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Types of Monk Shoes: Buckles and Styles Explained

Ah, the monk shoe, a formal men’s dress shoe that has risen in popularity in the last few years. They are characterized by their closed lacing (instead of the more common oxford’s open lacing) and signature buckle strap across the shoe.

Today we’ll be looking at the subtle differences between the different types of monk shoes available.

Let’s dig in.

Related: Different Types of Men’s Dress Shoes Explained

Number of Buckles

monk shoe straps

The most common type of monk shoe has a single buckle strap across the vamp of the shoe. Two straps are also fairly common, and three is less so but still seen occasionally.

The single buckle provides a more streamlined look, while the multiple buckles can add a bit more visual interest and detail to the shoe.

Welt Construction

shoe construction

The welt of the shoe is the section that joins the upper of the shoe to the sole. Monk shoes may be made with a Goodyear welt (the highest quality), blake stitch (less common), or cemented (the least expensive and lower quality).

Goodyear and blake stitch construction will allow the shoe to be resoled multiple times, whereas a cemented construction is not as durable and can only be resoled once (if at all).

If you are looking for a long-term investment in a pair of monk shoes, choose a pair with Goodyear or blake stitch construction.

Outsole & Grip

Monk Shoes - Soles

The outsole of the shoe is the bottom part that comes into contact with the ground. The most common outsole is made from leather, although you can also find monk shoes with rubber outsoles (usually only on lower-priced shoes) or a combination of leather and rubber.

Leather outsoles are more dressy and will last longer, but they are also slippery on wet surfaces. If you live in a rainy climate or plan on wearing your monk shoes in the winter, you may want to consider a pair with rubber outsoles for better traction.

Heel Height

Most monk shoes have a flat heel and a modest height. However, you can also find monk shoes with a slight heel. This can give shorter men a little extra height and dress up the look of the shoe a bit.

When to Wear Monk Shoes

Monk shoes are versatile shoes that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. They are commonly worn with suits and dress pants but can also be dressed down with jeans or chinos – making them a preferred pick by men who want a shoe they can wear for casual and formal occasions.

However, if you are attending a black-tie event or wearing a tux, you may want to consider a more formal style rather than a monk shoe. We like to recommend that men stick to a classic oxford or derby shoe.

Monk Shoe Brands

Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy brands that make monk shoes:

BrandHeadquartersYear Founded
Ace MarksDoral, FL, United States2012
Allen EdmondsPort Washington, WI, United States1922
BallySchönenwerd, Switzerland1851
Beckett SimononMiami, FL, United States2012
Christian LouboutinParis, France1991
Church’sLondon, England1873
Cole HaanGreenland, NH, United States1928
ECCOBredebro, Denmark1963
Johnston & MurphyNewark, NJ, United States1850
MagnanniNew Albany, OH, United States1954
Stacy Adams Shoe CompanyGlendale, WI, United States1875
Thursday Boot Co.New York City, NY, United States2014
Wolf & ShepherdJacksonville Beach, FL, United States2014

How Much Should You Pay for Monk Shoes?

Monk shoes can range in price from $100 to $1000+. The cost will depend on the shoe’s material, construction, and brand.

  • If you are looking for a lower-priced monk shoe, you may consider a pair made with cheaper materials such as synthetic or genuine leather. However, you should only expect these to last a year before they need to be replaced. You can also find good deals on monk shoes from lesser-known brands. You can usually find affordable monk shoes at stores such as ASOS.
  • If you are looking for a high-quality, long-lasting pair of monk shoes, you will want to look for a pair made with premium materials such as Italian leather and Goodyear welt construction. You can also find handcrafted monk shoes from artisan shoemakers, although these will come at a higher price. Consider either buying directly from the brand (listed in the table above) or at retailers such as Nordstrom.

John Wellman

John Wellman is one of the most experienced and respected fashion experts specializing in men's clothing. He has worked in the fashion industry for over fifteen years, during which time he has provided an expert eye and advice to numerous fashion clients.

John has developed a keen understanding of the nuances of men's style and the importance of selecting the right pieces for a particular look. He has been praised by peers and clients alike for his ability to create classy yet edgy looks that stay true to the personality of the client.

John has a passion for men's style and believes in the importance of dressing with confidence and flair. He looks forward to continuing to make an impact in the fashion world and to helping men look and feel their best.

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