Norkinas - the shoe that's taking Trinidad by storm
The perfect shoe should be comfortable enough to walk in all day, versatile enough to be worn for both casual and professional engagements, be cool for the tropical weather and durable enough to last for years.
As it turns out, that describes Norkinas to a T.
Norkinas launched in Trinidad and Tobago in January 2019 in C3 Shopping Centre in San Fernando. The West Mall branch would follow soon after in February.
Norkinas is a refresh on the traditional Menorcan sandal, avarcas. Handcrafted in Menorca, Spain, each pair of Norkinas is made with high-quality leather.
Franchisee Lee Ann Romany said Norkinas are the perfect shoe for the Trinidad and Tobago market.
“As Caribbean people, we have wider feet, we have different foot shapes and we have a lot of problems with our feet, so comfortable shoes and high quality shoes are so important. Our leather design works perfectly because it adapts to your feet. We have different types of leather; when you visit the store you’ll see each type of leather is different for each pair of Norkinas. We have suede leather, we have stiffer leather and softer types of leather for those with more sensitive feet.”
The style of the shoes means they allow customers to maintain a polished, professional look, even when running errands or transitioning from the office to home.
“The design of the avarcas is actually a covered front, so if you want your feet protected and you still want to look professional when you’re dressing down it looks perfect,” said Romany.
Apart from being stylish, Norkinas are also durable and environmentally conscious.
The sole of the shoe is made from recycled tyres, and a pair of Norkinas can last as long as ten years.
Speaking about the way recycled materials are incorporated into the design of the shoe, Romany explained, “The fact that the soles are recycled tyre, it’s the only shoe I know of in the Caribbean that carries a recycled tyre sole. That sole is actually part of our environmental responsibility where we try to use a lot of environmentally-friendly products. Even with the design of the stores we try to utilise natural materials. You can see that in the West Mall store where we’ve used palettes. We try to stay away from too many plastics, our bags are the drawstring ones, which are reusable, the plastic is biodegradable, and we utilise e-receipts, sent via email, so we remain paperless in that regard.”
The Norkinas brand has a range of styles to choose from, including the traditional avarca sandal, platforms, espadrilles and sneakers. The avarca, traditionally, is a unisex shoe, so there are male sandals available, along with other styles and colours tailored to those with more masculine tastes.
Romany says the response to the brand so far in the Trinidad and Tobago market has been excellent.
“I think people patronise the brand a lot because they appreciate the fact that they get quality. The general consensus has been ‘You know how long I’m looking for pair of shoes like this?’. People come to the store and they usually purchase two or three at a time because when we bring one shipment of the product, you never see that style again. So the average Norkinas lover ends up with at least a dozen pairs. It turns into an addiction actually. For example, in the Dominican Republic, women have on average 12 pairs of Norkinas.”
Norkinas has become so popular in Trinidad and Tobago, that the company has now launched an online shopping and delivery service for people who can’t make it to the brick and mortar location.
Customers in the market for a pair of Norkinas can now head to www.norkinas.com where they’ll be redirected to their country’s site. Once there they can fill their basket to the brim and will see the delivery option upon checking out. Payment via credit card is accepted on the website.
Norkinas is partnering with DHL, TT Post and even TT RideShare to ensure that customers have their Norkinas in hand no more than 48 hours after their purchase is made.
There is a delivery fee of $50 TTD but that’s waived for customers purchasing three or more pairs at a time.
For Romany, who was an avid Norkinas customer before acquiring the franchise in the Trinidad and Tobago market, the dream is for everyone to own a pair of Norkinas. Once she covers all of Trinidad and Tobago with her physical location, online store and the new delivery service, Romany ‘s next goal is to take the brand to the rest of the Caribbean.