For a long time now, I’ve been skeptical of single monks. Not the kind with a swept back strap, like those on John Lobb’s Vale or Edward Green’s Oundle (I actually think those look kind of rakish), but rather the “garden variety,” where the strap goes horizontally across the tongue. Those always looked to me like something a friar would wear – a literal form of the “monk shoe.”
My prejudice started chipping away two years ago, when I was shopping for shoes at John Lobb and one of the sales associates bent down to fit me. Right underneath the cuff of his trousers flashed the slight glint of a buckle strap. He was wearing a pair of single monks, and I thought they looked pretty good. Sophisticated, even. Then, in the last year, Voxsartoria posted a nice looking ensemble he wore on vacation – a golden brown, checked, lambswool sport coat with a blue shirt, knit tie, grey flannel trousers, and a complementing pair of green suede single monks (I believe from Saint Crispins). And more recently, I started noticing photos of Antonio Liverano and George Cortina in single monk shoes. All of them looked great.