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Allyson Felix’s shoe brand Saysh to offer “intentionally sexist” return policy for pregnant women

The new policy allows women to exchange their shoes should their foot size change during pregnancy

Days after Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in track and field history, announced 2022 would be her last season of competitive running, she also implemented an industry-leading return policy for her shoe company, Saysh. The policy allows women to return shoes, no questions asked, should their foot size change during pregnancy (which commonly happens). If they need a new pair of shoes, new ones will be sent free of charge, in the proper size.

“A huge turning point in my life was becoming a mother—it opened my eyes to so much,” Felix told Footwear News this week. “As a runner, I have to pay attention to every little change in my body, and I went through a lot of change during pregnancy. I didn’t even realize that my feet could grow that much. I was tired of begging brands to meet me where I was, as both an athlete and a mother, and I was tired of sacrificing comfort and style. So I decided to make my own rules,” she says. 

Advocating for all women, but especially athletes

Felix began actively advocating for pregnant women and athletes in 2019, when she spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives about the disparity in maternal mortality (which is significantly higher among Black women). Felix had serious complications while giving birth to Camryn, her daughter, in 2018, which moved her to outline the medical risks disproportionally experienced by African-American women.

Beyond advocating for better medical treatment for women, she also helped cause a pregnancy-policy reform across the sport of track and field when she spoke out against her former sponsor, Nike, in 2019. Felix said she felt pressure to come back to competing as soon as possible after giving birth, even though she had spent time in the hospital with preeclampsia (often characterized by high maternal blood pressure), and was not yet ready. 

Make your own shoes

Shortly after speaking out against Nike and their lack of support throughout her pregnancy, Felix signed with clothing company Athleta. A few months later, she launched her own shoe company, Saysh.

Saysh is a company that aims to put women front and centre, Felix said in a Ted Talk this week, “I feared that I would be forced to choose between motherhood and being a competitive athlete [when sponsored by Nike]. Getting pregnant in track and field has been called ‘this kiss of death.'” She continued to say that her mission is to help people to not “have to choose between parenting and doing the work that they love.”

The Saysh One, the first shoe Felix has brought to market, is $150 USD and comes in three colours.