Interested in learning more about the Beckett Simonon Hoyt or Cole Haan double monk strap shoe?
Great, you’re in the right place.
Ah, the double monk strap, a shoe that needs no introduction. Monkstrap shoes are like a grown man’s velcro sneakers.
While it takes a little bit of confidence to rock ‘dub monks,’ one thing’s for certain that it’s a shoe any man of style will have in his closet.
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First let’s go over company history.
Cole Haan History
Cole Haan was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1928, one year before the stock market crash of 1929 (start of the Great Depression in America). The fact that they made it through those troubled times shows the strength of this brand.
The name Cole Haan comes from its founders, Trafton Cole and Eddie Haan. They had a focus on footwear for their first 54 years in business. Then in 1982 Cole Haan launched a retail division offering accessories like belts, handbags, gloves, scarves, hats and sunglasses in addition to shoes.
Fast forward to 1988, another major change happened. The sports giant, Nike acquires Cole Haan for a cool $80 million. It wasn’t till a decade later in 1998 that Nike decided to reposition the brand by introducing new footwear items with modern styling.
They made it a point to emphasize the high quality craftsmanship that the company was founded upon, referring to it as “Modern Artisan”. With Nike at the helm, Cole Haan had a focus on comfort and style.
As of May 31, 2012, Nike no longer owned the company, selling it to private equity firm Apax Partners headed by Jack Boys, the former head of Converse. Nevertheless, Nike’s influence is still seen through Cole Haan’s sneaker designs and lightweight ZeroGrand technology.
Today, Cole Haan is beginning to focus more on sustainability and classic, yet modern designs. They are currently headquartered in NYC and Greenland, New Hampshire.
Where Are Cole Haan Shoes Made?
According to Cole Haan’s website, their products and materials are manufactured in the world’s finest factories using the highest level of artisan craftsmanship in the United States, Italy, Brazil, Vietnam, China and India. The pair in this review is made in India.
- Founded: 1928 in Chicago, Illinois
- Based In: New York City and Greenland, New Hampshire
- Factories In: US, Italy, Brazil, Vietnam, China and India
- Website: www.colehaan.com
Beckett Simonon History
Beckett Simonon, an online e-commerce retailer hasn’t been around for nearly as long as Cole Haan, coming on the men’s shoe/sneaker scene 84 years later. They launched in late 2012 under a made-to-order (MTO), direct-to-consumer model which means is that they hold no inventory and only make what the customers buy.
It’s a smart move that many new, startup companies have adopted. This allows for them to avoid overhead of carrying inventory to provide premium shoes while passing savings along to you the customer. They’re also able to make and fulfill batches of shoes that are carefully inspected for quality control.
Where Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Made?
They manufacture directly from their own factories in Europe and South America and so there’s no outsourced manufacturing which can lead to added costs. The pair in this review was made in Bogotá, Columbia.
There is a downside to the MTO business model which is the lengthy wait period of 3 months during which the pre-ordered shoes are crafted. That’s a lengthy period, but from the looks of things, many men are willing to wait for it.
Furthermore, Beckett Simonon has an in-house design team that creates unique styles every month which is why their collections often change throughout the year as campaigns refresh.
- Founded: 2012 in Bogotá, Colombia
- Based In: Bogotá, Colombia
- Factories In: Colombia and Portugal
- Website: www.beckettsimonon.com
Before we get started with this double monkstrap duel, let’s answer the question, what are monkstrap shoes?
What Are Monk Strap Shoes?
Monk strap shoes are distinguished by either single straps, double straps and even triple straps that enclose the shoe. A monkstrap is technically a loafer because there’s no laces so you simply slide them on.
Did you know? The name comes from an era in Europe when monks used to wear shoes with a buckle as an alternative to sandals.
Based on sartorial status, the double monkstrap stands above all the other types of dress shoes. It’s an ultra stylish shoe that looks exceptional with everything from a three piece suit to a sport coat and dark wash jeans.
