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CoolShoes - Abbadabba's

Atlanta’s Premier Source for Innovative Comfort Footwear

  • Get Ready 4 Spring: A Healthy Pedicure

    Finally! Sandal season is upon us! Spring is the time when our toes get to come out from hiding from our UGG boots, rain boots, knee-socks and snuggly slippers. Are your toes ready to see the light of day?  If they’re anything like ours, then….probably not. Am I right?

    Kristen-Beach-PediSo, first order of business is a pedicure. But we’re not talking any old strip-mall nail shop pedicure...we’re talking about a healthy pedicure. Getting a pedicure is a time-honored way for women - and men! - to pamper one’s self and relax. But did you know that they are also good for your feet?  There are numerous health benefits associated with pedicures.  You just have to make sure you’re getting them done the right way. Otherwise, they may have the opposite effect.

    First we’ll look at the benefits of getting a pedicure. Of course there are the obvious benefits of relaxation, and perhaps more importantly...not having your feet resemble Bilbo Baggins and his Hobbit feet.  But the benefits don’t stop there. The foot massage that accompanies most pedicures can help stimulate circulation in your feet and lower legs. The increased blood flow helps prevent clotting, and is good for the overall health of your feet. Removing calluses and excess dead skin can help prevent the formation of painful pressure points on your feet, caused by uneven weight distribution. Regular pedicures can also help prevent ingrown toenails, blisters, and blackened toenails (especially common among runners).

    Next, we want to stress that pedicures are not solely (pun not Babe-Ruth-Pediintended) for the ladies.  Many guys are getting in on the action. It’s not just for vanity reasons, either. (Although avoiding “Hobbit Feet” is as good a reason as any.) Many spas are now offering “Sports Manicures” for athletes who are notoriously hard on their feet. Athletes know how important foot health is to their overall well-being and performance, and pedicures can help. Hey dude, if Babe Ruth, Tim Tebow and David Beckham can do it, so can you!

    So now that you the health benefits of a pedicures, here’s a little primer of the do’s (COOL) and dont’s (NOT COOL) of getting a healthy pedicure:

    #Kristen-Birkenstock-Pedi1 ON THE NOT-COOL LIST: Never, ever, ever stick your feet in a jacuzzi tub. Do NOT be charmed by the allure of that bubbling cauldron of fungus and bacteria. I know it may feel good in the moment, but it certainly won’t a week later when you are fighting a fungal or bacterial infection on your feet.

    COOL: Your pedicurist uses a freshly cleaned and sterilized bowl or bath in which to soak your feet.

    NOT-COOL: You do not see a sterilizer for the pedicurist’s tools.

    COOL: Your pedicurist is using stainless steel tools that are sterilized before and after every use and client.

    NOT-COOL: Shaving your legs before a pedicure. Shaving leaves tiny cracks and micro-tears in your skin, in which bacteria can enter. That goes for you, too, guys. That is SO not cool.

    COOL: Pedicurists who cut or file toenails straight across in order to prevent ingrown toenail.

    NOT-COOL: Cutting cuticles. DO NOT CUT CUTICLES. STOP IT. JUST NO. Cuticles are there to protect your nails from microbes.  They are part of our body’s many natural defense mechanisms. It is perfectly fine for the pedicurist to apply natural oils to your cuticles and to push them down gently, but do not let them cut.  Your cuticles and the skin around your nails should never look red after a pedicure.

    And finally...COOL...a pedicurist who is more concerned by your foot health and comfort than how many feet come in and out of his/her door or what color polish you choose.

    Some Atlanta nail salons, we endorse and love:

    Wax-ATL/Buff Nail Care (Inman Park/O4W)

    10Ten Nail Bar (various locations)

  • Abbadabba's - Where Women Matter

    This Sunday, March 8th, marks the 107th International Women’s Day, a day to recognize and celebrate women across the world and their accomplishments.  It’s also a day to educate people about the struggles of inequality many women, both here and abroad, still face. In the United States, the celebration has been extended to the entire month of March and dubbed “Women’s History Month.”  Therefore, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to reach out to our Coolshoes Community, and celebrate the fact that we have been a majority women-founded and operated business in Atlanta since the 1970s.

    janice-abernethyIn fact, the business was birthed four decades ago by one incredible woman, Janice “Abbadabba” Abernethy. Nearly forty years have gone by and the business - Abbadabba’s - has grown from a one-woman operation into a thriving company of 30+ employees, 4-store brick-and-mortar locations and an online store. It was Janice’s passion through the years that has kept Abbadabba’s going and growing.

