Ally Shoes (www.ally.nyc) is an innovative fashion brand built for women by women - creating power heels and dress shoes minus the pain. With a patent-pending design and inclusive sizing options, our mission is to be an ally in fashion for all women and help them conquer the world in comfort.
Professional women wear heels for a variety of reasons: style, confidence, or simply because it’s part of the corporate dress code. However, as research shows, heels are painful and women hate the pain. 71% of women suffer from heel pain, 88% wear sizes that don’t fit them, and 42% of women’s heels are worn once or less.
There are two primary root causes of heel pain:
- Due to lack of insole support, 90% of a woman’s body weight is supported by the ball of her foot when wearing heels, which places tremendous and unnatural stress on the foot
- Conventional shoe sizing options do not offer sufficient granularity, and as a result, women oftentimes wear ill-fitting shoe that lead to discomfort and foot pain. For example, many women often wear shoes that are too big for them just to have more room in the toe box, as conventional shoe brands do not offer multiple front widths per size.
While there have been some attempts to address discomfort caused by heels – we list the most prevalent solutions below – they have been subpar.
- Over-the-counter shoe inserts crowd internal spacing in shoes, do not provide proper support, and oftentimes exacerbates discomfort and foot pain
- Custom-fitted shoes involve a tedious fitting process (without fixing weight distribution) and can cost more than $1,000, which is inaccessible to the average woman.
As a result, the average professional woman who wears heels is constantly forced to compromise.
GAP & OPPORTUNITY
Women have been demanding functionality and comfort in both professional and everyday fashion. While bags, bras, and other fashion items have been responding, high heels and luxury fashion continues to lag behind. As a result, we have identified an opportunity to build a women-centric dress shoe brand that offers both style and function.
ALLY is disrupting the $460 billion women’s formal wear market for the 35-50 year-old professional women, by first filling the void of stylish and comfortable high heels, hence solving their biggest pain point. Our long term vision is to become their go-to accessible luxury and functional fashion brand beyond footwear.
After interviewing over hundreds of professional women, our team decided to launch with a pointed-toe, 3-inch stiletto – a classic and seasonless style. This style is relevant for the professional dress code, while also serving versatile roles in social & networking occasions.
Our team re-engineered this statement look with patent-pending innovations in material, insole support, and sizing options:
- Material: We’re the first to construct the entire upper of a pump using stretch leather without losing the structured shape of the shoe. Every pair of ALLY heels is handcrafted with premium lambskin leather, a special stretchy lining, and a hidden internal structure that maximizes flexibility. This innovative use of material minimizes the need to “break in” new shoes and can adjust to any micro sizing changes due to temperature or feet swelling.
- Ergonomic Insole: Our three-point-support insole features a weight-balancing toe grip, elevated arch support, and deep heel cup. This ergonomic design by a podiatric surgeon re-balances weight distribution without making the shoe bulky, making a three-inch stiletto feel like sneakers.
- Micro-Sizing: Ally is trying to get the customer as close to custom-fitted as possible while maintaining affordability. We optimize fit by offering our signature pointed-toe pumps in half sizes ranging from US 4 to 12 and four different widths. Different from traditional retail brands, ALLY offers more sizes while carrying less inventory, by leveraging a flexible supply chain and made-to-order capability, as well as our fit algorithm.
ALLY Shoes is built by women, for women. Founder and CEO Samantha Dong started ALLY at Stanford Business School after a hiking injury, previously ran product management & operations OrderAhead (YC, acquired by Square), and specialized in retail omnichannel strategy at Deloitte Consulting. The female leadership team also includes Dr. Roxann Clarke, a practicing podiatric surgeon who treats professional on a daily basis, as well as Sara Jaramillo, an accomplished footwear designed trained in Italy with experience at brands such as Aquazurra and Adidas. Their diverse backgrounds and varying professional experiences inspired the overall concept of pain-free heels and shoe design.
The ALLY advisory team includes a former executive from Schutz / GH Bass, and a former innovation director from Nike / Cole Haan.
With the success of our current product, we're planning to launch some additional dress shoe styles this fall. Your support will help us bring these new designs as planned.