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Three days after qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and roughly two years after her publicized split with Nike, Allyson Felix announced Wednesday that she is launching her own shoe company.
The company, called Saysh, plans to ship its first shoe – the Saysh One – this fall and is also marketing a subscription-based community called "the Saysh Collective." Founded by Felix and her brother Wes, Saysh boasts a majority-women leadership team and shoes that are "designed for and by women," according to a news release.
“All of my experiences of becoming a mom and of raising a daughter helped show me my true competitor: inequality," Felix said in a statement. "The launch of Saysh is another step towards greater equity for each of us, and when you see me run, know that I’m running towards family, towards motherhood."
The news comes a little more than two years after Felix, one of the most decorated U.S. Olympic athletes ever, separated from Nike, her longtime sponsor. In a New York Times op-ed published in May 2019, Felix claimed the company sought to cut her deal by 70% following the birth of her first daughter, Camryn, and declined to provide guarantees in the event that her level of performance dropped in the months immediately after her pregnancy.
Nike has since created new maternity protections for athletes, and Felix went on to sign with apparel brand Athleta.
Felix qualified for her fifth Olympics on Sunday by finishing second in the 400-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials – and she wore a yet-to-be-released Saysh brand of track spikes while doing so. The company claims in a news release that it marks the first time in track and field "that an athlete will be racing in her own brand."
Felix also plans to wear the Saysh spikes when she competes at the Tokyo Games, which begin July 23.
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Allyson Felix launches shoe company ahead of 2021 Tokyo Olympics