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After falling out with Nike, Allyson Felix has launched her own shoe brand

·2-min read
Photo credit: Steph Chambers - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steph Chambers - Getty Images

Six-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix has launched her own shoe brand ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

On Wednesday, Felix announced the launch of Saysh, a brand ‘for and by women’, according to an Instagram post written by Felix. She wrote: ‘When you see me run, know that I'm not running for medals. I'm running for change. I'm running for greater equity for each of us. I'm running for women. More than anything, I'm running toward a future where no woman or girl is ever told to know her place.’

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The brand’s first product is the Saysh One, a ‘breathable, everyday sneaker’ that currently retails for $150 (£108). The shoe will be available from September, or can be pre-ordered now via the Saysh website.

The announcement follows a high-profile dispute with her former sponsor Nike over their maternity policy back in 2019. Felix wrote in the New York Times that after she became a mother, Nike wanted to pay her 70 per cent less than before. Although the company later changed its maternity policy to expand protections for female athletes who become pregnant, Felix chose not to renew her contract at the time, instead becoming female clothing brand Athleta’s first ever sponsored athlete.

As a result, she wrote on social media, ‘When it came to the Olympics this year, I didn't have a sponsor for my racing spikes.’

‘I was tired of asking for change,’ she added. ‘I knew I needed to create it.’

Speaking to Time magazine about the launch, Felix said women’s footwear suffered from a ‘shrink it and pink it’ mentality.

‘It’s really about meeting women where they are,’ she added. ‘It’s for that woman who has been overlooked, or feels like their voice hasn’t been heard. That was the biggest thing when I spoke out, was hearing from other women across industries. And having such a connection there, feeling like it’s so much bigger. There’s just that power in the collective.’

Felix came second in the women’s 400m race at the US Olympic trials last Sunday, qualifying for Tokyo, her fifth Olympic Games. She is currently tied with Jamaican Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time, having won nine medals, six of them gold.

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