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Rykä Targets Today’s ‘Wellness Warrior’ With Training, Walking Styles

Since its founding 30 years ago, Rykä has developed its shoes for women first, factoring in the differences in foot shape, muscle movement and build that other athletic brands miss when they simply offer sized-down men’s footwear.

The result, the Caleres-owned brand says, is a shoe that requires no break-in, doesn’t slip in the heel and allows for appropriate room in the forefoot. Its spring Fempower collection, unveiled Tuesday, drew inspiration and meaning from these origins, Amanda Butler, Rykä’s design director, said.

“We were trailblazers 30 years ago developing something that did not exist in the marketplace,” Butler said in a statement. “Today this spirit and our brand’s commitment to female empowerment is stronger than ever and guided us in the making of our newest collection. From premium performance materials, to special design details to enhanced support features and, of course, our signature made for women Rykä fit—this elite collection offers something new and exciting to our fans.”

The spring Fempower collection—a mix of training, walking and trail styles—features high quality knits, engineered mesh, soft microfiber linings and translucent rubber, Rykä said. Underneath the foot, the shoes incorporate the brand’s Re-Zorb cushioning technology, as well as Fempower Anatomical Precise-Return insoles for further cushioning and arch support.

“This premium collection is geared towards today’s ‘Wellness Warrior’—a healthy-minded person who has a holistic approach to health and well-being and embraces self-care as part of her life,” Chelsea Aaberg, Rykä’s senior director, sales and management, said in a statement. “Our broad assortment also includes trail shoes—which capitalizes on her many ways of staying fit and active, including exploring the great outdoors.”

Rykä is not the only brand take a female-first approach to footwear. A Portland-based startup raked in $1 million in pre-sales last September when it unveiled its nurse-centered Bala Twelve shoes.

Designed for women—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 data, 87.4 percent of registered nurses are women—Bala Footwear’s shoes also account for the specific needs of those working in a hospital. The upper, made from anti-syphoning woven textile material, is both fluid resistant and easy to clean, the brand said. Meanwhile, the shoe’s rubber outsole, designed specifically for hospital floors, draws inspiration from high-performance court footwear.