And now it’s time — let the duel commence! Starting with style and design.
Style & Design
Cole Haan Madison Style & Design
The Cole Haan Madison has two functional buckles and features a cap toe along the front of the shoe. Its buckles have a matte-like, brushed bronze finish which looks better than a plasticky buckle.
The leather is a British Tan colorway that’s like a light brown, almost orange shade. British Tan is a classic shoe color also known as walnut or cognac. Although, slightly more casual than darker shades like chocolate or burgundy, it’s still versatile in its own right.
The outsole is a bit thicker than Beckett Simonon’s Hoyt, and the heel is not chunky — it’s about an inch in height including the rubber heel cover.
You can dress this pair up with a jacket and odd trousers combination and just as easily dress it down with dark blue jeans and an oxford cloth button down.
I purchased this pair almost 5 years ago and the Cole Haan Madison hasn’t been in stock for a while, but they do carry a similar double monkstrap model called the Warner Grand Monk.
Beckett Simonon Hoyt Style & Design
Just like the Cole Haan Madison, the BS Hoyt features a double strap enclosure and a cap toe detail along the toe box. There’s also a visible toe puff that’s more prominent than the Madisons. Both pairs are about the same width.
The buckles appear to be a dark silver, shiny plastic, but upon closer inspection they are matte finished similar to the Cole Haans. I’d say they look a little cheaper due to the shine.
For the colorway, the Beckett Simonon Hoyt is a burgundy-esque color called Bordeaux. It’s much darker than British Tan, almost a dark brown with a tint of purple.
It’s the more versatile option of the two monk straps and a more elegant choice especially when paired with a custom suit. And you can still dress up your favorite pair of jeans with these shoes because the soles are nice and slim.
Even without being polished, the Hoyt’s leather has a visible shine that the Madison’s corrected grain leather doesn’t have. I personally like the rich luster and subtle burnishing.
Just like the Madison, these monkstraps are pretty low cut just like other dress shoes like the Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue or Strand. Aesthetically they boast a similar silhouette as the Dean Oxford or Durant Brogues. Be warned, if you wear them without socks, your ankles will be visible which can be a contentious area in the world of menswear!
Style & Design Winner: Cole Haan (slightly)
When it comes to style & design, the shoes are incredibly similar and so I want to call it a draw, however there’s something to be said about the on feet experience. And when I wear the Cole Haans, they just feel and appear a little more sleek and stylish, (probably due to the colorway and contrast stitching) though your opinion may differ from mine.
Now that we’ve declared a style & design winner, let’s jump into quality & craftsmanship.
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this double monkstrap duel featuring Cole Haan vs Beckett Simonon then you’ll probably like this brogue battle between Beckett Simonon vs Allen Edmonds.
Quality & Craftsmanship
When it comes to the quality and craftsmanship of these double monk straps there are considerable differences. Let’s take a look.
Cole Haan Quality & Craftsmanship
The Cole Haan Madison’s leather upper is made up of 5 pieces of leather stitched together including the shoe tongue and cap toe. Overall, the shoe construction feels solid, but is it really?
What Kind of Leather is Cole Haan?
The leather is kind of stiff and takes a while to break in which leads me to believe that it is not full grain and instead corrected grain leather.
Another reason that leads me to believe it’s corrected grain leather is that the leather is very resistant to scratching and imperfections, which full grain is not.
What is Corrected Grain Leather?
Corrected grain leather refers to hides that have been buffed or sanded on the grain surface in order to remove marks and imperfections. It’s made by splitting pieces of full grain leather, removing the imperfections and embossing fake grain patterns onto it.
Corrected grain is not bad by any means, but it’s not up to the level of quality of full grain or even top grain leather.
Quality Control (QC) Check
I did a little research and while Cole Haan couldn’t answer my questions directly, they directed me to myshoehospital.com which is the shoe repair company that works on Cole Haan specifically.
