*Run*, don’t walk—Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2023 just arrived, and on it, a sporty pair of running sneakers that you’ll want to buy ASAP. Saysh’s The Felix Runners ($165) have swept Oprah off her feet, and for very good reason—they’re quite possibly the comfiest, most plush running shoes you’ll ever get your feet into.
Available sizes: 5.5-13, in half sizes
- Designed specifically for women’s feet
- Soft, foam midsole for premium shock absorption
- Rocker design for easier, pain-free movement
- Light and breathable
- Free maternity returns
- Neutral midsole might not be supportive enough for folks with low arches
Saysh is the athletic shoe brand of Olympian runner Allyson Felix, who is the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete in history, as well as an advocate for maternal health, gender equity in sports and the workplace, and women’s empowerment. After Felix herself struggled to find proper-fitting athletic footwear, she partnered with her brother, Wes, to launch a collection of sneakers designed to fit the female foot. Oprah is a long-time fan; the brand’s original One Sneakers made Oprah’s list in 2021.
What distinguishes the Felix? This plush shoe is Saysh’s entry into the maximalist support category, meaning it has a thick, cushioned sole and rocker design meant to provide comfort and prevent injury. Robert Lee, DPM, chief of podiatric surgery at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center, says the specs indicate that it’s supportive and built to protect bones and joints from impact on hard surfaces. “That’s a really thick sole,” Dr. Lee says. “The reason why you have these soles isn’t really for height, but it’s because it’s providing much more support and more shock absorption.”
They also make the motion of walking, jogging, or running more comfortable. Dr. Lee points out that the rocker design and rigidity of the sole mean that the wearer’s toes do not need to bend as much when ambulating. This protection, along with the cushioned sole, can be helpful for pain reduction since it minimizes back-to-front foot motion.
“We have a lot of patients who suffer from metatarsalgia, which is just generalized forefoot pain,” Dr. Lee says. “The balls of their feet hurt with running or standing, and this [support and rocker design] eliminates that because now it takes that pressure away from that area.”
One thing to note is that while the shoe is designed to be a support shoe, it is not a “stability shoe,” which is a type of shoe specifically meant to correct pronation (aka, the collapsing and rolling in of the arch.) Instead, the Felix has a neutral midsole. This design works best for people with average-height arches; people with low arches should look for something with more stability, meaning more motion control and denser support in the instep.
But Saysh does intend the Felix to work for a variety of women, whether they’re runners, walkers, or looking for something comfortable to stand in. Saysh’s podiatric consultant, Sandi Nagata, DPM, also points out that the narrower heel design based on the mold of a woman’s foot (versus men who tend to have wider heels) might help improve fit for more women.
“This can cause foot fatigue [which] translates to soreness in the arch, heel, and ball of the foot with longer standing and activity, due to the small intrinsic muscles of the feet working harder to stabilize the foot in the shoe, therefore tiring more,” Dr. Nagatia says. Ill-fitting shoes can also lead to blisters, ingrown toenails, and nerve irritation, she adds.
Supportive, plush, and comfy—we wouldn’t expect any less from Oprah’s favorite sneakers. Running shoes this good don’t last for long, though. Snag a pair of yours today before they inevitably sell out.