    When asked about her tenure at Abbadabba’s, Janice replied “What an amazing and incredible ride it’s been! In the beginning I never envisioned anything other than doing it all myself, but as things grew I hired my first employee (a woman), and later enlisted the help of a bookkeeper (who also happened to be a woman). There was never meant to be an exclusion of men; it just seemed the business attracted women! Nurturing, fitting, following up, always trying to deliver on service and satisfaction….These are things women do so well.”

    Bill-and-janice-travel-3[We must mention that in 1986, however, Janice employed one very important man...her husband Bill Carmichael! In 1991 the couple incorporated the business, and its been owned 50/50 ever since.]

    But Janice isn’t the only woman of importance at Abbadabba’s.  With the exception of Bill, our CEO, our entire senior management team are women. This team of women works tirelessly and collaboratively to run the Abbadabba’s organization from finance to buying, e-commerce to store operations/human resources. All of the women in our senior management crew climbed the ranks from salespeople working with customers, to store management and then beyond. There’s no Glass Ceiling at Abbadabba’s.  We may be small, but the sky is our limit.

    “I can’t imagine Abbadabba’s without ‘Abbadabba’ [Janice] at the helm,” says Kristen Smith, Chief Financial Officer and 15.5 year employee of Abbadabba’s.  “I’ve learned so much about business, be it negotiating, merchandising or just attention to detail from Janice over the years. I would not be where I am today, either personally or professionally, if I hadn’t learned from one of the best.”

    We also have a very diverse staff, and an even more diverse market with women making up a majority of our customer base...many of whom act as the “Chief Buying Officers” of their own families. We’ve always made it our practice to pay our employees fairly, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexuality; and we’re committed to the same principles of fairness and equality in all of our dealings with our customers, our vendor partners, and all other entities with whom we engage. We value the needs of all of our Abbadabba’s “family” and provide benefits that help our extended family of employees and their families succeed, grow and thrive - from exceptional medical benefits, to a company-sponsored 401(k), to allowing for school schedules and paid sick days. It’s important to us to support our staff and view them all as individuals, rather than a cog in a machine or a number on a timecard.

    From Janice at the top all the way down to our newest employees on the sales floor, our company is filled with great female role models. Over the years, female employees have built upon their Abbadabba’s experience and moved on to high levels in other retail stores, to own their own businesses, to project management at renowned media, architecture and design firms, and more. We’re proud of their time spent working for our company, and we strive to continue supporting them as they move on to new ventures, as well. Women-owned businesses represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy. There are currently over 10 million women-owned businesses in the US, and we are proud to say we are one of them.

    To learn more please visit

    And to learn more about Abbadabba’s History, click here

  • Get Ready 4 Spring: Birkenstock Repairs

    While most of the country is still knee-deep into the dreary days of winter, we at Abbadabba’s are already thinking ahead to spring. The bulk of our shipments of sandals and flip-flops and all things spring are just a few weeks from coming in. And some things are already starting to trickle in, day by day...

    Birkenstock-Resole-AbbadabbasSo, what better time than now to take an assessment of your own spring and summer shoes, and see what needs a little makeover?  Did you know that you can actually repair your trusty, well-loved Birkenstock footwear to make them last longer?  Most Birkenstock sandals and clogs have an EPA sole that can be replaced when the edges or heels start to wear down.  The time frame for this wear-and-tear is unique to the individual owner. Some people are quite easy on their shoes, and their soles may last years.  Others are much harder on their feet or wear their shoes more often. These people will see greater or quicker wear. Some people experience pronation or supination that can cause uneven wear on the edges or heels of the soles.  All these problems can be repaired, if caught in time.

