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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Normandy Italian Shoes: Giant Shoe Shop in Nasr City
With so many shoe shops in Cairo, shopping for footwear can often be a bit of a headache unless you know where to go. Famous for its shoes and leather accessories, Normandy is steadily becoming one of the go to names for both men and women in Cairo. We headed to their mammoth Abbas El Akkad Street branch in Nasr City to see what all the fuss was about.
The shops medium-sized window is illusory; on the inside the shop is similar to a giant exhibition area, showing off two whole floors of leather shoes, sneakers, sports apparel, novelty t-shirts and several bags and belts. Every row of shoes is conveniently labeled according to size which made for a straightforward, uncomplicated shopping experience. Although there was no specific area for women's shoes, many of the plimsoles and trainers could easily have been unisex.
The space is bright and sleek, and the service is pleasantly unobtrusive, but we quickly discovered that almost all of Normadny's stock is made up of fakes. Although we don't condone conterfeit products, Normandy has become increasing popular for their stock of convincing replicas. Boasting logos of famous brands including Zara, Lacoste and Massimo Dutti, we were surprised to see these copies being sold for 300LE - 400LE. Vans and Crocs counterfeits are aplenty whilst CAT and Timberland imitations were priced between 250LE and 300LE.
Although the prices may seem appealing, there's no guarantee of quality or lifespan; we'd recommend, if you do part with money at Normandy, that you inspect the shoes closely for any faults in the stitching or gluing before, as some are a little suspect. It's also important to remember that – as they are replicas - the sole of the shoes aren't printed with the brand logo, but instead include the name of the shoe local shoe factories.
Morality aside, we found many of the prices to still be rather high; however, Normandy has grown in popularity amongst among Egyptian youths who feel the store offers new, stylish reproductions at affordable prices.
Cairo 360 does not condone the manufacture or sale of counterfeit goods – unless they look really authentic. Just kidding! Or are we?
Known for providing a Cairo shopping experience for the elite, it makes sense that Ego has opened a second branch in Giza's swanky First Mall. Exclusively stocking internationally renowned, high-end brands, the prices are unsurprisingly extortionate for the average shopper; but that's no surprise with Armani, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurant, Chloe and many other designer labels in stock. Unfortunately, however, no clothes are stocked at this branch; just accessories.
Immediately, we were greeted with the dreaded, uncomfortable air of scepticism from the shop assistant, who then proceeded to follow us a little too closely around the shop as we browsed the immaculate displays.
The first section is solely dedicated to women’s handbags, wallets and shoes, while several stands boast a collection of accessories. Despite being from reputable brands, some of the pieces seemed a little tasteless and carelessly picked, whereas others were effortlessly classy. We spotted a range of colourful Zagliani snake-skin handbags, quality knee-high boots from Baldan, and a beautiful pair of grey, soft leather boots from Sergio Rossi which were priced at almost 10,000LE. The range of Jimmy Choo offers classic pointed heels, eye-catching diamante high tops (7700LE), or neat pumps for over 4000LE.
The second half of the shop is dedicated to male shoppers, showcasing a wide variety of quality, smart and casual shoes from the same, and other similarly, big brands. We noted a pair of blue suede loafers, attractive ankle boots and sneakers, along with several boxes of cufflinks, belts, wallets and silk ties. There was also a limited section dedicated to children’s footwear, with dinky pairs of shoes priced upwards of 1000LE.
Before we’d managed to find that perfect gift we were looking for, the shop assistant seemingly took offence to whatever it is he thought he read on our mobile phone, and the shop manager herself was called over to continue the systematic stalking. Practically breathing down our necks, we were aggressively quizzed on why we were looking at so many price tags – because, obviously, this is against unwritten shopping codes. Following a brief, incredibly unpleasant confrontation, we were practically escorted from the premises.
Ego brings products from some of the world's biggest designer brands to Cairo, and for that, we’re grateful. With such glamorous goods and high prices, one would also expect impeccable customer service; however, should you appear over-curious, or use your phone too much whilst browsing, you might just be shamelessly hung out to dry by the management.