For the finale of the 1999 film The World is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond wears brown leather single monk strap shoes with his tan linen suit, blue shirt and (gasp!) black belt. The picture below from the torture scene (strategically edited to avoid the crotch shot) and the second image from The Suits of James Bond give us the best look at the shoes.
The general consensus is the shoes used in the film were the Church Westbury 173s. If they were the Westburys in Walnut, then they are still available at Macsamillion for £306.12 (about $440.00); they still have a decent run of sizes left in stock if you are in the mood to make an investment. There are also still some odd sizes left at Herring Shoes, priced at £400.00/$604.00.
Some may feel that monk straps are a difficult style to pull off. But the truth is they can be incredibly versatile and and are definitely on trend right now (especially double monks). They can be dressed up with a more formal suit (as Brosnan’s Bond does earlier in the film with the black Church Presleys or as demonstrated below by Dappered Threads forum member thecharlesg (thanks for sharing!)), paired with a sport coat/blazer and dress pants, or dressed down with some jeans or chinos.
Okay, so these aren’t necessarily looks that 007 would wear, but at least you get the idea that monk straps can be used in a variety of different situations and not only with a tan linen suit.
Features wanted for the James Bond brown monk strap shoes
- Mid-brown full grain leather
- Single strap with gold, full frame buckle
- Buckle strap is separate from the shoe’s quarter
- More rounded toe shape
- Leather sole with black outsole
It’s not the cheapest alternative, but Herring Shoes’ Cardiff Monk Shoe in Brown Polished ($150.00/£125.00) has the same strap style and full frame gold buckle as the Church Westburys. The shoe is from Herring’s lower end imported line (made in Asia?) and the high shine polish isn’t screen accurate, but it’s still Goodyear welted which means it can be re-soled.
If you prefer to spend more and step up in quality, then you could try Herring’s Bromley Monk Shoe in Mahogany Calf for $259.00/£215.00. Made in England and combines the strap style and buckle from the Cardiff with a more muted full grain leather so it’s a more screen accurate look.
When we start looking at the other alternatives, the main difference to Bond’s monk straps is the extended quarter that wraps around the top of the vamp. But we can still get most of the other details of the original Church Westburys (color, single strap, and full frame buckle) if you look past the change in the strap styling.
If you’re just looking for a pair of budget beaters, then U.S. Polo Association Taylor Single Monk Strap at Amazon U.S. for $49.99 should do the trick. Synthetic leather upper with some brogue detailing, but they capture most of the look of the originals. If the lighter brown outsole bothers you, you can try Fiebing’s Edge Dressing ($8.95) to make them black.
Hush Puppies? Yep, Hush Puppies. Their Gaston Style Dress Oxfords in Tan are available at Amazon U.S. for $115.00 to $145.01, depending on your size. Looks like they could be Blake stitched? They can also be purchased from a 3rd party U.S. based seller on Amazon UK for £145.00. You can try the Fiebing’s trick again if you want the black outsoles.
Neiman Marcus’s Last Call has the Kenneth Cole 1 Way Ticket Monk Straps in Cognac on sale for $119.20 (regularly $149.00) with a decent selection of sizes left. This one has more of a chisel toe (it is Kenneth Cole after all) and looks almost identical to their “Golden Ticket” model available at Amazon U.S. for $124.36 to $160.00 or Nordstrom for $160.00.
At Jos. A. Bank, the Joseph Abboud Dixon Monk Straps in Tan are on sale for $123.75 (regularly $165.00) with a full size selection left in stock. The tan color is a little lighter than the originals, but a few passes with a darker brown polish should help with that.
A buck twenty more will get you the Florsheim Pascal Plain Toe Monk Strap in Tan, priced at $124.95 at Shoebuy. First, this one does not use the full frame buckle, opting for a keeper strap instead; it’s also a little lighter in color than the original and has some stitch detailing around the edge of the quarter. But the toe box looks to be more rounded than the Kenneth Coles or Joseph Abbouds, making it closer to the originals.
Although they have more of a chisel toe and lack the full frame buckle, I’m including the Poste Dano Single Monks simply because I couldn’t find many good, affordable options for folks in the UK. Made in Italy and you can get them for £99.99 at Office.
For a more screen accurate look, a better option from Kenneth Cole would be Travel-Er Single Monk Strap Oxford in Cognac, available at Amazon U.S. for $144.75 to $195.00 (sizes 9 and 10 are priced at $144.75, so the more common sizes aren’t getting shafted this time).
Over at Nordstrom you can pick up Sandro Mosocoloni ‘Easton’ Leather Monk Strap Shoe in Tan for $145.00. Not much to say about this one other than you may want to darken the leather a little.
More Expensive Options
You could easily spend up to $700.00/£500.00 on a similar shoe from Crockett and Jones, Paul Stewart or Peal & Co., but with the higher quality and near screen accurate Herring Bromleys priced at $259.00/£215.00 and the original Church Westburys available for £306.12, it’s hard to recommend looking elsewhere. Unless the last is absolutely the wrong fit for your foot, I’d have to say these ones are your best choice if you want to spend more. The exception (if you leave in the U.S. and don’t want to deal with international shipping) would be the Allen Edmonds Warwicks in Walnut, available for $395.00 on their site or on Amazon U.S for the same price.
Allen Edmonds in general get a LOT of love on men’s style forums; the pics below are from Dappered Threads forum member Armed Ferret, who has very kindly shared some of his different casual looks with his Warwicks. Thanks!
So, what great alternatives did I miss? Share your favorites in the comments!