Arguably a contemporary update on the original single monkstrap shoe, the double monk essentially consists of a second strap and buckle. Although an excellent style of footwear, understanding the double monkstrap and knowing the best occasions for it will help you wear it with ease.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Double Monkstrap shoes including:
- Best Double Monkstrap Shoes
- What Is A Double Monkstrap Shoe?
- History Of The Double Monkstrap Shoe
- How To Wear Double Monkstrap Shoes
Scroll down to read it all or use the links above to jump ahead!
Quick Buyer’s Guide
Just want a pair of quality double monkstraps? Check out the Quick Buy guide below where you can easily head straight to the retailers. Otherwise, scroll down to read more about the style, how to wear it and more on our favourite shoes.
Other Dress Shoe Guides
Related Shoe Styles
- Colors: Black, Tan, Bordeaux, Brown
- Material: Argentinian Full Grain Calfskin
- Pricing: $200 [Buy From Beckett Simonon]
Beckett Simonon produces fantastic value for money by handmaking Blake stitch shoes from Argentinian calfskin leather in their ethical Colombian workshop. Furthermore, you can benefit from an additional 20% discount if you use the code BU20 during checkout!
Read More: Beckett Simonon Hoyt Review
- Color: Midnight, Onyx, Honey, Maple, Slate
- Material: Italian Full-Grain Calfskin
- Pricing: $365 [Buy From Wolf & Shepherd]
Although we were somewhat sceptical at first, we were quickly won over by the sheer comfort offered by Wolf & Shepherd. With features including a memory foam footbed, a high-density EVA heel and a PhoenixTECH outsole, they’re outstanding when on your feet all day.
When we first laid eyes on the these olive double monks by Paul Parkman, we’d be lying if we didn’t spend a good few minutes gushing. We love the high throat and low buckles that create a streamlined form. Made by hand, the calfskin is given a hand-painted finish, which accents the leather’s grain.
A great choice by Calvin Klein. Available in smooth or pebbled black calfskin leather, we were impressed by the designer brand’s approach at the Double Monk.
Considering that they’re made from calfskin leather with a Goodyear welt, these Robert Talbott double monks offer great value for money. We love the details that include a cap toe with a perforated medallion.
Pleasantly affordable at less than $100, Florsheim has produced a stylish double monk with a cap toe. In black, these would be great for business professional and formal settings. Otherwise, opt for brown to wear them somewhat more casually!
What Is A Double Monk Strap Shoe?
The double monkstrap is easy to define: it’s a shoe that has two buckles instead of laces. More formal than a blucher but less formal than a balmoral, it’s an under-utilized wardrobe workhorse.
For the staid among us, it’s too showy and uncommon. For the streetwear enthusiast, it’s too dressy and not loud enough.
For those willing to give it a try, though, this shoe occupies a sweet spot in our wardrobes. Its stylishness is a function of its rich history and mild eccentricity. Few shoe styles are so rakish, yet still office-appropriate.
The double monk’s versatility is formidable, as it’s available in a wide range of colors and materials. They can be found in leather, suede, and exotic skins in a myriad of colors. They’re available in ankle boot versions. You can find buckles in various shapes and metals. Plenty of makers produce new versions every year, and you can go the custom route if your budget permits.
The world is your oyster in a double monk.
History Of The Double Monkstrap
The first monkstrap shoes were worn in -you guessed it- monasteries. Back in 15th century Europe, monks would wear shoes with buckles on them. This was to offer their feet more protection from the outside world than their sandals would. Legend has it that an Englishman saw the style while abroad and took home a pair. They became the talk of the town, so to speak, and thus the monkstrap style was born.
The double monk was created later as an aesthetic update.
How Do You Wear Double Monks?
Double monks are much more versatile than we give them credit for. Typically you can wear them with anything from jeans to a dark suit, but times are changing and footwear makers are getting creative. There are double monk sneakers that are casual enough even for shorts, and there are black patent leather versions that are formal enough for a tuxedo.
To Buckle Or Not To Buckle?
There was a period about six or seven years ago when the double monk came roaring back into style, and men were wearing them with one buckle undone, typically the top one. While it’s up to the individual wearer to decide if this is sprezzatura or just an affected attempt at such, we advise that you only do this with your more casual trousers, like dark denim.
Most monkstrap buckles are square or rectangular, but they’re theoretically available in more shapes like hexagons and octagons as well. More often than not, you’ll have to have a pair custom made to get this detail.
Formality, Or “Can I Wear Double Monks With Jeans?”
Double monkstraps occupy a formality level in between that of an oxford and a loafer. Using the logic that less ornamentation lends formality, you can make the argument that it’s slightly less formal than a single monkstrap due to the additional hardware.
So, what can you wear them with?
- Sneaker: Shorts, jeans in any wash
- Light-colored suede (beige, tan, and tobacco): Jeans, chinos, tweed trousers or cords
- Black or dark brown leather: Dark, slim jeans, navy and charcoal suits
- Black patent leather: Tuxedos in black or midnight blue
Traditionally, double monkstraps have been too informal for dinner clothes and too formal for shorts and light wash jeans. Only in recent years have makers started expanding their offerings to cover more sartorial ground. Frye, for example, makes a cool double monk sneaker you could wear with shorts and no-show socks.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is a healthy debate to be had about whether or not a black patent double monkstrap is, in fact, appropriate for a tuxedo. Can it really take the place of a patent leather balmoral or opera pump? Suitsupply seems to think so.
As with anything, we recommend that you keep time and place in mind when making this decision. If you’re attending a state dinner with the Prime Minister, we’d go traditional. If you’re a guest at a formal wedding and want to have some fun, we see no issue in bending the rules in a tasteful way.
The beauty of the double monk is that it can be worn all year round. Just be sure to keep color and material in mind.
- Winter: Dark brown or black leather or suede, possibly with lug soles and nickel hardware.
- Spring: Medium-to-light brown suede or leather with brass hardware.
- Summer: Light brown leather or suede, perhaps even beige.
- Autumn: Tobacco brown or burgundy leather or suede.
As with all things seasonal, lines get blurred when you live in a temperate climate like the Northeastern United States. Use your best judgement during the change of seasons. It’s ok to wear a tan leather double monk on a 60-degree October day, and it’s fine to wear a chocolate brown leather one on a 55-degree day in April.
Final Thoughts On The Double Monk
It’s important for a guy to have a well-rounded shoe collection, and the double monkstrap has a rightful place in any such collection.
Should you start a collection with double monks? No. We advise that you cover your basics first: get a good pair of oxfords, bluchers, and loafers to start. Without these, you’ll be building a house without a solid foundation, and houses without foundations fall down easily.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fourth or fifth pair of shoes to grow your wardrobe, the double monk is a great way to do it with style.
Should You Own Monkstrap Shoes?
In a word, yes.
For most men building a dress or dress casual shoe wardrobe, a monk strap shoe can be third in line to buy, right behind an oxford and a derby. Whether or not you go with a dressy version or a more casual one is a decision to be based on the things you wear on an average day. If you’re a jeans guy, try a lighter color with some broguing details. If you’re a suits guy, pick up a darker color with a simple cap toe seam.
Either way, this is definitely a shoe that a man of style should own.
Now that you have learned about double monk strap shoes, check out some our related footwear guides for men:
- Oxford Shoe Style Guide
- Single Monkstrap Shoe Guide
- Best Dress Shoes For Men
- Most Comfortable Shoes For Men
- Men’s Shoes Homepage
"Great guide, thanks. Was looking at buying some double monk straps and wanted a little more information on the style before investing."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★