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Allyson Felix

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How Olympian Allyson Felix Built Her Own Multi-Million Dollar Shoe Brand

Allyson Felix has made a name for herself in Olympic sports and business. Coming on the professional track scene in 2004, she has established a name for herself as a humble professional and businesswoman with solid core values.

Allyson Felix

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Allyson began her professional athletic career early. By 18, she had already earned a silver medal in the women’s 200-meter sprint at the Athens Olympics.

Today, she is the most decorated track and field athlete. A 5 time Olympian with 11 Olympic medals under her belt, Allyson has carved out a lane for herself and the many women she inspires with her athletic and entrepreneurial prowess.

Allyson Felix

Disrespected by Nike, Allyson Felix Fights Back

Allyson held sponsorship and endorsement deals with Adidas and Nike throughout her career. As a result, she was one of the most marketed athletes in Nike’s history. However, after going through a difficult pregnancy, she would discover that her sponsor to whom she was loyal, did not have fair practices surrounding maternity protections. This experience was a cause Allyson was prepared and determined to fight.

Black Olympian Fights for Maternity Protections

Giving birth to her daughter in 2018 was a life-threatening experience for the successful athlete. Experiencing pre-eclampsia, a condition that disproportionately affects black mothers, she had an emergency c-section eight weeks early.

As a result, she gave birth to her daughter Camryn who weighed only 3 lbs. This experience would be the catalyst for the fight she would encounter as a fierce advocate for the rights of athlete moms and females in general.

Following the expiry of her contract in 2017, Nike wanted to pay Allyson 70 percent less in her sponsorship deal than they did before her pregnancy. Shocked and disappointed, Ms. Felix publicly shared her experience, drawing awareness to female athletes’ unfair realities in the male-dominated sports industry.

As a result of her advocacy, Felix was able to inspire other female athletes to speak out about the unfair experiences they have had. In doing so, Nike was forced to change its maternity policy for all its athletes in August 2019. In addition, the enhanced maternity protections guarantee pay and bonuses for 18 months around pregnancy. Other athletic apparel companies have since followed suit.

Allyson Felix

Olympian Secures New Apparel Deal with Gap Inc.

Despite having no sponsorship representation during her last national championship appearance in 2019, Allyson forged ahead and boldly chose to overcome one of the biggest obstacles in her career. She realigned herself with an athletic brand that she believed shared her core values. As a result, she entered into a sponsorship deal with Athleta (owned by Gap Inc.) to sponsor her apparel. This deal made her the first sponsored athlete under the brand.

Felix’s Multi-Million Dollar Footwear Brand

Determined to continue making an impact for women, Allyson Felix successfully launched her female-focused shoe brand, Saysh, in 2019. Saysh’s core mission is “to undermine inequality with female athleticism and creativity.”

In May 2022, the brand successfully secured a multimillion-dollar deal in a round of funding that will enable them to expand its product offerings. The investment will help further the cause to design and offer shoes designed especially for women’s feet. The company will also be able to provide more maternity protections to its workers, increase its e-commerce presence, and expand its wholesale distribution.

When Nike tried to take her seat at their table, Allyson Felix chose to build her boardroom. Kudos to this fearless champ!

Tony O. Lawson


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Olympian Allyson Felix Launches Her Own Shoe Company After Leaving Nike

Allyson Felix is a four-time Olympian and one of the most accomplished sprinters in U.S. track and field history. She is also the president and founder of her own shoe company called Saysh.

Two years after her public split with Nike, Felix announced the upcoming fall launch of her lifestyle company. Felix didn’t present as an activist at first glance, but her op-ed detailing Nike’s failure to provide maternity protection for its sponsored athletes proved otherwise.

Felix has since embraced her role as a fierce advocate for working moms in sports, and now she’s given birth to a company that’s dedicated entirely to women. Saysh’s first shoe, the Saysh One, is already available for preorder on the company’s website.

From the brand’s simplicity and the airy silhouette of the premiere shoe, it’s clear that Saysh shoes are designed with the everyday woman in mind.

“It’s really about meeting women where they are,” Felix said in a recent interview. “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.”

With a company led by women—including designers and engineers, Felix aims to fight against the unequal sports industrial complex and create a more equitable world for women and mothers in sports.

If you’re wondering, the track star has been running in a Saysh track spike during the Olympic trials and will wear them in the Tokoyo Games as well. Felix confirmed her spot in this year’s Olympics a couple of weeks ago, so she will technically be the first athlete to run in her own brand.

You can watch Allyson Felix perform in the unreleased Saysh shoes during the Tokoyo Games, which start July 23rd.


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