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CoolShoes - Abbadabba's

Atlanta’s Premier Source for Innovative Comfort Footwear

  • 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!

  • First Time Dr. Martens!

    JessicaM-Docs_3_edLike a lot of folks born and raised in the ATL, Abbadabba’s has been on my radar for most of my life. In middle school, rumors of the coolest shoe store situated in one of the edgiest neighborhoods started flying around. By the time I got to high school, those whisperings had escalated to full blown shouts as tales of Converse, Vans, Birkenstock, and the most coveted shoe of all, Dr. Martens, all available under one roof, reached fever pitch. Kids skipped school to check out the neighborhood, and to come back with prized purchases (hidden from parents, natch) to be shown off the next day to much fanfare. “So and so got Docs” would fly through the ranks, and all us jealous kids would crane our necks to get a peek at the coolest shoes in school. See, it was more than just a boot or a brand. Back in the late 80’s and 90’s, if you saw someone else in a pair chances were you guys stood on common ground. Wearing Docs transmits a lot of info about the person wearing them without a word being spoken- artistic, music lover, socially conscious, a little (or a lot) rebellious. I HAD to have a pair! I think it took over a year of bargaining with my mom to convince her that I desperately needed these boots. I can still hear the arguments- “Think of the money you’ll save because you’ll NEVER have to buy me another pair of shoes. These will last forever! I can wear them everywhere!” And her response- “Those are so ugly and heavy looking. At least you’ll build up some leg muscle.” And with that I knew victory, and a pair of Dr. Martens, was mine!

    We made the trek to Little 5 Points from our tiny suburban apartment and my mom, a long-time resident of Atlanta, pointed out the places she used to live around the neighborhood. I had never known she used to live in Little 5, so this gave me a new perspective on her and the life she had before she had me. Mom was, well, cool! We parked and  walked around, stopping to look in Crystal Blue, and laughing at a restaurant called Eat Your Vegetables, housed in a place that would, ironically, later become the Vortex, famous for its burgers and take no nonsense attitude. Directly across the street from the laid back eatery was Abbadabba’s. Boom! Back then it was quite a bit smaller than the store is today. The whole neighborhood smelled like patchouli and Nag Champa, the classic incense, and Abbadabba’s was no exception. I wish I could say that I remember more about the interior. 25 years between now and then renders details a little hazy, but I do remember the walls being lined with all types of shoes I had never seen before- crazy disco platforms, knee high boots, sneakers of every kind. I had always been in a hurry to grow up before, but seeing all the crazy styles made me long for the day when I could wear whatever I wanted, starting with all these amazing shoes!

    JessicaM-Docs_1_ed_blkBut I was a girl on a mission- 8 eye Dr. Martens in classic black. Found them! The minute I put them on and looked at myself in the mirror I finally saw the person I always felt like on the inside. Fast forward 20 some odd years later and I’m working in our Little 5 Points store and this girl comes in, and she’s about 15 or 16 and her Mom is trailing her, cooing over all the array of shoes, talking about what was in style when she was younger. I walk over and ask them how they’re doing and ask if they have something particular in mind. Mom looks at the daughter, who looks back as if to say, “Are you sure?” In that moment I know why they’re here. The daughter walks over to the table full of Dr. Martens in colors and styles I could never have dreamed of, picks up the classic 8* boot in black and says “I want my first pair of Docs.”

  • Before You Store: Sandal Care

    Chaco-Shoes-in-a-boat-at-Abbadabbas-cool-shoesSummer may be gone, but we had such a blast that we aren’t bummed at all! We worked smart and played hard, and squeezed every ounce of awesome out of each summery day, and hope you did, too. From hiking in the mountains to shooting the ‘Hooch, we really put our Chaco, Keen, and various favorite sandals through their paces this year- one of us even thought that taking her Birkenstock Gizeh sandals for a wet, sandy bicycle ride on the beach was a great idea. (It’s not.) Luckily, Birkenstock is built to last and are generally repairable so a little minor cork work and a new footbed and voila, good as new. If you loved your Birks a little hard this year, or the past 10 years, it may be time to bring them by and have one of our knowledgeable associates take a look and evaluate to see if they need a little TLC. The most common repair is minor cork work and a resole, and it usually takes approximately 2 weeks. FYI, the soft footbed style sandals cannot be replaced. While we don’t actually do the repairs ourselves, we have been working with the same local, trusted repairman for over 15 years. Trust us when we say you’d rather wait those few weeks now, as opposed to spring when most folks think about bringing their sandals back out. Take care of them now, and they’ll be ready when you are!