After probing for additional information about Cole Haan’s shoe construction — whether the shoes are stitched or cemented on, and where the leathers are sourced from, My Shoe Hospital confirmed my suspicion that the shoes are not stitched, instead they are cemented on.
They couldn’t tell me specifically where the leather is sourced from, but my guess is somewhere overseas as a way to cut costs.
As for visible issues, there’s a few loose threads, but that’s about it.
Are Cole Haan Shoes Good Quality?
Based on my experience with the Cole Haan Madison over the years I would say yes, though I’m still a little reluctant. Here’s why…
I also own a pair of bit loafers that have held up pretty well, granted it has some QC issues. There’s a slight bubbling of the leather along the toe box, but things like that are expected when you purchase from a Nordstrom Rack which often carries shoes with minor defects.
Additionally, the Cole Haan shoes are not Goodyear welted nor are they Blake stitched which. Visually the shoes appear to be Goodyear welted, but that’s simply for aesthetics.
If you take a look at the sole of the shoe, there is no stitching which means that the shoes are either glued or cemented on which is a sign of a shoe that could fall apart sooner than later. This also means that I’m unable to re-sole the shoes when they wear out. This knocks Cole Haan down a few rungs.
Granted, my Cole Haan Madison haven’t been through the ringer, they still look quite good and no one is really going to notice that it’s corrected grain leather instead of full grain.
Did you know? Cole Haan stopped producing shoes in the US after Nike acquired them in the early 90s, so take it as you will. Many say the quality took a hit as a result.
It’s also worth mentioning that the shoe is not fully leather lined (contrary to the product description on the website) as the area above the toes have a canvas-like material.
Cole Haan Details
- Leather upper
- Burnished leather outsole with injected rubber forepart and horizontal grooves for extra traction
- Stacked heel with rubber top lift
- Straps secured with elastic band for easy adjusting
- Grand.OS technology
Now that we’ve covered the quality & craftsmanship of Cole Haan, let’s check out Beckett Simonon’s Hoyt.
Beckett Simonon Quality & Craftsmanship
Just like the Cole Haan Madison, the Beckett Simonon Hoyt is a solidly constructed shoe. The Hoyt double monkstraps are made with premium full-grain calf leather from Argentina. Full grain leather is much softer than corrected grain leather.
It’s also quite durable and only gets better with age, developing a unique patina over time. They condition the leather with shea butter and carnauba wax for a rich color and shine.
Each pair of Beckett Simonon dress shoes including the Hoyt are equipped with a fully resoleable blake stitch construction.
What is Blake Stitch Construction?
A Blake stitch construction is a method of stitching a shoe’s leather upper, insole, midsole and outsole together. It’s different from the golden standard Goodyear welt (GYW) in that it requires a machine to handle the stitching, whereas a Goodyear welt can be done by hand.
Quality Control (QC) Check
Closer inspection of the shoe, there were no loose threads or marks on the leather. As is expected of Beckett Simonon based on past experience with the company, the QC is top notch with no visible areas of concern.
Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Good Quality?
Absolutely, and here’s why..
The Beckett Simonon Hoyt is hand-made one at a time in small batches. They feature a resoleable Blake construction and a full-grain calf leather upper. They’re also fully lined with Vachetta leather. And like Cole Haan’s Madison have a durable rubber heel.
There’s a dark strip of leather around the shoe collar known as French binding which is reinforcement that’s stitched between the leather upper and lining to enhance the shoe’s structure for a cleaner finish. And the straps are securely stitched on with elastic bands for easy adjustment like the Cole Haan Madison.
Additionally, the midsoles, outsoles and heel stacks are made with vegetable tanned leather, the highest grade leather there is. And finally, the stitching density is 10 stitches per inch which provides a tighter seam, while enhancing the aesthetic.
All in all, it’s safe to say Beckett Simonon shoes are thoughtfully made and well crafted.
