Two years ago, Olympic runner Allyson Felix and Nike announced they had parted ways — now the athlete is launching her own shoe company.
Felix announced the launch of “Saysh” on Instagram. She says the brand that she says “represents hope, acceptance, and the power to create change.”
“When you see me run, know that I’m not running for medals. I’m running for change. I’m running for greater equity for each of us. I’m running for women. More than anything, I’m running toward a future where no woman or girl is ever told to know her place,” Felix wrote.
Felix’s split from Nike was not an amicable one. The six-time Olympic gold medalist detailed the split in an op-ed published in the New York Times.
Felix said that she wanted to start a family but also that it could potentially torpedo her longtime sponsorship deal with Nike. She said she felt pressure to rush back to training to keep her gig with Nike, even after an emergency C-section in November 2018 to deliver her daughter, Camryn.
Nike did offer Felix a deal — but it was 70% less than her pay prior to her pregnancy. She felt she had been discriminated against.
“My disappointment is not just with Nike, but with how the sports apparel industry at large treats female athletes,” she wrote. “This isn’t just about pregnancy. We may stand behind the brands we endorse, but we also need to hold them accountable when they are marketing us to appeal to the next generation of athletes and consumers.”
“Protection during maternity isn’t just limited to Olympians; working women all over the U.S. deserve protection when they have children. We shouldn’t have to rely on companies to do the right thing. Our families depend on it,” she concluded.