Track star Allyson Felix branches out on her own after being dissed by Nike. Photo credit: Saysh website

Knowing her place: Olympic Sprinter Allyson Felix goes independent, launches new athletic footwear brand ‘Saysh’

Track star dashes from gender inequality at Nike to her own line.

After having words with Nike, six-time Olympic gold medalist, Allyson Felix launched her new athletic footwear brand for women by women, “Saysh.” The decision comes after being denied re-negotiation of an existing Nike contract while recovering from an emergency c-section. Unable to participate in her usual promotions, Felix advocated for maternal protections

The California native not only did this for herself, but also for other female athletes coming behind her who dared to step into the dual role of mother and professional athlete. “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,” expressed Felix. But Nike declined. 

After a challenging pregnancy, Nike showed an unwillingness to adjust her contract then cut her pay by 70 percent. To add insult, the American powerhouse athletic brand took things a step further by telling her to “know her place.” That statement was the catalyst that birthed her brand Saysh

Nike responded to Felix’s grievance by stating that the company has supported thousands of female athletes for decades. “We have learned and grown in how to best support our female athletes,” stated Nike.

On a mission

Saysh promises to maintain a digital platform and fashion line that promotes female creativity and athleticism to undermine inequality. Photo credit: Saysh blog

The 35-year-old mother launched Saysh with the hopes of using her voice to create change for women, mothers and those to be. The mission of the brand is to undermine inequality by way of female creativity and athleticism.  

Notably, there is a shade of difference between Saysh and other athletic footwear brands. With the purchase of a pair of “Saysh Ones,” customers will get access to the Saysh Collective. Becoming a member of the collective gives women access to virtual workouts, cooking classes, concerts and retail space events. Members of the collective will also be able to enjoy a sense of community by way of run clubs, fireside chats and interviews. 

“The purpose of achieving your dreams is to inspire others, but the real reward is the journey,” says Felix.

Bad track record 

As of late Nike’s track record has not been the greatest when it comes to female athletes. Recently, American Gymnast and Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles walked away from Nike and joined forces with Athleta, the athletic clothing unit of Gap Inc. CNN Business reports that Biles often went unnoticed while under contract at Nike.

“I admire Athleta for their commitment to recognize and support women’s individual and collective strength and, together, I believe we can help girls to confidently and passionately take on the world in their athletic endeavors and beyond,” Biles explained.

In addition to Biles, four time NCAA championship winner and Seattle Storm WNBA player, Breanna Stewart left Nike and signed with Puma after the German multinational corporation offered her a signature shoe deal. Years prior, Los Angeles Sparks WNBA all-stars Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike joined forces with Adidas because of their family oriented culture according to Slam Online

“I like the culture of family and also how much they express displaying and advocating individuality for the athletes…That’s definitely what drew me to Adidas,” said Nneka.

. . . .
Saysh shoes. Photo credit: Saysh

Currently, the Saysh One is available in black, sky blue and white in sizes 5.5 to 11. Design team members Tiffany Beer and Natalie Candrian created the sneakers with the proportionality of women’s feet in mind, as per Madamenoire

Felix founded Saysh along with her brother Wes Felix, American Sprinter. Citius Mag reported that the sister and brother duo derived the brand name from seiche waves – waves that move water back and restore order. Like the wave, Felix and her brother wish to restore order to women’s equality. The company is set to send out its first batch of sneakers in September 2021. 

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

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