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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

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.

Common Questions

Are monk shoes formal?

Monk shoes can be worn for both semi-formal and casual occasions. However, if you are attending a black-tie event or wearing a tuxedo, you may want to consider a more traditional shoe style such as an oxford or derby.

Do monk shoes have laces?

Most monk shoes have closed lacing, which means they do not have laces. Instead, they have a strap that goes across the vamp of the shoe. However, you can also find monk shoes with an open lacing system (similar to oxfords) which do have laces.

Do you wear socks with monk shoes?

You can wear dress socks with monk shoes. However, if you want a sockless look, consider wearing no-show socks. These invisible socks will help absorb sweat and prevent your feet from slipping inside your shoes. No-show socks will also help prevent your feet from developing blisters or smelly.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a breakdown of the different types of monk shoes available.

If you are looking for some stylish recommendations, check out our roundup of the best monk shoes for men.

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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