Poet Sandal Maker – Athens, Greece
Poet Sandal Maker – Athens, Greece
No visit to Athens, or anywhere else, would be complete without a few souvenirs. What should you buy? One of the most fun things to buy in Athens is a pair of custom made sandals.
The most famous creator of custom made Greek sandals is from the store of the Melissinos family -home to the Poet Sandal maker. What do poetry and sandals have to do with one another? In a way – nothing. It just so happened that the sandal maker was also a poet – and a famous one. The Melissionos family has created custom made sandals in the designs of ancient Greeks for generations.
Stavros, the poet sandal maker stayed grounded by making shoes and he felt it improved his poetry. People from all over the world came to his shop, including the Beatles and actors like Sophia Loren and Gary Cooper.
Stavros felt it was really important to continue to experience life rather than quit his ‘day job’ of making sandals. When asked why he still kept a job making footwear he said,
“A writer who does nothing but write is like the moon, which gives off some light, but borrowed from the sun. A writer needs first hand experience, which only working in another field can give him. Otherwise he is writing what he has read in other books.”
He was also unfazed by famous people who entered his shop looking for shoes. When the Beatles came for a visit, he did not ask for their autograph. Why not?
“Why did they not ask for mine? (autograph) I will be around long after the Beatles.”
Sassy answer, yet, but he was right! Now the original Poet Sandal maker, Stavros, has retired. He son, Pantelis, who is also a poet, took over the business and continues the sandal making tradition.
Stavros Melissinos’ Sandal Shop
2, Aghias Theklas St., Athens
+30 210 3219247
Naturally a pair of sandals from the famous Poet Sandal maker was on my list of things I wanted to bring home. Little did I know that our hotel, AthensStyle Hostel, was literally just a few doors down from the shop. We passed it many times and each time it seemed to be insanely packed. Being in that much of a crowd just wasn’t the experience I wanted to have. It reminded me of the mall on black Friday – no thanks.
10, Agias Theklas, Athens
So, one day as I passed and saw the store was packed – again, I noticed these fabulous sandals in the window of a shop, Kallipous, just a few doors down on the same street. I stopped in my tracks when I saw them!! Aren’t they cute!
The shop’s owner, Angie, showed me around her small shop. All of her shoes are her own design and she hand makes them in the back of her shop. So…these, too, are handmade Greek shoes and, in my humble opinion, are so much cuter!
The kids and I really enjoyed seeing the machines used to make shoes. Have you ever seen a pair of shoes being made? We hadn’t had that opportunity and it was so interesting.
The leather Angie uses is super soft and supple – much more than what I’ve found in shoes before – even expensive ones. It was hard to choose between the cute designs and I really wanted them all but neither the budget nor the space in the suitcase would allow for me to have one of each! In the end, we bought three pair – one for my daughter and two for me!
6, Agias Theklas, Athens
+30 211 410 1726
Are sandals from the poet sandal maker a MUST have in Greece? Maybe not. The original poet sandal maker isn’t there anymore and the store is crammed full of people all the time. I did pop my head in once in spite of the crowd thinking I would look around. The door barely opened as there were so many people and they all seemed a bit exasperated. I shut the door and moved on.
Consider a fantastic, peaceful experience just a few doors down and get a really, really cute shoe! I love mine.
Read more about traveling in Greece in these related posts!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist