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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Converse: High-Top Heaven in Mohandiseen
If there is one item of footwear that has taken the world by storm it is the famous Converse shoe. No matter where in the world you go you’ll most likely find someone wearing a pair. Although originally introduced as basketball apparel, the shoe didn’t find much success with the sport, especially player Chuck Taylor complained to about sore feet. Interestingly, the next day he became Converse’s new salesman and ambassador; eventually adding his signature to the logo, which has not changed until this day.
Converse in Mohandiseen is located on Gezirat El Arab Street just across from Mango. The store is relatively small; nevertheless, there is quite an extensive collection of clothing and, of course, shoes. Apart from Converse you can also by some Nike items such as hooded sweatshirts (499LE) and sneakers priced between 400LE and 800LE. The shop has a funky design and in the back it has the ‘basics’ wall where there are the classic Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers. There are a lot of different colours available including red, blue, yellow, purple, green, pink, grey, camel and black – the short-top models are 459LE and the high-tops are 497LE.
They also have the Jack Purcell collection. The shoes in this line are a bit trendier and tend to have a thinner sole; they are available in a variety of dark colours such as grey, stone-wash, denim and black leather. The low-tops are around 489LE, depending on their colour. As well as the adult line there is also a baby shoe line and though the shoes are super cute, 419LE is still pretty steep for such a tiny shoe.
The Converse clothing line is of relatively good quality and is modestly priced compared to other international sports brands to be found in Cairo. Hooded sweatshirts are around 399LE, while t-shirts are between 150LE and 250LE. Leggings are also available for 199LE, most of which feature Converse’s famous star logo. Jeans are only available for men and cost 449LE. They also have baseball caps for 119LE and if you’re looking for an easy gift you have the option of key chains (59LE) or a small sneaker that dangles on a rope and is available in different colours.
The staff at Converse is very helpful and friendly; they offer advice on shoes and in case they don’t have your size they do all they can to find it somewhere else. The sales are usually very good at Converse with prices dropping up to 50%- so keep an eye out for that. Converse also launches special collections every season usually inspired by a celebrity or famous sports person; be sure to get your hands on one of those limited edition sneakers.
While the world’s flashiest brands continue to flood shops in Cairo, there is also an increasing appreciation for comfort and quality as the biggest factors, rather than just the label.
French brand, Sledgers, has just joined the ranks at Mall of Arabia, providing “French Style & Comfort” for both men and women, specially designed with rubber outsole padding to keep your feet happy.
Providing women with a larger set of options, the store also has a dedicated section to Aerosoles; a women's high-quality comfortable shoe brand, displaying a full range of their products.
Located in between gates 18 and 19, the external display of the shop is appealingly lit with bright spotlights that you can’t miss it.
Inside, the shop is split into two sections, with Sledgers products on one side and Aerosoles on the other. Impressively enough, the interior display is widely spread and neatly organised, making browsing of the large collection easy.
Aerosoles’ women’s collection ranges from summer season to winter styles, from evening shoes, party shoes, summer sandals and plain loafers all displayed in various colours and modest designs.
Simple items include a large collection of flat summer sandals (549LE) as well as high-heeled sandals (649LE) and low-heeled sandals (599LE) in a vast selection of fun colours.
More basic designs include earthy-coloured peep-toed shoes with wedged heels (599LE) in smooth floral patterns and vintage sandals with casual low heels (549LE) in black, white and creamy-beige.
The most frequent type of shoe on display at the time of our visit was those suitable for career women, if you will; comfortable, basic and sturdy. Standout items included a variety of practical flat loafers (549LE) available in simple colours, as well as a selection of formal mid-heel shoes (699LE) in chic soothing shades.
While Aerosoles carries a line of handbags, the bags on display were limited – selling at around the 599LE – and fairly standard in style, some used striking blues, oranges and yellows, ideal for the summer season.
Only two products of Sledgers footwear were available for women; overpriced multicoloured ballerinas for (999LE) and a pair of casual, creamy high-heeled shoes (1199LE).
On the other side of the store, the men’s Sledgers footwear displayed a vast mixture of styles boasting good quality casual and classical footwear as well as soft and leathery loafers, all ranging in price from 1099LE to 1499LE.
While everything is relatively overpriced, the wide collection of quality footwear goes someway in pulling in customers. If a simple, quality shoe that will last is what you’re after, it’s worth the investment.