Beckett Simonon Details
- Vachetta leather lining
- Full-grain Argentinian leather
- Resoleable blake stitch construction
- Leather soles and rubber heels for traction
- Hand-cut leather, hand-sanded soles, subtle burnishing
Quality & Craftsmanship Winner: Beckett Simonon
This one is a no brainer. It’s evident Beckett Simonon shoes are crafted with better materials, care and attention to details from the full-grain calf leather to the blake stitched soles and fully leather lined interior.
Comparatively, almost everything about them tip the scales heavily in favor of the Hoyt double monkstraps.
This is based on my experience wearing the shoes over an extensive period of time.
Are Cole Haan Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, since many of Cole Haan shoes including the Madison are integrated their Grand.OS technology.
What Grand.OS does is reduces the shoes weight and mimics your foot’s natural flexibility, all the while providing responsive cushioning which leads to a comfortable wearing experience.
While the footbed is comfortable right out of the box, it will take a few wears to break them in as the leather is quite stiff.
Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, just like the Cole Haans, the BS Hoyt is comfortable after a little bit of breaking in. Of course they’re not as comfy as the Reid sneaker or Morgen Trainers, but the Hoyts are every bit as comfortable as the Dean Oxford and Durant Brogue dress shoes.
You can wear them all day in comfort and each pair even comes with a cushioned insole for added comfortability which is always a nice addition.
Keep in mind if you have narrow or wider feet, you may have some issues with comfort. These are standard D width shoes according to the US brannock device. I got size 8 and so it’s a half size larger than my normal size.
I do want to mention that my right foot is slightly larger than my left and so I noticed after a long day of wear, my right foot feels slight discomfort, but this is the case with almost every shoe I wear.
Shoe Comfort Winner: Tie (slight edge to BS)
When it comes down to it, both shoes are comfortable on my feet for long days of wear. I don’t ever recall my feet being in pain while wearing either the Cole Haan Madison or Beckett Simonon Hoyt. Because of the lengthy break-in period of the Madison, I’m give the edge to the Hoyts.
The durability of a shoe is measured by wear over time and I’ve given both my Cole Haan Madison and Beckett Simonon Hoyts their fair share of wear. Here’s my thoughts on their durability.
How Durable Is Beckett Simonon?
They’re quite durable for full-grain leather. I’ve had my Hoyt double monkstraps for almost a year now and they’ve been worn more than a dozen times now for many long days. The soles are wearing normally as is the rubber heel.
I don’t beat my shoes up, but they have been in drizzle and I’ve ran in them. They’ve gotten scuffed up a bit, but there’s nothing a soft polish and shine can’t buff out.
The creasing was noticeable early on, but it’s not an ugly crease. It’s pretty typical of what you can expect from a full-grain leather.
The bottom line is that Beckett Simonon shoes can last you a long time so long as you don’t wear them into the ground.
How Durable Are Cole Haan Shoes?
Cole Haan’s leathers are corrected grain which I’d say are more durable and resistant to scuffs and creasing than full grain leather.
I’ve worn the Madison several dozen times over the past several years. The outsole is only leather lined along the edges with a full rubber heel and rubber in the middle of the sole. Like the Hoyt, it’s wearing normally.
Thankfully, the way I treat my shoes, I can see them lasting many more years.
Shoe Durability Winner: Tie
Granted I’ve had the Madison monkstraps many more years than my Hoyts, based on experience I’d say they are about equal in terms of durability.
Now that we talked about the comfort and durability, let’s quickly go over the shoe sizing that each brand offers.
Are Cole Haan True To Size?
Yes, I’d say that Cole Haan are true to size. Ideally my shoe size is 7.5 US and that’s the size I wear with their double monks and bit loafers.
Most Cole Haan shoes come in a standard Medium width or a Wide width for those with wider feet. This is always a plus, though I think a company like Cole Haan should offer perhaps a few more ranges like Allen Edmonds.
How Do Beckett Simonon Shoes Fit?
