Another former manager of Viking Outdoor Footwear, Andreas Malo Dyb, wanted to do something different, so he launched his own brand of sneakers, called Kastel, eight years ago, working for a while with a temporary showroom in a container. It was more of a relaunch: Kastel was actually born in California as a sneaker brand, which then became popular among skaters in the ‘90s. Together with a Scandinavian partner, Malo Dyb decided to relaunch it as brand of canvas and suede sneakers for colder climates.
Malo Dyb, a “sneakerhead” who studied design in Milan and worked also for Alfa, embarked on the project because he was irritated that the sneakers available on the market were either cool or practical, but not both. Kastel shoes are designed to keep feet dry and warm in the harshest winters while providing proper ventilation with natural breathable materials. They are also trendy. They sell for more than 1,000 Norwegian kroner (€101-$111) per pair.
Most of Kastel's business is now in Norway. The brand is concentrating on sales to other cold and wet Nordic countries and to Iceland and Canada, and it is doing quite well in the process. Sales more than doubled last year to NOK 13 million (€1.3m-$1.5m). From starting as a part-time project, the brand has now grown into a business that has two full-time employees and a flagship store.
The brand recently opened its first store in Oslo's Riddervolds Square, featuring a special interactive window to draw attention. When you press the “Press Here” point on the window, it creates a rain shower over the shoes on display, a reflection of the changeable Norwegian weather and the fact that the shoes can withstand wet weather.