As the first company to make athletic shoes especially fit for women and as a supporter of trailblazing women, Rykä has teamed up with Chanel Miller—author of Know My Name, artist, and survivor—on the Courage Sneaker, an inspiring, limited-edition shoe release.
This exclusive design of Rykä’s top-performing Dynamic Pro style features original illustrations by Chanel. These illustrations were created for Futures Without Violence and dedicated to its forthcoming Courage Museum.
Introduced to the world as Emily Doe in the victim impact statement she wrote following her assault on Stanford University’s campus, Chanel has since shared her name and her experience publicly, prompting change to California law and inspiring thousands of fellow survivors to come forward and share their stories. Her illustrations tell a story of courage, love, and self-acceptance. The main character, the lion, is a symbol of courage, while the graphic treatment of the text is spread like a mantra throughout the upper print. Inside, there is a special message for the wearer on the insole from Chanel: “Love is where courage is born.” The design is accented with Chanel’s favorite color, cherry blossom pink.
“Courage is a term that is often affiliated with bravado and chest puffing. The lion I created is very gentle and curious. Courage is staying present, not running away from the feelings that catch up to you, listening to what your mind is saying when it’s not suffocated by distractions. Courage is getting to know and accept yourself,” said Chanel.
She continues, “I love that this sneaker will serve as a foundation for your body. That even if there’s chaos in your mind, you can take a moment to feel solid wherever you are standing.”
The Rykä brand believes in the importance of supporting women forging new paths. Rykä’s founder, Sheri Poe, was not only a trailblazer in the women’s athletic footwear market, but also an outspoken sexual assault survivor. She gave voice to a topic that was silenced at that time, and it is Rykä’s goal to pay tribute to her mission with this collaboration.
“Futures Without Violence is the perfect organization for us to partner with on our first-ever charitable collaboration,” said Debbie Krivelow, SVP and General Manager – Rykä. “Upon our initial conversation, they immediately connected with our brand story and believed we could share their important mission through this unlikely vehicle (shoes). It is a big responsibility and honor that we are proud to stand behind.”
Rykä will donate $25,000 of the proceeds of this shoe to directly benefit Futures Without Violence’s Courage Museum—an immersive learning experience that will encourage visitors to imagine and work toward a world without violence, hate, and discrimination.
“We are so proud to collaborate with Chanel Miller and Rykä on this innovative cause-marketing program to raise funds and awareness for the Courage Museum,” said Rachael Smith Fals, SVP, Futures Without Violence. “It is a bold and beautiful reminder that each of us has the power to harness courage for ourselves and each other in all that we do, to create safer and more equitable homes and communities for everyone.”
Chanel’s message has inspired the Rykä brand team, along with countless others worldwide. With this collaboration, Rykä is asking their community to post a picture and tag a courageous woman she admires with #stronglike to join in celebrating courage and strength in all women and raising awareness for gender-based violence.
“Other women are the only reason I’m here today, visible and doing well,” said Chanel. “Whenever I feel depleted or have a hard time finding my way forward, I look to the women around me. This work is not about charging forward on your own, it’s about remembering you have a community around you who is there to share in your pains and joys.”
The Courage Sneaker is available exclusively on Rykä.com while supplies last.
I have over 10 years of experience in the retail industry including expertise in marketing, operations, merchandising, buying, shopping and technology. I am a former senior managing director of The School of Retailing, University of Alberta. My education includes a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from The University of Alberta in Marketing, Certificate in Real Estate and a Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Buying from LasSalle College, a Canadian private school founded in 1959 by fashion designer Jean-Paul Morin.