Double monk straps mean business. They’re decidedly more assertive than single monks—as if one buckle wasn’t nearly enough security.
Wingtips look awfully cute in comparison.
The dual buckle design has a military quality, as if the shoe is latched to your foot for combat. Aesthetically, the wide strap gives an especially clean line to the shoe; it’s nice to be freed from laces as well.
In black, they’re entirely appropriate for a formal business setting, but remain a statement; an outlier. The Italians make them, but I think the English make them better, with ideal proportions and angles.
Despite their formality, they play nice with denim and prove surprisingly versatile.
There’s a fine line between trendy and classic when selecting a pair. Choose wisely.
The English Cut
Brooks Brothers took over Peal in the 50’s to bring quality English shoemaking to American customers and to grab some design control in footwear. They’ve tweaked several styles over the years to match seasonal trends, but preserve a few stalwarts or “greatest hits” that don’t fluctuate over time.
Their double monk straps are a classic shape competing primarily with Crockett & Jones. The straps are spread widely, with a flattering angle. The nickel hardware is heavy and solid; which is of capital importance for the main stress point on the shoe.
The cap toe is tone-on-tone double stitched for an understated, yet reinforced look. This is the only embellishment I’ll allow on a pair of monk straps. There’s a split back with tab stitch, it’s a very formal take on the double monk.
The soles are substantial without wearing clunky. The leather bottom will need a good scuff before it safely bites the pavement.
An English keyhole heel completes the package.
An Utterly Secure Fit
I’m a true 9.5 but went with a 9 in Peal; a half size up had too much slippage to accept for the calf construction that would undoubtedly relax over time.
The toe box is sleek without being narrow. It’s a nice rounded profile that’s comfortable to wear.
Like a belt, adjustable buckles accommodate a variety of foot sizes. There is hidden elastic webbing the keep a flex and bounce when walking; it’s a major comfort boost.
On the downside, the heel was a bit unforgiving on my foot until the sole started to break in. I have sad memories of blisters during my first week.
The City and the Monk
I’ve logged two years on the shoes, with subway to street abuse, with matching salt contact in the winter. I have only recently sent out for a resole.
The foot bed has broken in comfortably to almost second-skin status, we can thank Goodyear welting for that.
I reliably tree my shoes, so the creasing has been minimal. I’ve noticed the calf has held up better than the lower Church’s and Grenson models.
For moisture, I apply a monthly lick of black cream shine from Saphir. Finished with a brush, the cap toe still shines with depth and texture. That’s it.
Brooks Brothers runs sales on the Peal & Co. line occasionally. That has become the only time to make this purchase. The price has been steadily climbing on their bench made footwear.
Currently at $698 full price, you may opt for a more luxury maker, like Lobb or Crockett & Jones, which arrive hand burnished, feature higher end details, and may come with a glass of scotch.