Allyson Felix isn’t done competing on the track just yet, but she’s focusing on much more than just running these days. After qualifying for her fifth Olympic appearance on Sunday with a second-place finish in the 400m at the U.S. Trials, Felix announced on Wednesday that she is launching Saysh, a lifestyle shoe brand for women, as reported by Time. Felix underwent a heavily publicized separation from Nike in 2019 after a dispute regarding the company’s maternity policy, and now, two years later, she has created her own shoe brand.
While she’ll remain with Athleta, the track star is taking full agency over her legacy with Saysh https://t.co/NcDCyVOOek
— TIME (@TIME) June 23, 2021
Felix’s dispute with Nike arose not long after she gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, in 2018. At 32 weeks pregnant, Felix suffered complications that required an emergency C-section. Following the sudden birth, Felix spent weeks in the hospital with Camryn, who was in the NICU.
Several months after Camryn was born, Felix spoke out against Nike, explaining how she felt pressured by the company to return to competition soon after giving birth, despite her extended hospital stay.
“I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth,” Felix said back then. “I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?”
During her pregnancy, 5x Olympian @AllysonFelix was told to know her place. The tension between being a mother and professional athlete sparked a desire to take action.
Introducing Saysh, a community-centered lifestyle brand for, and by, women.
— Saysh (@BySaysh) June 23, 2021
After splitting with Nike, Felix signed with Athleta, a female-focused apparel brand. The Time article notes that she will remain an Athleta-sponsored athlete, and the company will even sell Saysh One shoes (the first product released by Saysh) on its website starting in August.
The Saysh One costs US$150 and can be purchased on the Saysh website. Anyone who buys the shoe will also receive a lifetime “Saysh Collective” membership. The Saysh Collective is a digital subscription service that will give members access to workout videos, networking opportunities with other members and conversations with Felix and other women. A Saysh Collective membership can also be purchased on its own for US$10 per month.
Felix is the president of Saysh, and she has enlisted the help of her brother, Wes, who is the company’s CEO. Together, the two have raised $3 million from investors so far. Also on the team are a pair of former Nike employees who now work as Saysh’s head designer and engineer.
Dear World, and the women in it,
I Know My Place
— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) June 23, 2021
Felix and her team expect to release the Saysh One in more colours in the coming months, and they will launch a second shoe soon as well. There are also plans to get into apparel. Although not on the company website, Time reported that Felix has been competing in a pair of Saysh spikes, and she will continue to wear them at the Tokyo Games later this summer.
To learn more about Saysh, click here.