26 Jun2008

The Sandal Post…

by Marketman

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Here is THE footwear post from our recent trip to Greece and Turkey. It’s funny how “traditions” seem to grow, even on a blog, and whenever we go on our annual trip, I now get several emails asking for “the shoe post, the shoe post”! Talk about regular readers! The first time I posted a shoe post, it was about our finds in Florence, Italy. That post got quite a bit of attention, and it made me think bout that “extra shoe gene” in most Filipinos (and yes, that applies to both females and males). Anecdotal evidence at best, but some of the comments were a bit rabid, in a nice way, if you know what I mean! Then a trip last year to New York, yielded another shoe post and the same strong reaction, so I figured a number of you would be interested in this post… We didn’t buy shoes on this recent trip, we bought sandals. And a LOT of sandals at one fairly well-known sandal maker in Athens…

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There is a lot of mention in guidebooks about a well-known poet sandal-maker named Stavros Melissinos who has a handmade leather sandal shop near the Monastiraki metro stop. Over 50 years old, the shop is now run by his son, also an artist. Between the poetry and paintings, Melissinos designed and manufactured several styles of sandals, and they still customize the sandals to ensure a good fit for every buyer. Friends of our who had been to Greece a couple of years ago brought a pair of his sandals for Mrs. MM and she wanted to check the shop out for herself… A short 2-3 minute walk from the cheesier, touristy sections of Monastiraki, this small shop is packed to the rafters with sandals and leather bags. It smells quite literally like tanned cow hide…

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There are just 27 styles on offer, some just for women, some for men, and several unisex appropriate. The leather is quite light in color, but with exposure to the sun and elements, they will darken beautifully over a few months or so (you can speed the process by wiping them with olive oil). Mrs. MM and The Kid tried on several pairs, and then, as if divined by the shoe/sandal gods, we suddenly had a pile of nearly a dozen sandals by our sides.

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The next step was to customize the fit to our feet, and that involved removing some of the straps, shortening or widening and re-nailing. This is the KEY to the wonderful fit of these sandals. The chafing asociated will ill-fitting and hard leather sandals is minimized due to this part of their service offering.

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There are hundreds of sandal makers and sandal shops in Athens, but only one Pantelis Melissinos. If you are looking to buy sandals, you might as well make trip to this place. With prices at Euro 18-23, these are very well-priced and will last several years. The shop has attracted several celebrities who have vacationed in Greece, and some of the sandals are named after their famous patrons such as the Jackie Onassis sandal, her husband’s Aristotle’s favorite design, John Lennon, Sophia Loren, and several others whose names escape me at the moment.

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As for Marketman? I ended up with two simple pairs, this one called the “Felipe” after Prince Felipe of Spain, who prefers to don these on his jaunts to Greece or casually walking about Marbella, and another strappier version. In the photo up top, one darker pair of sandals was purchased by The Kid at another shop, but everything else was from Melissinos. Highly recommended for a nice and classic souvenir from Greece.

Pantelis Melissinos
Agias Theklas 2
Monastiraki
210.321.9247

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COMMENTS:

  1. Candygirl says:

    Nice!

    Jun 26, 2008 | 10:08 am

     
  2. Rhea says:

    I would have been in Heaven if I was in that shop! I’m a certified shoeaholic or sandalaholic, if there ever is such a term…

    Jun 26, 2008 | 11:16 am

     
  3. zeph says:

    Gasp! Sandals! Bags! Gawd, I could’ve died and went on to leather heaven.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 12:10 pm

     
  4. lety says:

    MM! I am drooling! Me love sandals and shoes! I definitely have the shoe gene.Greece is now definitely on my “countries to see before I croak” list.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 12:59 pm

     
  5. AleXena says:

    The picture is just what I need to have an idea what sandals I will be buying.=)

    How comfortable are they? Their designs remind me of Ancient Greece. It is nice to know that in some part of the world, old-age traditions are considered to be cool.=)

