Why can’t I have cute sandals?
Pandere CEO Laura Oden’s lymphedema really took a hold of her life in 1998. By this point, she realized cute shoes were probably out of the picture for good. Adding to the challenges, her chronic swelling was just in one foot. The other foot was perfectly normal.
Finding a shoe to accommodate two different foot volumes turned out to be nearly impossible. Period.
For years, Laura was stuck wearing shoes that just didn’t fit. Too loose on one foot and too tight on the other. Anyone with chronic edema knows that if your shoe is too tight, it actually increases the swelling.
ONE LONE SANDAL WORKED
Only one pair of sandals in particular seemed to satisfy over this long stretch of time. They could be adjusted to accommodate both foot volumes with a hook and loop closure. The broad strap didn't cut into her swelling in the signature location of lymphies everywhere - the top of the foot (instep). And they were cute.
Photo: Laura's worn out sandals. Sheesh!
On the downside, these suckers were made on the cheap! The soles were thin with the minimal tread, which wore out quickly and created a slip hazard. By the time she finally had to let them go (b-bye!) wearing them had become a true danger. Even the side heel coverings were nearly gone showing the cheap plastic underneath that had been supporting her through all that time.
No replacement was shoe ever found. By now, everyone knows how the fashion industry works today. If you find a shoe that fits now, that company is unlikely to make it again in the future. Fashion requires that you can't have what you had last year. Forced obsolescence is at play.
In the past, Laura and plenty of others, had made many clever attempts to modify their own shoes to accommodate their conditions.
Photo: Lymphie DIY ingenuity!
This often involved cutting an upper so that the shoe opening had wider access. Or adding laces strategically to accommodate a larger foot. She knew that DIY shoe construction should not be the requirement to have a pair of shoes that fit!
Laura knew in her gut that that millions of people were simply being left out of the marketplace. This was the incentive for Laura and her co-founders to launch Pandere Shoes.
“People with normal feet just do not understand the struggle it is to find something that both feels and looks good. I was tired of looking like Fred Flinstone at a BBQ!”
FINALLY! AN ADJUSTABLE SANDAL!
Pandere’s first sandal, the Traveler, was released in May of 2020. We were completely out of stock within two weeks.
THE CONGA SANDAL
This month - May 2021, we are finally releasing a new version of Laura's old worn out beloved sandal. It's now called the Conga. (Cuz she definitely did a dance when she saw the final version!)
The Conga Sandal. Living large.
And it is WAY more comfortable than that old cheap sandal ever was! It's got arch support and the straps are much longer to accommodate more volume. And the heel is much flatter so you don't have to be 20 to wear them.
Throughout a strange pandemic year, with many delays in materials and shipping, the Pandere team proto-typed several new sandal styles to be for 2021. Pandere now has Wide and Extra Wide sandals, including slides which many customers were requesting. The new styles are - (drumroll please)!
The Calypso - Metallic and Black (for the Par-Tay)!
The Conga Sandal - Black and Camel (for Laura's sanity)
Pandere shoes are designed to fit unique feet. We love all foot shapes! Our shoes are great for:
- Chronic edema
- Temporary edema from being on your feet all day or flying
- High insteps
Pandere Shoes is the first company to make Expandable Footwear that expands in 3 directions. We are proud of our work and our company. Finally, now, you CAN have cute sandals too!
And we are just gotten started!
Photo: Laura Oden, Pandere CEO wearing the Traveler Sandal.
Also in Foot Freedom Almanac
Cara Cruz is a blogger, influencer, and mother. She promotes a body positive message and is a proud #lymphedemawarrior and #lipidemawarrior. Pandere is a big fan and we sat down to talk with Cara about her life and journey.
Shopping for shoes online when you have hard-to-fit feet can be a huge challenge! With no salesperson to talk to and no shoe to try on before you buy, the purchase is always a gamble.