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Origins of... The Monk Shoe

Origins of... The Monk Shoe

Double Monk and Single Monk shoes are the most recent of the ‘iconic’ style genres to have been conceived. Monk shoes as we know them today, originated in the early 20th century from bespoke hand makers, who designed the patterns for their more flamboyant of customers. Not to dissimilar to that found in our ‘Elite’ catalogue from 1924, an age when Crockett & Jones employed over 1000 staff in Northampton.

Crockett & Jones - Lowndes

"It is said that Monk shoes bridge the gap between formal - The Oxford – and post-war casual - The Derby. Although a visit to Pitti UOMO in Florence, will confuse any budding aficionado on the do’s and don’ts of a strict footwear regime!"

Bespoke shoe making is a fine art that in essence is only obtainable to the minority. The terms ‘ready-to-wear’ and ‘bench grade’ can be easily misconstrued as derogatory terms in our easily reported culture, but if witnessed and appreciated first hand, shoes that are 100% made by Crockett & Jones in Northampton, England are nothing short of a marvellous blend of skill and craftsmanship.

Crockett & Jones - Seymour 3

This is quite fitting given that it was the Crockett & Jones factory in Northampton who helped develop some of the very first ‘ready-to-wear’ Monk shoes that are still appreciated today. Since then, almost every manufacturer of fine footwear has some adaptation of a monk shoe in their collection. Remarkable.

The History of the Monk Shoe

The ‘ready-to-wear’ Monk shoe that is. A relationship with Crockett & Jones was developed in the early 1980s, after a Parisian retailer sought a Northampton footwear manufacturer (C&J) who were able to produce beautiful footwear whilst balancing quality and affordability, something that Crockett & Jones were gaining worldwide recognition for at the time. By taking some of the more complicated patterns that had been developed by the Parisian hand maker, Crockett & Jones were able to turn them into a ready-to-wear line by producing patterns that were more suited to a Goodyear-welted construction.

As orders and interest increased year on year, a humbling relationship flourished over a decade or so, and although the direct partnership is no longer in existence, the great success story was how the humble Monk shoe became a ready-to-wear sensation…

The Articles. Delve into the authentic world of Crockett & Jones.

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