The Product Review: Banana Republic Ryan Monk Strap Shoe

This pair of shoes is about as on-trend as it gets at the moment.
Going in-person with a recent purchase.

In men’s style right now, there’s perhaps no shoe more on-trend (and yet more ubiquitous) than the double monk strap. The trend has been building for quite some time, and it now seems these shoes are just about everywhere, especially on well-dressed guys across New York City. And rather surprisingly, it’s one men’s style trend that doesn’t seem to be disappearing — but with good reason. The great thing about a monk strap shoe is that, particularly in the summer, they’re the perfect combination of sleek, sharp looks and casual ease, especially in suede. The elongated profile and unique style (no laces, just buckles) of the monk strap makes them eye-catching enough to wear with dress trousers, and perfectly acceptable to pair with jeans. And as far as casual material goes, suede certainly hits the sweet spot in warm weather. Although more expensive pairs are on the market, it’s tough to go wrong with the Ryan Monk Strap from Banana Republic.

Banana Republic's Ryan Monk Strap in brown suede.
Banana Republic’s Ryan Monk Strap in brown suede.

For about one-fifth of the J. Crew pair as linked to above, you get a sharp, sleek shoe in suede (say that five times fast) that’ll work equally well with chinos or jeans. If you snag them on sale, the price could even dip below $100. The profile hits the sweet spot, as you can see in the photos — nice and elongated, but not a chisel toe by any means. The suede itself is a nice, warm tan color, and it works nicely compared to the sole (which doesn’t have the pop of color that these Nordstrom suede monks have). Although that lack of a standout colored sole gives it less of a ‘summertime’ vibe, it makes this pair all the more versatile.

The relatively sleek profile of this pair makes them easy to dress up or down.
The relatively sleek profile of this pair makes them easy to dress up or down.

Personally, the shoes have been quite comfortable even when going sockless. They wear well, and make it relatively easy to walk longer distances. They haven’t looked out of place underneath some slim Levi’s jeans, and they look just as sharp with a pair of navy chinos. The suede also lends itself to experimentation — if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could give them a spin with a pair of colored shorts and a polo shirt, for example. A captoe on the Ryan monk strap visually breaks up the shoe and gives it some more contrast, always a nice touch. The sole looks to be glued as opposed to welted, but there’s cream-colored contrast stitching  (for looks only) running along the sole.

The biggest key to getting the most out of these shoes is caring for them the right way. Since they’re suede, that’ll mean spraying them with a good suede protector, while also using a suede brush and eraser kit. A couple of extra minutes after wearing them for a while, and you’ll have yourself a pair of shoes that can stand up to just about anything. An early review of this shoe certainly comes out positive — given the relative quality behind the Banana Republic name, it’s tough to say no to dipping your toes into this trend at the right price.

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