    Here’s where we can step in...We offer resoling options, using a local repair man in Atlanta.  He has done our repairs and customers’ repairs for many years, usually in a 2-4 week generally 2 weeks turnaround. There are also online outfits the can service our customers outside of the Atlanta-metro. One reputable outfit is Resole America.  (They also handle resoling for many of the other brands we carry, such as Wolverine, Naot, and more.)*

    Birkenstock-Cork-SealerThe cork footbeds can also be maintained and repaired.  We always recommend monitoring the exposed cork on the sides of your Birkenstock clogs and sandals to ensure that the cork is properly sealed.  When the shiny sealant on the exposed cork starts to wear off, revealing dull or dry cork, we recommend re-coating the exposed cork using Birkenstock Cork Sealer.  This is a must, if you want your Birkenstock sandals and clogs to live long, happy lives.

    One thing to remember though….

    Take care of your Birkenstocks and they can last as long as these - over 15 years! Take care of your Birkenstocks and they can last as long as these - over 15 years!

    Cool Rule #1: DO NOT APPLY CORK SEALER TO THE SUEDE FOOTBED. If you do so, you have essentially ruined your sandals, and we can’t help you after that. Apply ONLY to the exposed cork around the sides of the shoe. We know that may sound obvious to most of you, but believe us, you guys….we’ve seen it all over the last few decades!

    If you notice that your cork has been damaged, worn down, or is flaking away, it can usually be filled in. There are some situations the cork is too worn for an effective/lasting repair, and the only option is to replace the shoe.  However, if you maintain your cork and seal it using the Cork Sealer, you should get many many wears (years!) out of your shoes.

    Other repairs can include suede footbed liner replacement, replacement buckles and stitching, regluing  of straps, and more.  We encourage you to bring in any and all of your Birkenstock sandals lurking in your closets and waiting for spring, so we can evaluate them for any repair needs.  That way, you’ll be ready to go once those azaleas start blooming and the temps start to rise.

    Resole prices range from $42 - $55. Minor, miscellaneous repairs (cork work only, buckles, etc) range from $5 - $20.

    *Resole America is not affiliated with Abbadabba’s -, but many of our customers have used this outfit.  We make no satisfaction guarantees regarding Resole America’s work.

  • ABBADABBA’S GIVES BACK: The Giving Kitchen

    Birkenstock-Kitchen-2_cropAs featured in our last blog, we’re a little food-obsessed at Abbadabba’s.  But how can we not be when we have such a dynamic and exciting “food scene” here in Atlanta? We could pick a different restaurant in which to eat everyday for a month, and still not run out of options.

    A healthy restaurant industry brings with it thousands of jobs to

    Birkenstock, Profi-Birki, $89.95 Birkenstock, Profi-Birki

    Atlanta and the surrounding communities.  As these employees spend long hours each day on their feet working in kitchens, behind bars, and serving the front-of-house, they need good, supportive footwear to provide them comfort and support. And for years these employees have been coming to Abbadabba’s to find just that sort of support.


    To thank this industry for its decades of support, we not only want to continue offering “supportive” footwear, but we want to give them financial support by partnering with The Giving Kitchen. The Giving Kitchen (TGK) is a nonprofit charity based in Atlanta, GA inspired by an overwhelming expression of support from the hospitality industry when Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger was diagnosed with last stage cancer in December 2012. From helping with the cost of living expenses to funeral arrangements, TGK provides emergency assistance to members of the metro Atlanta restaurant community.

    On Saturday, Feb 14, 2015 - Valentine’s Day - we will be donating 5% of sales at all 4 Atlanta locations as well as our online sales to The Giving Kitchen.


    Valentine’s Day, one of the 5 busiest days for restaurants (second only to Mother’s Day), seemed like the perfect day for us to give back to our hospitality industry friends. CFO, Kristen Smith, says “From a company perspective we felt Valentine's Day was the perfect time to show our food service industry friends some love. They deserve our support, both through our shoes and our pocketbook, as they have patronized our business, nourished our bellies and souls for many years."

    "From my personal perspective as a small business employee dealing with metastatic breast cancer, I know what a financial and emotional blow unexpected crises can cause, in the workplace and home. TGK's mission spoke to me on a deep personal level, and I'm so happy that we can play a part in helping achieve its goals."

