You wouldn’t expect a place like Plaça Banc de s’Oli in Palma’s buzzing historic center. Only a few steps away from Plaça Major, it’s a tranquil oasis with orange trees and a few fine stores like Suite 13 and Monge. The latter flagship store of a young domestic brand that revives an old Mallorcan tradition: the art of shoemaking. While mass production has long been lost to Asia, a couple of manufacturers keep the flame burning instead of mourning the ashes of the old factories around Inca. Camper is the most popular by now, with its much older sister Lottusse catering to the more exclusive taste, and Carmina to those who look for conservative shoes in the best sense. Since 2012 there is also Monge – presenting handmade shoes in a fresh and stylish design.
It was a pair of blue suede shoes that lured me into the shop. They are awesome. The light brown boots look like you’ll never want to wear another pair, and even the business shoes are pretty cool, other than their English or Italian equivalents. While Monge’s portfolio mainly consists of men’s shoes, they recently introduced models for women, too. And here is the best part: you can have a pair made exclusively for you, just select the color and material. There are dozens of leather samples to chose from – a real challenge.
Who makes up his mind to start an enterprise in a sector that has been declining for years? At Monge, it was three guys who share the passion for good shoes, the enthusiasm for Mallorca, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Pedro told me the story behind the brand and why they chose his family name, Monge, for it. It was simply the one that resonated best when pre-tested among friends. I agree – Monge sounds cool and catchy. A perfect fit, like their shoes.