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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Rockport: Shoes for All Occasions in Maadi City Centre
It's all but fact that shoe shopping in Cairo causes many an Egyptian with many a wardrobe problem. There just never seems to be enough options that offer quality and affordability in equal reasonable measure. With Maadi City Centre being one of the better malls in Cairo, housing an array of shops to peruse at leisure, we were sure that we'd find something to titillate our fashion senses. So, on a whim, we decided to check out one of the newer shoe shops, Rockport.
Simply put, the shop was an utter disappointment. Narrow and long, it was quite the visual eye sore with bright, artificial, yellow lighting doing nothing to flatter the merchandise on display.
But apart from the interior, the shoes themselves were also of equally shattered expectations. Though completely inoffensive, they were just very bland in design. Rockport specialises in dress, casual or semi-casual shoes that supposedly combine style and comfort. While we were quite intrigued by the comfort factor, we were unequivocally disappointed with the aesthetics.
The men's shoe selection consisted of basic leather dress shoes that, although suitable for formal occasions, lack a certain flair and as a result, fail to catch the eye. Ranging between a hefty 400LE to 600LE, the price range seemed a bit of a miss. The casual shoe collection didn't fare much better and included several potential faux pas traps, with some quite atrocious sandals.
The women's section was a bit better – better, but still lacking when it comes to the overall design and craft. Like the dire men's section, the women's collection seems to be shaped by the same comfort-driven approach; we felt like they were a failed attempt at re-creating that distinct Hush Puppies style.
The level of service in no uncertain terms reflected all of the above; sluggish, uninterested and unaware are just a few of the words that come to mind – but then some may prefer that to the silent stalker approach adopted by many shops in Cairo.
Frankly, we left the shop unimpressed, dissatisfied and still on the prowl for more shoe shopping targets; ones that can contribute to the affordable-and-stylish shoe deficiency in Egypt.
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.