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On Wednesday, Allyson Felix announced the launch of her new women’s lifestyle brand, Saysh.
Saysh created the racing spikes Felix ran in Sunday to make her fifth Olympic team, and they were sleek and oh-so-mysterious. At the time of the race, online sleuths found what looks to be a temporary brand website listing the pair of spikes at $2,500. On Twitter, it created a lot of buzz and speculation, winning the brand praise for its marketing brilliance.
It was a brilliant stroke of marketing. The half-built website with the $2500 price tag for the Spike One was sure to generate curiosity. Meanwhile, she already arranged the story through @TIME back in May, then had it released between the 400m and the 200m.#Brilliant
— David Monti (@d9monti) June 23, 2021
Today, Saysh’s official site does not have spikes listed for sale, but they are actively selling lifestyle sneakers. The Saysh One sneakers are available for pre-order in three colors for $150. Natalie Candrian, designer of the shoes, says she was inspired both by the feminine shapes of wrap dresses as well as the lines on a track, bringing together Felix’s worlds of casual and professional.
“These products mean so much more to me than simply the shoes I compete in. This brand represents hope, acceptance, and the power to create change,” the nine-time Olympic medalist said in an Instagram post.
Felix is sponsored by Athleta, but not by any shoe brand. Previously sponsored by Nike, she found herself struggling to secure protections for herself when she wanted to start a family. “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 wrote in a powerful New York Times opinion piece in 2019. When they couldn’t agree, they parted ways.
Two years without a shoe sponsor inspired her to take charge and start her own. “I was tired of asking for change. I knew I needed to create it,” she said in the announcement, which was posted on her Instagram.
“These products mean so much more to me than simply the shoes I compete in,” she said. “This brand represents hope, acceptance, and the power to create change.”
The company, of which Felix will serve as president alongside her brother, Wes, as CEO, will create more than just shoes. Beyond shoes, there will be a Saysh Collective, a digital subscription offering workout videos, networking opportunities with other members, and “inspirational conversations,” for a monthly fee of $10.
“[Saysh is] 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 said in an interview with Time.
Felix is planning to run in the Saysh Spike at the Olympics. This will be the first time a track and field athlete will race in their own brand.
“All of my experiences of becoming a mom and of raising a daughter helped show me my true competitor: inequality. The launch of Saysh is another step toward greater equity for each of us, and when you see me run, know that I’m running toward family, toward motherhood,” said Felix in a press release.
After the initial announcement came an outpouring of support from fans and fellow athletes alike. Felix followed up with an Instagram featuring a powerful photo of her posing with all of her medals and showing her C-section scar. For the most decorated track and field athlete of all time, whose sponsor was unable to support her fully during her pregnancy, it was a strong and clear message.
“I built [Saysh] because we didn’t see what we thought the world needed,” she said in the post. “The world doesn’t need more shoes, but the world does need to see women wholly and meet them right where they are. That’s what were hoping to do with [Saysh].”
- Allyson Felix Joins &Mother Board of Directors
- Allyson Felix: “Dream Maternity Showed Me That Speaking Your Truth Matters”
- Allyson Felix and Athleta are Breaking the Mold
Editor’s Note: This story is part of our 2021 U.S.A. Track & Field Olympic Trials coverage. You can find all of our stories here.