it’s not just about running for Allyson Felix.
Two years removed from her very public breakup with shoe giant NIKE over the treatment of pregnant athletes, the most decorated woman track star of all time has officially released her own lifestyle brand, Saysh, and she is kicking things off with a sneaker and a strong message.
In an interview with TIME announcing the brand launch, Felix, who just qualified for their fifth Olympics, explained that her brand is focused on “meeting women where they are.” With the Saysh One ($150), her debut sneaker, that meant designing a shoe made for women’s feet.
Saysh’s first release, the Saysh One shoe, is available for pre-order now over on @bySaysh. Stay tuned for an Athleta limited edition color coming later this summer. 👀#PowerOfShe #AthletaxAllyson pic.twitter.com/uGE0VaNgBy
— Athleta (@Athleta) June 25, 2021
The 35-year old sprinter believes the women’s footwear market doesn’t meet the physical needs of its customers, so she made sure the Saysh One included a narrower heel and wider forefoot to accommodate the different contours of a woman’s foot.
Even beyond that, Felix explained that the brand is “for that woman who has been overlooked, or feels like their voice hasn’t been heard.”
In retrospect it’s a feeling the Olympian unfortunately knows all too well. During her sponsorship battle, she says Nike “did not support her maternity and her colleague’s maternity in a way that she could be proud of. I was told to know my place,” Felix said in an open letter on Saysh’s website.
“That runners should just run, that it’s just business, “ Felix lamented. “Instead, I spoke up.”
Felix did so through a powerful New York Times op-ed that proved to be a pivotal turning point, as other women athlete began to come forward with similar stories.
Felix meanwhile accepted a new sponsorship with Athleta, who will also sell Saysh Ones on it’s website beginning in August.
Felix perservered following her blithe dismissal. Her experience with Nike, and her experience with pregnancy, delivery and motherhood which has changed her and forged a new path of existence. In doing so, she knows others will benefit.
- She knows her place and it’s dang-where she pleases.
Now she’ll head to Tokyo looking to further capitalize on the momentum she’s built leading up to the postponed Summer Games of 2020.
In ending let me say it’s a safe bet that she will do just that in Japan’s capital city.