Monk shoes (shoes featuring a strap rather than laces) had a spike in popularity around 2013. Back then Four Pins was in the ascendancy and Milanese sprezzatura felt fresh and surprising. Menswear fanboys spent much of this period trying to ‘wear’ a pair of driving gloves in their blazer pockets in a way that looked unconsidered. Sunglasses, cufflinks, handkerchiefs, even your brolly had to sync with your ‘steez’. And if your shoes laced rather than buckled, well, you just weren’t playing the game.
Enter these YMC monk shoes. I reckon enough time has passed to re-embrace the strap. And besides, these chunky Solovair-built numbers are a world away from the foot-hugging, pike-tipped dandy-boots worn at Pitti Uomo.
Simple and unlikely to cause much of a stir, these shoes will quickly become an indispensable part of your rotation. If you’re anything like me, the promise of rain makes me reconsider wearing a suede shoe — I know they’re more resilient than you think, but suede in the wet just feels like you’re asking for it. These though, with their robust grainy leather outer, are engineered for the vacillating UK climate. Direct from Northampton — they know a bit about shit weather up there.
YMC footwear got noticed again last season with their patchwork Paraboot collaboration. It’s available this season again, and I’m a fan. But arguably, these do a different job. Less party starter, more the sensible dude at the end of the party organising the Uber. Essentials basically; weather resistant, hardy, happy to take a knock and then, after a spit and polish, they’re back in business. Sure the Paraboots will draw the comments, but they’re also £350. These are a sensible £175.
I’ve got a pair of cow hide Paraboots. They’re beautiful. But it’s raining. And they’re in a box under the stairs. You do the maths.