    We invite all of our customers to join us in supporting such a great cause, and shop Abbadabba’s - on Saturday, Feb 14th.

    To learn more about The Giving Kitchen and its mission please visit:
    Donate to TGK here.

  • Abbadabba's Featured in Dansko's Blog: "The Foodie's Guide to Atlanta"

    Atlanta shoe-store chain, Abbadabba’s, was started by Janice Abernethy (it’s her high school nickname) while husband-to-be Bill Carmichael was finishing up school at Emory University. The business started off as a tiny little crafts shop near Emory’s law school in the 1970s, later expanding into a booth at the Atlanta Flea Market, which was unfortunately displaced by MARTA’s rail station on Piedmont Road. After trying other flea markets, in 1981 Janice opened her first “real” store in Little 5 Points, Atlanta’s “alternative” neighborhood (one part Berkeley, two parts Greenwich Village, a splash of Coconut Grove and toss with Tara.)

    The original Little 5 Points store was a flea market in itself: toys, cards, gifts, jewelry, and some “funny looking shoes” in the back. In 1986, Bill left a career at Georgia-Pacific to join Janice full time, and the decision was made to focus on footwear. Within a year, shoes accounted for most of our sales. As Little 5 and its surrounding neighborhoods were rebirthed by urban pioneers in the early 1980s, the business, and its reputation for shoes that made sense, grew. In 1988, so did Janice, who gave birth to their daughter, Abba Charice Carmichael, on September 8, 1988.

    In the ensuing decades the business grew, and Abbadabba’s opened several more stores throughout metro Atlanta. They may have started off as a quirky, catch-all “gift shop-come-shoe store,” but their popularity and evolution into Atlanta’s premier source for innovative and comfort footwear took hold.  Today there are four Atlanta locations, as well as an online store

    Abbadabba’s customer base is diverse as Atlanta, itself.  Customers range from the young and hip, urban to suburban, aging hippies who have shopped the store for 4 decades, to Baby Boomers and soccer moms from the ‘burbs. It’s an eclectic family from its staff, its customers and the surrounding communities of each store.  To quote one of Abbadabba’s store managers, Ian Franco, (speaking to a customer) “We’re one big family here.  And now you’re a part of it, too!”

    As the customer base is diverse and eclectic, so is the shoe selection. As the focus of the store shifted to footwear, Abbadabba’s found its niche as an innovative and comfort shoe store.  They were the first to introduce “European-style comfort shoes” to Atlanta and the surrounding Southeast region.  They were one of the first retailers to stock Dansko footwear, and it has remained one of its top five brands for the past few decades.

    One of the biggest consumers of their Dansko clogs are the employees of the ever-growing -- and quite renowned -- Atlanta restaurant scene.  Atlanta has been named one of the top “food town destinations” in the US by Huffington Post and has been featured in many national publications from the New York Times to Bon Appetit. Abbadabba’s has been a proud supporter of its local food service industry “from the ground up” - or “feet up”, rather! - by carrying shoes that are perfect for those long hours in the kitchen.

    {Photo Credit, bottom left: Lauren Holley via Flickr, license]

    abbadabbas-dansko-foodieWhat better way to share the enthusiasm and support for Atlanta’s vibrant food scene than giving you 5 ways to “eat your way through Atlanta”!

    1. Check out Eater Atlanta’s “Eater 38” for a list of the top 38 restaurants in Atlanta, updated regularly.  Some favorites include: Bocca Lupo, Cakes & Ale, Holeman & Finch, Muss & Turners, and St. Cecilia

    2. Visit Southern Living’s #1 Best New Restaurant of 2014: Kimball House

    3. Visit Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Restaurant of 2013: The Optimist

    4. Take a stroll through Krog Street Market, a foodie’s paradise of food stalls and sit-down restaurants

    5. Shop one of the many farmers markets throughout the year for locally-sourced produce and homemade eats

    We hope you can check out all that Atlanta has to offer - both in shoe selection and good eats! And if you can’t make it to Atlanta, you can always shop Abbadabba’s Dansko selection, as well as all their offerings, online at

    [Photo Credit: Atl10Trader via Flickr, license]

    Thank you for spotlighting us, Dansko!

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