Olympic track and field star Allyson Felix has been an advocate for pregnant women and mothers since 2019, when she publicly parted ways with Nike over its unfair policies regarding pregnant athletes.

Now, Felix is ​​once again offering support for moms-to-be by introducing the footwear industry’s first maternity return policy to his sneaker brand Saysh.

Saysh’s maternity return policy allows customers who have purchased a pair of Saysh sneakers – either from the brand or through a wholesale partner – to exchange the shoes for a new pair of a different size if their size foot changes during pregnancy. It will run on the honor system, with “no strings attached”, according to the brand. To receive the new pair, customers simply email their request to Saysh.

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“A big turning point in my life was becoming a mother – it was so eye-opening,” said Felix, whose daughter, Camryn, was born in 2018. “As a runner, I have to pay attention to every little change in my body, and I went through a lot of changes during pregnancy. I didn’t even realize my feet could grow so much. I was tired of begging brands to meet me where I was, I am both an athlete and a mother, and I was sick of sacrificing comfort and style, so I decided to set my own rules. At Saysh, we hope this policy establishes an expectation that women should only never having to sacrifice their role as mothers for anything.


The Saysh One lifestyle sneaker in white.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Saysh

The program – which the brand shamelessly calls an “intentionally sexist return policy” – was developed by two Saysh team leaders, consultant Tiffany Beers and product manager Lauren Phillips, who also helped the brand award-winning to develop her Saysh. A lifestyle sneaker launched in June 2021.

“I’m a mother myself, so I’ve seen firsthand how much sacrifice we have to make,” Phillips said. “At Saysh, we don’t want our customers to make those sacrifices, especially when it comes to their footwear. Tiffany and I were inspired by Allyson’s pregnancy story and wanted to create an offering that would set a precedent, just like Allyson did on and off the track. We hope Saysh can continue to be the catalyst for this larger movement.


Allyson Felix Saysh

Allyson Felix wears a pair of sneakers from her Saysh brand.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Saysh

The most decorated woman in the history of Olympic athletics, Felix sparked many public conversations in 2019, when she penned a moving op-ed in The New York Times explaining why she left longtime sponsor Nike the previous year, due to reduced pay during and after pregnancy. While she was ready to take the pay cut, Felix said in the post that she disagreed with the “enduring status around motherhood.”

This passionate stance has led Felix to advocate for mothers in numerous ways, including testifying before Congress about black maternal mortality and recently meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House as part of the Day of Action for maternal health.

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At Saysh, she was also able to rewrite some of the rules of the male-dominated athletic shoe world. And although Felix announced last week that she plans to retire from competition at the end of the 2022 season, she is having a lasting impact on the sports industry through her advocacy.

Nike has since revised its policy towards pregnant athletes to ensure fair compensation. On the product side, the Swoosh and other brands have also launched clothing collections aimed at this segment of the female market. And next month, women’s sneaker brand Ryka will launch the first line of performance footwear for active moms-to-be.

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