    We know you guys love Chaco- what’s not to love in this sturdy, anatomically correct sandal that’s both tough as nails and provides the must-have accessory of every summer- Chaco tan lines! And with the ReChaco program offered through the company you can love your favorite pair for years to come, and keep a pair of footwear out of the landfills. Their website offers a comprehensive list of services and prices, from rewebbing to replacing buckles, and everything in between. Before tossing your sandals, check to see if yours can be given a second (or third, or fourth. . .) life. As they say, “Adventures come and go, but your Chacos stay on your feet.”

    Pegnguin-Spray-Ultra-Dry-Fabric-Protector-Abbadabbas-Cool-shoes-2Sometimes the only thing your sandals need is a good cleaning and refreshing. Before putting them away for the winter, give them a good wash with appropriate cleaner. Birkenstock makes a great Shoe Care Kit for leather, suede and nubuck. Also, check to make sure that the cork isn’t drying up and coming off- when the cork has lost its sheen is a good indicator that this is happening. If it is, a light coating of Cork Sealer, available in store and online at will condition and protect the cork from the elements. For Chaco, Keen and Merrell we recommend a gentle water-based soap like Nikwax Sandal Wash which cleans, refreshes and remove odors from sandals, footbeds and insoles. Air dry away from heat, and your sandals are fresh and ready to go next year!

  • How to Adjust Your Chaco Straps

    adjust-your-straps-chacoIf you’ve just purchased your first pair of Chaco sandals (or maybe your third!), you may be wondering how to adjust the straps to fit your feet “just right.”

    Correctly adjusted straps are actually just as important as finding the correct size. If you already own a pair of Chaco and don’t find them as comfortable as you had hoped, the problem may just be in the strap adjustment rather than the shoe itself.

    Good news! Here’s our handy-dandy guide on how to adjust the straps on the most popular Chaco styles. The steps vary slightly depending if your style has a toe-loop or not. We’ve listed the steps in bullet points, but if you’re more of a “visual learner” check out the videos from Brandon with Chaco at the end of the end of each step-by-step.

    For styles WITHOUT the toe loop

    You first want to open the straps up as wide as possible so you can get your foot into the shoe. To do so:

    • Start at the buckle on the outside of the foot & open the buckle.
    • Loosen the buckle strap by tugging the outside portion of the strap
    • Open the strap that goes across the top of the foot near your toes by tugging the outside.
    • Place your foot in the shoe.
    • Pull heel-strap around heel.

    To tighten:

    • Start with the top strap and tug from the inside of your foot until you reach a comfortable snugness.
    • Tighten the buckle strap from the inside until it fits snugly.
    • Close the buckle strap & VOILA! A perfect fit.

    For styles WITH the toe loop

    For the most part the instructions are the same; you just have one extra strap to adjust on these styles.

    Again, you’ll want to open the straps up as wide as possible so you can get your foot into the shoe. To do so:

    • Follow the first three steps above, starting on the outside of the foot.
    • Then loosen the toe loop on the same side you’ve been pulling from (outside)
    • Next loosen the “toe knuckle” (or mid-foot) strap that crosses your foot at a diagonal.
    • Place your foot in the shoe
    • Pull heel-strap around heel.

    To tighten:

    • Start with the “knuckle” of your big toe, pull up on the inside of the strap.
    • Tighten the toe loop.
    • Tighten the buckle strap from the inside until it fits snugly.
    • Close the buckle & you have now correctly adjusted your sandals!

    A good way to remember the toe-loop style adjustment process is: “Knuckle, Toe, Buckle”. And then perhaps, chuckle.

    Remember, if you take your Chaco sandals on and off by undoing the buckle instead of yanking them off, you are more likely to keep the straps adjusted the right way. This means you only have to go through this process once. Whew!

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