Buy local: Pandere Shoes

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Laura Oden has a condition called lymphedema which causes swelling in an arm or leg – and for her, it resulted in really, really hard-to-fit feet. For years, she struggled to find shoes that fit. There was nothing on the market that worked, and she wasn't alone. It's estimated that up to 10 million Americans and hundreds of millions people worldwide have the same condition.

So she had an idea- why not make her own shoe? Something that expanded and could accommodate the changing size of her foot....

Enter Pandere – a shoe company dreamed up in Anchorage that has the potential to greatly improve the lives of millions of people all over the world. Pandere was founded by Laura, along with fellow Anchorage entrepreneurs Celia Crossett and Ayla Rogers. Since starting the company in 2016, they have won a number of awards, including first place in the 2016 Anchorage Start-up Weekend,  third prize in the 2016 Arctic Innovations Competition and first place in the 2016 national One Million Cups competition.

They have broken into the footwear industry's inner circle, meeting with shoe hotshots (such as the founder of Frye boots) and scoring a talented Italian shoe designer. They are really close to introducing their first shoe design and launching a crowdfunding campaign to put their first round of shoes on the market.

Laura, Celia and Ayla are talented, driven Alaskans. Follow them on Instagram and consider supporting them when they launch their crowdfunding campaign this spring.