Within the last few years, the most popular new shoe style among style aficionados in the US and elsewhere has been the double monk. In fact, it has gotten so popular
that a regular monk strap shoe is now almost more exclusive than a double monk! Lately, I even saw triple monk shoes, though that seems to be just as superfluous and marketing-driven as 12 fold ties or razors with 5 blades. On the other hand, the double monk is progressive in its design, yet far more classic. One of the first to popularize the style a few years ago was Lino Ieluzzi from Al Bazar, and now it might be the most worn shoe at Pitti Uomo. While hardly any double monks sell for under $300, I was surprised to see that the German brand shoepassion was offering a pair in dark brown for 209 EUR incl. tax ( US$ 230 without tax). Once I contacted them, they offered to send me a pair for review, which I happily accepted.
Who is Shoepassion ?
Shoepassion is a men’s shoe label and store from Berlin that was founded by Tim Keding and Henry Bökemeier. Apart from their shop, they also sell their Spanish made, Goodyear-welted shoes online. Focusing on the mid-price range of high quality shoes, they offer two lines: the Classic Shoe Line, which is made of calf leather in traditional lasts and styles. The more flamboyant Extravagant Collection offers materials such as sting ray and gold leather. They also offer loafers and boots.
The Classic Shoes Collection
When I chose a test model, I settled on style No. 591 from the classic
collection as I was convinced that this classically-oriented line would be the most appealing to you. The No 591 model is their only double monk shoe, and it is only available in a single width in the color dark brown. The choices were obviously limited, but the shoe looked elegant, had a nice patina and was goodyear-welted, so I was curious as to how it would compare to the other shoes we have tested thus far.
The Shoepassion Last
The last is classic with a round toebox, a rather wide heel and a regularly sized shaft. Since I was warned that the sizing runs a little large, I ordered them in a size 10. Shoepassion provides a sizing chart for download that helps you to determine your size once printed, and I found it to be accurate. The toe box does certainly not have any kind of chisel, but it is rather flat and handsome. It is not the most elegant last I have ever seen, but it is a truly classic last shape, and as such you can easily wear it to many occasions.
Like other shoes we have tested, this last has one issue. When the heel is flat on the ground, the sole does not touch the floor. Ideally, it should touch the ground around the front arch of the foot. Properly balanced lasts improve the comfort of walking, limits wrinkling and reduces creases on the upper leather. I have never seen a pair of bespoke shoes with this issue.
The Leather & Workmanship
Initially, the leather had a stiffer feeling than the Scarosso shoes, similar to the Franz Baron oxfords. After a short break-in period, they seems to be just fine. The dark, chocolate brown color has a nice vintage patina and depth, which I really like. The uppers are sanded and then embossed with a calf skin look but at this price point, you will not find anything else because uncorrected leather are considerably more expensive. The all-leather lining and the sole are just as good as the more expensive shoes from other reviews. The uppers are stitched with two rows, and while they are straight for the most part, there are some areas with irregularities. Overall, the workmanship seems to be good.
Surprisingly for a shoe in this price category, the Shoepassion double monk shoe features a Goodyear-welted construction! Usually this construction method is reserved for more expensive shoes. Whether it is ultimately superior to the Blake Rapid Stitching could be the subject of long discussion. However, it is objectively more expensive to produce, and hence Shoepassion deserves some respect for their quality choice. Of course, the sole stitching is not channeled, but this is something you will usually only find in hand grade shoes that are twice to three times as expensive.
The double monk buckles seem to be made of a nickel coated metal alloy, which are then attached to the shoe with elastic straps. While that helps with putting the shoe on and off, elastic is more prone to breakage over the years. The buckle straps have 3 and 4 holes so you should have no problem fitting the shoe to your ankle.
Overall, the shoe is well made but has its weaknesses. For the money, it is a great value in my opinion. That aside, if you’re on a budget, it is probably the best deal you can get on a double monk shoe out there. So, if you are in the market for a double monk strap shoe, you’d be remiss in not giving the Shoepassion No. 591 a try.
You can find this model and all other pairs at www.shoepassion.com . Apparently, they are going to launch new models and a double monk in black shortly, so stay tuned.