Disclosure: I received a free pair of shoes from Pandere to review on The Lymphie Life. All opinions expressed here are my own honest impressions.
As someone living with lower extremity lymphedema, finding shoes is a challenge. Boots can especially be hit-or-miss when it comes to proper fit: not only is there my puffy foot to accommodate, but my swollen ankle and calf, too. And if there’s a zipper up the side? Oh, man. I’m lucky to get it pulled up halfway — maybe three-quarters, on a good day.
Fortunately there are lymphedema-friendly options out there, such as the shoes offered by Pandere.
Pandere, a woman-owned company based in Alaska, makes functional, fashionable footwear for people with “unique feet” like us. I’ve been wearing their sneaker-style shoes for a while, so when they reached out to me asking if I’d like to try their new winter boot option (aptly named the Alaskan), I was all in.
The team at Pandere were also kind enough to offer a special discount to you, readers of The Lymphie Life. The details are listed at the end of this review!
The Alaskan is a winter boot designed with unique feet — and warmth — in mind.
For those familiar with Pandere shoes, the Alaskan shares a lot of the signature features found on their other styles, such as the expandable toe-box, mid-foot, and ankle, and adjustable toggles at the top and back of the shoe.
The Alaskan is handcrafted in Portugal using high-quality, durable materials like fine nubuck leather, stretch panels of neoprene, and anti-slip bottoms made of recycled rubber.
The outside of the boots are weather-proofed to keep you dry in rain, sleet, or snow. Meanwhile, the insides are lined in a soft, fleece-like material for warmth, with memory foam insoles that offer arch support and a solid heel cushion. The insoles are also removable to accommodate custom orthotics, or to swap out with a different insert if needed.
I live in the American Mid-Atlantic region, which can get pretty chilly — especially in the early morning hours when I’m leaving my apartment for work.
Since receiving the boots, I’ve been wearing them during my commute to and from work: thanks to their adjustable toggles and stretchy panels, the Alaskans easily accommodate the thick layers of my compression garments and regular socks, while the fuzzy lining keeps my feet warm and cozy as I walk the half-mile or so to my bus stop.
And although there’s no snow at the moment to test the shoe’s tread, I can tell that the corrugated soles will allow me to walk slippery sidewalks and slushy streets with ease.
Style-wise, the boots are cute: they look like many of the winter boots out there, which is to say they don’t stand out as a lymphedema-specific shoe. (Upon first seeing them, my sister was pleasantly surprised to learn they were adaptable fashion and not a “regular” boot.) They’re stylish, well-made, and on-trend, which is all I could ever hope for in a lymphie-friendly shoe.
They’re also comfortable for all-day wear. This past weekend, I wore my Alaskans during a day-long excursion around the city with a visiting friend. Between walking to brunch, bus stops, and wandering around an art museum for hours, we probably walked about 10 miles total.
By the time we got home I was definitely feeling tired, but my feet were not: the boots kept them supported all day long. To paraphrase the words of Nancy Sinatra, these boots are made for lymphedema and for walkin’!
My bottom line? It can be difficult to find a shoe that’s both sturdy and adjustable, but Pandere once again hits all the marks with the Alaskan. If you live in an area that gets chilly weather, these are a boot worth buying. They’ve got the holy trifecta of desired qualities in a lymphie-friendly shoe: comfort, style, and support.
If you have lymphedema, the Alaskans are ideal for folks with mild to slight swelling; they’re also a comfortable option for non-lymphie people in need of a wide, supportive shoe.
I’ve said this before in my last Pandere shoe review, but I can’t stress it enough: their shoes are a must-have for those with lower limb lymphedema, because they’re designed with lymphies in mind — literally. Co-founder Laura Oden has lymphedema herself, so she understands firsthand the need for a comfortable, adaptable shoe that doesn’t sacrifice style. As a result, we get these beautiful, well-made shoes thoughtfully designed with our unique needs in mind.
Interested in a pair of Pandere shoes? You can purchase them directly from Pandere’s online store. (As of this writing, the Alaskans are available for $214.) You can also keep up with the latest from Pandere via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Special promotion for Lymphie Life readers 🎉
For being a Lymphie Life reader, you get a special 30% discount on any style through March 31st at 11:59PM! Just type in LymphieLife30 at checkout. The team at Pandere wants to help you find the right style for your unique feet: Just go on their website www.pandereshoes.com and chat with an online fit specialist.
This is a limited-time offer that expires 11:59 PM on March 31, 2020.