Before I came over to study in Greece, there were two things that I knew I would purchase during the semester: a Turkish rug and hand made leather sandals. Well, I left Istanbul with my carryon stuffed with two Turkish prayer rugs and I think that I will have to pay another visit to Melissinos before my time in Athens comes to an end. Melissinos the Poet Sandal Maker of Athens is a historic shop established in 1920 by Georgios Melissinos who passed the business to his son Pantellis, graduate of Parsons School of Design, who currently runs the workshop. Located off Ermou near the central Monastiraki Square, the shop makes tailor-made sandals and has attracted thousands of tourists, not to mention many celebrities.
I walked over to the shop with a friend on a Sunday to finally get myself a pair of these highly desire sandals. The shop was filled with about ten other customers including one of our classmate’s family who was visiting from the states. We were handed a brochure that showed pictures of about 25 different pairs of sandals ranging from €35-50 and we were asked which ones we would like to try on. After guessing my correct shoe size, I tried on a pair of the “Aeolian 2.” I immediately liked them and decided that this was the pair I wanted to get. The straps were then adjusted (similar to how Chaco straps are pulled tighter or looser) and then nailed down so that the sandals fit me perfectly. The straps were punched with holes so that they could be fastened and then the excess was cut off. The whole process took about twenty minutes even with the store being filled with other customers. We both paid in cash (paying with a card is not a thing in Greece). It is worth noting that both the Poet and his helper speak some of the best English that I have heard at a store or restaurant. Overall, a wonderful no-stress situation. Hopefully these sandals will hold up over the next month and I will be back in May for another pair.