    Thanks for the post MarketMan! Good day!=)

    Jun 26, 2008 | 1:55 pm

     
  6. rocoi says:

    this store was featured on discovery travel and living (was it joan cusack’s local flavor??) the owner even read her some of his poems while she was being fitted her jackie o sandals. anything on greece travel reminds me of your trip, MM! :)

    Jun 26, 2008 | 2:12 pm

     
  7. grace encarnacion says:

    i want to go to greece now if only for these sandals…luv it.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 2:57 pm

     
  8. eej says:

    Nice quality sandals you got there, MM. Enough pairs to last a lifetime.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 3:02 pm

     
  9. zena says:

    Custom-fit sandals! That’s why i don’t buy them because of the chafing. Green with envy.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 3:04 pm

     
  10. risa says:

    Nice. It’s funny how the sandals are named after people. Back in college, I remember a friend trying to remind me of an old classmate. She said, “You know, the guy who wears Jesus Christ sandals.” And I knew exactly who she meant!

    Jun 26, 2008 | 5:34 pm

     
  11. Bubut says:

    how i wish i could go there just to buy those sandals! They all look gorgeous…

    Jun 26, 2008 | 9:48 pm

     
  12. melody says:

    oohh, those are really nice sandals. i visited their website and i’m so tempted to place an order. i’m just not sure if they deliver here in australia, too.

    Jun 26, 2008 | 11:27 pm

     
  13. venice says:

    There’s a local store here in Manila, they have a branch ni megamall and SM North called “Our Tribe” and the sandals are somewhat the same.

    Jun 27, 2008 | 2:51 am

     
  14. shalimar says:

    i got a bag from his shop 20 years ago and I still have it
    one wet rainy day I sheltered at this shop and spent a great deal talking with this daughter…

    Jun 27, 2008 | 5:08 am

     
  15. natie says:

    HAHAHA!! when i saw those colorful slippers in a market stall in your previous post, i knew you had to get a few pairs, though from a better cobbler… looks like very good quality leather.

    Jun 27, 2008 | 5:54 am

     
  16. lee says:

    Q. what happens if you wear a pair and lean on a wall?

    A. Para kang naka sandal sa pader!

    I am so f… corny. i hate myself… maybe a cup or two of coffee will help. hehehe

    Jun 27, 2008 | 7:09 am

     
  17. Mila says:

    The dark sandals look great, very elegant and modern. Didn’t know the shoe posts got such intense scrutiny! We’re all so imeldific in our own way.

    Jun 27, 2008 | 7:32 am

     
  18. Marketman says:

    Mila, after a few months of wear, all of the sandals in the photo above will turn as dark as the dark one… lee, I think you need a sweet pastry along with the coffee this mroning…hahaha. AleXena, they are very comfortable, but I think the individualized fitting really helps the fit/chafing issues. melody, they ship worldwide (though it ight be pricey) though you won’t get the custom adjustment they do in the shop while you wait…

    Jun 27, 2008 | 7:38 am

     
  19. carina says:

    oh, i’m such a fan of sandals. i like what the Kid bought the best :)

    Jun 27, 2008 | 8:29 am

     
  20. millet says:

    (as if divined by the shoe/sandal gods, we suddenly had a pile of nearly a dozen sandals by our sides)

    ..this is exactly how i feel many times in shoe stores, MM…i was just looking around, and then suddenly i’m standing by the cashier with all these boxes in front of me!

    Jun 27, 2008 | 9:13 am

     
  21. marie says:

    ahaha gladiator sandals are so in right now!

    Jun 27, 2008 | 1:14 pm

     
  22. Vance says:

    Wow! You got sandals from Melissinos! Gladiator sandals are fabulous. Are you home or can i ask you to buy one for me? hehe :D

    Jun 27, 2008 | 2:04 pm

     
  23. FoodJunkie says:

    My father used to shop from there! Great place, and the sandals will last you forever. Love the pics!

