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Shoe shopping when you have lower limb lymphedema is, at best, a frustrating inconvenience.

At its worst, however, it can be a devastating and sometimes traumatic experience: I’ve stood in the middle of a shoe store on more than one occasion, crying while clutching two different sized shoes in each hand as a bewildered salesperson stands helplessly nearby.

It’s awful, but we’ve all been there at some point. We’ve all had to settle, too, for shoes that prioritize function and comfort over personal style; even still, some of us can’t fit into traditional styles and are resigned to wearing post-operative shoes.

That may soon change, though, as Alaskan company Pandere is working to give lymphies and other people with “unique feet” more options for footwear.

I’m really excited to see this happen. Pandere understands their customers and their needs in a way most companies don’t: not only is the company owned by three women, but one of the co-founders has lymphedema herself.

I met the ladies of Pandere a couple years ago at the LE&RN 2016 Walk to Fight Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases, so I know that when it comes to empowering people with lymphedema, they don’t just talk the talk — they walk the walk. Literally!

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After years of designing, planning, and prototyping, Pandere is ready to introduce their first shoe. Hooray!

Below is a press release from Pandere with more information about their company, their vision, and the product launch. There’s information about their crowdfunding campaign, too, should you consider supporting their efforts to make these shoes a reality.

Just like the expandable nature of their shoe design, the possibilities of Pandere are endless: once this shoe is successfully launched through the help of our community’s support, they’ll be able to develop more styles, including ones for children and men.

Three Alaskan entrepreneurs launch Pandere™ – stylish, expandable shoes for swollen feet

Pandere shoes expand three-dimensionally to offer adjustability in three key areas

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA Pandere™ Shoes, a startup company founded by three Anchorage-based entrepreneurs, offers one-of-a-kind shoes that can expand up to one and a half shoe sizes for optimal fit and support. The Pandere Shoe team has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce their innovative shoe line to the world, with a funding goal of $30,000. More than 23 million women in the United States suffer from swollen feet caused by edema, diabetes, pregnancy, cancer treatment, arthritis and a host of other conditions, with no effective solutions available. Pandere is the world’s first closed shoe designed to expand three-dimensionally, helping swollen feet sufferers live a more comfortable life.

Photo courtesy Pandere via their Kickstarter page.

Pandere patented shoes are expandable in three different areas: the toebox, the midfoot and the heel and ankle. With Pandere’s unique designs, the shoes expand up to 1.5 sizes in width and volume, yielding ultimate level of comfort without sacrificing one area of comfort for others. Edema, diabetes, pregnancy, arthritis and a host of other conditions can cause one or both feet to swell. Swollen feet sufferers often have to purchase two pairs of shoes in two different sizes depending on how their feet swell. Pandere shoes are designed to expand and adjust separately and in the right places for each individual foot.

“Finding shoes has been a lifelong struggle for me. I’ve had lymphedema for almost 40 years. Turns out, millions of women experience this struggle daily, and it’s time to do something about it,” said Laura Oden, Co-creator of Pandere. “We turned to Kickstarter because we saw ourselves on the leading edge of something that could impact millions of lives all over the world. We’ve heard the stories and silent struggles of women all around the world with this problem, and we decided it was time to give them a voice, and let them be heard.”

Pandere shoes are more attractive and stylish than orthopedic or extra wide shoe options on the market, allowing for women to wear them around town or even in a corporate setting. Pandere Shoes not only provide much-needed comfort, but also deliver confidence and a positive self-image to those who are experiencing something out of their own personal control. The shoes are made of high-quality leather and neoprene to accommodate feet of all shapes and sizes. Pandere shoes adjust to the wearer’s feet rather than them having to fit into constricting footwear sold in traditional stores.

Pandere shoes can currently be found on Kickstarter, in multiple color options, for $99. For more information, visit bit.ly/panderefacebook.

Photo courtesy Pandere via their Kickstarter page.

About Pandere

Co-founder Laura Oden has suffered from lymphedema, a fluid buildup that swells her feet to different sizes, for most of her life. For people like her, and others with diabetes, arthritis or injuries, attractive shoes can be impossible to find. In Laura’s search for the perfect shoe, she found that no other company is making stylish shoes for people who don’t fit into regular sizes. Laura and her other Co-founders, Celia Crossett and Ayla Rogers, believe that everyone deserves a shoe that fits, so they began their journey to create Pandere. For more information, visit bit.ly/panderefacebook.