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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Talon: New Shoe Shop in Dokki with a Little Sophistication
Commence eye-rolling. Yet another shoe shop has opened on Mosaddak Street. Nevertheless, despite the large number of such shops, this one seemed particularly worthy of further inspection.
Just across the street from Pizza Hut, the shop is definitely hard to miss with a large and bright window that’s inviting with a display of their newest collection. Consisting mainly of patent leather middle-sized bags in different summer colours such as orange, red, yellow and white, they come with a price tag of 235LE; they also come with matching peep-toe pumps that cost 150LE.
Inside, there’s an extended collection of bags in varying styles and colours. Though some of the bags come in bright colours, the most stylish are the brown leather ones. Whether the bag is average sized or a pouch, the prices range around 200LE.
Talon also offers some colourful Burberry which are highly unappealing. Besides them obviously being knock offs, with tawdry colours, they are also slightly more expensive than the other, much more stylish alternatives.
When it comes to the shoes, we easily spotted a good number of enticing pairs. Given its name, the shop really does stand out with its heels collection. Colourful leather sandals with medium to high wedged heels come at a price of 115LE, while high-heeled canvas sandals cost 125LE. There’s also a remarkable patent leather pump collection, available in different colours and costing around 150LE.
On the other hand, the shop’s flat shoes collection wasn’t nearly as impressive. Canvas shoes were in limited colours and bear a price tag of 95LE. Silver-studded leather ballerinas come in the basic colours of black, brown and camel and cost 75LE. There is also a choice peep-toe flats designed with two intertwining colours at a price of 90LE. A small collection of gladiator sandals range from 95LE to 115LE, but their excessive ornaments take a lot out of their style.
One thing which distinguishes Talon from most other shoe-shops is its kids’ collection, although the collection itself is not the least bit impressive. Ranging from colourful beach sandals to leather ballerinas, the entire collection is highly tacky to say the least.
Overall, we must give a thumbs up to the quality of Talon’s products. The finishing is meticulous and quite sophisticated, especially considering the relatively fair prices.
Hunting for something that is both durable and trendy around shoe shops in Cairo is no easy task, but one international brand is bridging the gap. Clarks Shoe Company began business in 1825, when a tannery worker in the quaint English Midlands opened his first shop selling his breakthrough invention: sheepskin slippers. Since these humble beginnings, Clarks has boomed into an international brand, which has become a staple on the world’s high streets.
Once, Clarks was notorious as the place where every August, fatigued parents who were fed up of replacing scuffed-to-death school shoes, could find reliable footwear for their little ones. Consequently, Clarks gained the reputation of putting durability before fashion and were blamed for us all walking round the playground in the shoe equivalent of the hard hat; and yes, the ugly things lasted for years. However, these days, Clarks has stepped up its game and managed to put trendy back into the sensible shoe.
We visited one of Clarks’ Cairo outlets in Genena Mall to see whether it is actually possible to make a good-looking shoe which can endure Cairo’s perilous streets. The shop is very small, but unlike some of the other non-branded shoe shops in the mall, their presentation was well thought out; one point to practicality. The shop features both men’s and women’s footwear, but nothing for children, which is a real shame, as the modern range of Clarks kids shoes are bright and fun.
There was only one row of Clarks' own brand shoes, stuffed away on a low shelf, only in men’s styles. These included casual shoes and sandals for 490LE, or the traditional bulky brogue, which looked durable, as well as being bang on trend. They cost 720LE but are sure to be a good investment that could be useful for every wedding, interview and funeral over the years. Although there are very few styles available, what they did have varied from matte black to rusty brown, all with authentic leather and proper heeling.
Other brands available at Clarks include Lloyds Shoes from Germany, which looked to have the same sort of ethos and price range as Clarks. Plus, there were some trainers with Gortex skin for 1180LE, if any shoppers need something really heavy duty.
The women’s range includes shoes from Austrian brand, Hogl, and Unisa which brands itself as ‘Mediterranean’. Some of Hogl’s heels looked quite dowdy, but there were no sparkles or outrageous tottering heels in sight, and instead everything looked easy to walk in. Unisa’s pretty pumps cost around 640LE, while they also had flats with on-trend studs for 520LE, plus wedges and platform shoes such as the fashion magazines dictate we must all wear. None of the shoes were cutting edge, but all came in sophisticated styles, with dainty detailing in quality fabrics.
Indeed, Clarks has come a long way from the rural English village where it all started and its shoes range has also picked up the pace to become a trendy international brand, offering shoes that look good, while being fit for the trial that is Cairo’s streets.