    Jun 27, 2008 | 7:00 pm

     
  24. witsandnuts says:

    I especially like the (darkest) pairs in the last photo!

    Jun 28, 2008 | 3:25 am

     
  25. navyGOLF says:

    Are they at par with our local sandals here from Taal or Liliw? I have one from Liliw and its been almost 10yrs now, I think, and it’s still durable. Luv the gladiator comment, swak!

    Jun 28, 2008 | 3:38 am

     
  26. Apicio says:

    Not to impugn anyone’s feet shape here but going along Marketman’s extra-shoe gene line of thought, if beauty is a random gene then beautiful-feet gene is not only random but also truly scarce so that much tempted as I am with the pictures in this post, I would step on to open sandals such as those with great caution and only after much forethought.

    Jun 28, 2008 | 6:01 am

     
  27. Marketman says:

    Apicio, can you tell I have the most awful FALLEN arches??? They are so bad they would exempt me from a stint in the Philippine army! And while on the topic, why do Asians tend to have a longer second toe than the big toe? And can you believe I once heard folks have toe hairs waxed so they have smooth toes. And finally, in this burst of toe bashing, if your toes are as long as mine, you can actually develop “knuckles”….hahaha. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist after a comment like that…

    Jun 28, 2008 | 9:32 am

     
  28. lee says:

    ugly feet + nice sandal = scandal

    i have ugly feet

    Jun 28, 2008 | 12:24 pm

     
  29. glenville says:

    i can’t help but smile at the poster’s tagline (the poet sandal maker).

    Jun 28, 2008 | 8:52 pm

     
  30. Em Dy says:

    Now I should really go to Athens. I love sandals!

    Jun 28, 2008 | 9:26 pm

     
  31. suzette says:

    nice! i’d like to have the simple one like yours and a gladiator-type too :)

    Jun 29, 2008 | 10:16 am

     
  32. dhayL says:

    I remember back then I used to call them the “senakulo sandals”, and I had them before, it was a hand me down, but I really like it coz it’s so comfy and soft, really good for walking!

    Jun 30, 2008 | 1:25 am

     
  33. dhayL says:

    lee,
    that’s so funny but true! my feet are wide, so i make sure i have a nice pedi whenever i expose my feet! hehehe

    Jun 30, 2008 | 1:28 am

     
  34. smiles4angels says:

    ooooh… ultimate shoe lovers heaven. :)

    Jun 30, 2008 | 6:38 pm

     
  35. Apicio says:

    So Lee, us ginger-footed peasants not going about slipshod then would be safely considered toeing the line?

    Jun 30, 2008 | 9:37 pm

     
  36. marisa says:

    Hi MM,

    Just want to tell you that I’ll be going to on a Med cruise (Greece, Rome, Turkey) next week with relatives and the BF. Your posts will be quite helpful. BF will be going to see Santorini so its not our honeymoon yet. We will be getting married next year. This spoiled the honeymoon I was asking you about (if you remember)will have to fine another place to see.

    Thanks a lot!

    Sep 20, 2009 | 11:06 am

     
  37. tes says:

    venice is right, why go to greece (for the filipino’s who wants to have it) to get those sandals when you can get it from “Our Tribe” (SM outlets in the Philippines). i got mine 10 yr ago and im still using it during the summer time here in canada. the craftmanship is so good, it is never out of style and very comfortable.

    Jan 17, 2010 | 2:21 pm

     
  38. jovan says:

    where can i find the “our tribe” outlet in the philippines?

    Feb 11, 2010 | 8:10 pm

     
  39. Jack Hammer says:

    Something in your comment about second toe being bigger than the first….Annecdotal evidence points to Dominating Person, personal observational evidence confirms that with the Fairer Sex, most men I know wear shoes and so dont have enough evidence to confirm there. Or Maybe I am fitting the evidence to the hypothesis, better to be wary than sorry. Persons behaviour might confirm this myth/legend.

    Mar 1, 2010 | 5:23 pm

     
 

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