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About Us

How it all Started

Candace founded Protégé because she believed  women shouldn’t have to choose between beauty and pain.

As an MIT graduate with a decade of experience in product design, Candace never thought she would find herself in the world of fashion. But after an especially painful day in heels –when a networking event (d)evolved into a dance party – she came home with blister-covered feet and forefoot numbness.

This was unacceptable! After all, what good are beautiful shoes when they hurt so badly you can’t walk confidently in them? From this point forward, she was determined to take on the challenge of engineering painless high heels.

So Candace went to the thrift store and bought 20+ pairs of heels, which she tore apart to learn how they were constructed. She realized how little effort was being put into research and development of comfort and stability, as most (male) designers do not wear their own creations.

After 18 months and 67 prototypes, she was finally happy with the aesthetics and functionality. 

And so Protégé was launched to disrupt the $41.4B heels industry!


About Protégé

Brand Name

Protégé means student.  Always curious, open-minded, and determined. We are life-long learners. 

It's about breaking down walls to achieve the impossible. A refusal to see the same boundaries and limitations others do.

It's aiming to be the best version of yourself.

Core Values

There is a Japanese concept “Sho Shin” which means  Beginner’s Mind.It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions just as a beginner would.To always be learning new things, even if it means starting with zero knowledge of a subject. It promotes neuro-plasticity and keeps us innovative. 

As a small bootstrapped startup in this huge  $41.4 billion heel industry, we need to be go-getters and have an underdog mentality. Our motto is: “Move Forward. Never Settle.”  These are the core qualities that influence how we  build our team & product, and also the mindset we look for in our future partners and investors.


Who We Serve

Created for dreamers and ambitious women driven by a sense of purpose, Protégé heels remove the barrier of having to choose between elegance and comfort - so women can focus on presenting their best, confident selves.


Our Tech