Historically, Lotfy has been a staple on the Cairo shopping scene. The city-wide branches have always been known as a reliable source of shoes, especially during early September when crowds rush to the shops for the annual round of back-to-school shopping.

The Heliopolis branch of Lotfy is one of the newer ones. Its white brick exterior is actually pretty unique and stylish looking. The two-level shop keeps its women’s shoes and accessories on the ground floor, and its men’s footwear on the first floor. There are also sections for school gear, including children’s shoes and bags on both floors. The space is large, and the range of products on display takes some time to browse through.

Despite the huge range of shoes on offer, the design and styles are only ever slightly different to one another. For those who don’t know, Lotfy isn’t a brand; just a shop. So the brands that they bring in to sell through their branches are generally under the same influences of fads and styles, and are targeting similar markets. Hence, a lot of the shoes look similar.

In the men’s department, this reviewer was impressed with the brand Pronto, which makes both casual and formal shoes. As one of the most expensive ranges in the shop, the Pronto shoes sell for 220LE to 250LE, and are only topped in price by Al Gabas shoes (260LE), which are apparently made of Italian leather. The Pronto shoes feel sturdy and strong, and would last a while, even through strenuous wear.

Another range that caught this reviewer's eye was the Artwork range of loafers. The square-ended soft shoes come in suede and in leather in several colours, and sell for 130LE to 150LE. Artwork also has a range of natural leather casual shoes for between 160LE to 180LE. Unfortunately, some of them have the word ‘Baretta’ embossed on them, which is the name of the leather manufacturer.

As mentioned earlier, the shoes are all very similar, and brands Bebo, Bird Shoes, Golden Triangle and Radar differ only in very small details. The same applies for the men’s belts, which sell for 70LE to 100LE, and are available in both casual and formal styles.

The brands that fill the men’s section also cater to the women’s. For better or for worse, many of the shoes in the women’s section are actually quite classical in design. Most of the shoes are flats and sandals, and at the time of this reviewer’s visit, some discounted items were priced as low as 40LE to 50LE. A range of rather outdated looking bags sell for 80LE to 90LE, while flip-flops suitable for indoor and outdoor use cost 29LE to 39LE.

We suffered from rather lazy service from one particularly blunt staff member, but we’ll give Lotfy the benefit of the doubt; because for anyone who’s looking to pick up a pair of shoes with minimum fuss or headache, this old Egyptian chain is perfect.