collection if you do not already own them.
There really are only two types of material I would recommend for the double monk strap shoes and they are the following:
Leather – Ultimately my top choice for the double monk strap. Stick with leather made in traditional European countries such as Italy, the UK or France.
If the leather is made of high quality, your shoes will get better with age with proper care.
There is nothing quite like a pair of shoes showing those subtle lines of age as the years go by.
Suede – My second recommendation to consider purchasing is the suede double monk straps shoes.
Although still considered leather, primarily made from the underlying skin of lamb, they should be listed under a different category.
One thing to watch out for with suede shoes is their durability. Suede shoes shoe blemishes and absorb liquid very easily. Keep this in mind if you live in a climate that is prone to harsh conditions.
How Do I Wear the Double Monk Strap?
Like I have already mentioned, you can pretty much wear the double monk strap shoe in any environment.
The first piece to cover is if you should wear the double monk straps with socks or no socks.
Both can be acceptable depending on the environment:
Socks: Wear socks if you are going to be in a more formal setting, especially if you work in the corporate world, meeting with clients or attending a gala event. Stick with black socks if wearing black monk straps and charcoal or grey when wearing brown and oxblood.
No Socks: Beside the black version, wearing no socks works well with the double monk strapped shoes in casual environments. The only thing you have to ensure is you have a slight break at the end of your pants.
When walking this will give a slight hint of your sockless sell and will not look out of line when you are sitting.
Double Monks With A Suit?
The double monk strap can work well in the most popular formal attire, the man’s suit.
This assumes you're wearing a more formal style of double monks, and that the occasion isn't an interview or extremely formal event.
When it comes to the black suit, only consider leather black double monk straps as any other color will not mesh well and suede will take away from the formality of black
For charcoal and grey, a brown shade is ideal. Leather is still the acceptable form of material to be worn but suede is an acceptable alternative.
Finally the navy blue suit works well with brown, burgundy and oxblood colors. Pair these with a matching watch strap and belt and you are on your way to looking sharp
As far as the finish is concerned, look for something that is shiny to help your shoes stand out.
Business Casual & Double Monks
Remember when I mentioned how the double monk straps of yesteryear had a hard time of fitting in to formal or casual settings?
Well, make no mistake that these shoes were in both instances and right in the middle, which is business casual.
Here are my favorite combinations:
- Classic chinos and a navy blue cardigan over a white dress shirt. Once you throw on a pair of brown double strap monks, you will be the best dressed in the office. This combination goes well with or without a tie. If the weather starts to heat up, lose the cardigan and the tie and you have an entirely new look while maintaining a great look.
- Put a grey V-neck sweater over a white dress shirt and a pair of blue dress pants and you have a great match for your burgundy double monk strap shoes. You can up the formality of this look by including a tie
- Light blue dress shirt and navy blue dress pants with no tie as an extra sharp look with a pair of double monk straps.
Feel like going out with some friends and not in the mood to completely dress up, yet still want to stand out from the crowd? Wearing some double monk straps along with these casual combinations will make this a reality for you:
- A white V-neck t-shirt, blazer and blue jeans combination work well with a pair of brown suede double monk straps. I advice having the blazer tailored to fit your unique body type to make this look the most impactful. If you are really in the casual mood, lose the blazer and just wear the classic white t-shirt / blue jeans combo
- Leather jacket – This casual staple for menswear jacks pair really well with double monk straps. Specifically, a black leather jacket and black double monk strap shoes work really well together. A great option if you want to wear black yet not seem formal.
The key for all combinations is coordination and ensuring the color matches with your hair and skin tone. If you can nail this then the options are endless.
Overall, the double monk strap is a beautiful shoe that's an easy style upgrade for men and one of my personal favorites. It is my go to piece when I am pondering what to wear on short notice.
If you haven’t already, I would highly advise you include a few pairs for yourself. Trust me, you will be glad you did!