Beckett Simonon shoes are also true to size. It’s unfortunate, however that they do not carry 7.5 US and so I have to size up a half size to 8 which is a good centimeter too long in my opinion. It’s not too long to the point that it’s unwearable though.
In terms of varying shoe widths, Beckett Simonon only carries a single width which is also unfortunate for those with wider than average feet.
Shoe Sizing Winner: Cole Haan
The winner here is Cole Haan since they offer a medium and wide shoe width, whereas Beckett Simonon only offers a regular size.
Quick note: If you’ve been enjoying this double monkstrap duel featuring Cole Haan vs Beckett Simonon, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things men’s style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.
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Price To Performance
With shoe sizing covered, let’s go over the price to performance.
Is Cole Haan Expensive?
The Cole Haan Madison isn’t expensive at all. At retail, sure, but savvy shoppers know to never buy brands like Cole Haan at full price. They’re always on sale either through the website and oftentimes cheaper through sites like Amazon or Zappos.
In terms of price to performance, coming in at $120 or so on sale, I’d say the shoe is a great value for a low $100 shoe. At full price I’d say it’s not worth it as there are better options like Allen Edmonds which offer full grain leather and a Goodyear welt.
Beckett Simonon Price
Traditional retail according to them is $350 which is over $150 more than their pre-order price of $199. You can bump this down further with discounts that they offer year-round. In fact, GW has a special code “GENTWITHIN” that will net you 20% off your first order.
That discount drops the price down to $159 which is an absolute steal for a ethically handcrafted, blake stitched, full-grain leather dress shoe. Speaking of price to performance, the shoes have held up nicely over a dozen wears now. At sub $200, these shoes are quite a bang for your buck.
Price To Performance Winner: Beckett Simonon
When it comes down to it, Beckett Simonon takes the cake. Just check out the pros and cons below to see why BS wins here.
Pros & Cons
Cole Haan Pros & Cons
- Affordable when on sale
- Sleek and solid construction
- Durable and less prone to scuff marks
- 289 brick and mortar locations worldwide
- Grand.OS technology adds to the comfort level
- Offers a wide shoe width in addition to regular size
- Cemented outsole
- Leather is imported and non-full-grain
- Quality took a hit when no longer made in America
Beckett Simonon Pros & Cons
- Constructed with a solid Blake stitched, resoleable outsole
- Classic and timeless styles of shoes, boots and sneakers
- Free shipping, free returns, free exchanges
- No middlemen, retailers or physical stores
- Made with full-grain Argentinian leather
- Comes in 5 versatile colorways
- Affordable price point
- Visible creases after just the first wear
- Made to order model, so you’ll be waiting 3 months for your shoes
Who Wins The Double Monkstrap Duel?
When it comes down to it, you can’t go wrong with either of these shoe brands. Cole Haan has an extensive history and Beckett Simonon is fast growing in the DTC space.
Not only are they affordable, both companies offer classic, yet stylish and on trend shoes for guys who care about the way they present themselves.
The Hoyt is a sub $200 hand-crafted shoe with a blake stitched sole and full-grain leather compared with the Madison, another sub $200 shoe, but with corrected grain leather and a non-resoleable outsole. For these reasons alone I’d say Beckett Simonon is the clear winner of the double monkstrap duel.
Is Cole Haan Worth It?
For the price (on sale), absolutely. These are shoes that will last you for a long time, despite it not being GYW or blake stitched. The corrected grain leather is even more durable and less prone to scratches and scuff marks than other shoes with a full-grain leather upper.
Is Beckett Simonon Worth It?
Most definitely. This isn’t my first go-round with Beckett Simonon. I’ve long been a fan and supporter of the brand and I love that they’re staying current with the trends and more importantly listening to customer feedback to make their shoes even better.
Stay tuned for a future article where I’ll be reviewing their Morgen (German Army) Trainers, showcasing the current model and how it compares to the first iteration from a few years ago.
Which of these brands wins this duel in your eyes?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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