Candace Chen, Founder of Protégé, on Designing the Most Comfortable High Heels

Candace Chen is a Taiwanese-American designer from Los Angeles, California and is the founder of Protégé — a revolutionary footwear brand focused on creating truly painless high heels. A graduate from MIT in Mechanical Engineering, Chen has since worked in product design and development, and learned the utmost importance of consumer-feedback based design elements. Now since the launch of Protégé, Chen has solidified her role as a groundbreaking entrepreneur, and has successfully built her career as a notable force to be reckoned with in women’s fashion.  

Her company Protégé is set to take over the marketplace and provide a valuable solution for women across the world who suffer from pain when wearing heels. To understand more about Candace and her company Protégé, we sat down with her to learn more about her success in the marketplace.

Why Heel Comfort is Important

Candace Chen wants you to know that wearing heels does not have to be uncomfortable.  With Protégé, women no longer have to choose between beauty and pain. Based on predecessors in the industry, unfortunately no other brand has successfully designed a comfortable high heel that truly works for all women. In fact, within the $41.4b heels industry, comfort is still not a consideration for the majority of the market. Whether that’s because many high end footwear designers or male, or because no designer has been able to effectively engineer comfort, Chen is here to change that standard.

With her background in engineering from MIT and years of Research and Development, plus investing all her savings into bootstrapping Protégé, Chen is excited to unveil her proprietary product to the market.

Protégé’s Unique Design

When Candace was designing Protégé, she had a clear understanding of the comfort features women needed due to her background in product engineering – comfort features other shoe designers may have missed. 

In fact, she went to great lengths to ensure her product was the best “fit” – in fact she prototyped the shoe 67 times using her 3D printer, hand-sewing and engineering before landing on the current aesthetics and functionality.

She also set out to design a stiletto that would be truly timeless and elegant, one that might be seen on a red carpet, upscale lounge, or for the everyday working woman on-the-go. She wanted the shoe to be versatile enough to add glamor and comfort to any outfit.

The initial product launch to enter the marketplace has seven different unique features making Protégé the most highly engineered comfort heel to enter commerce. Those design functions include a hidden toe post, triple-layer forefoot padding, and a foam-padded toe strap. It was very important for Chen to never sacrifice in style; she even added the special touch of a customizable, quick-disconnect ankle strap that comes in a variety of colors.

Simply put, – women no longer have to choose between beauty and pain with the elegant new painless stiletto.

The Future For Protégé and Candace Chen

Protégé has a mission to change women’s comfort and heel wear indefinitely into the future. With a strong team and insight on engineering, Candace Chen is certainly excited for the future and what’s to come.  There are several new styles in development, as well as plans to expand width offerings for women with wider or narrower feet. To learn more about Protégé or shop heels that are currently available to purchase, click here.


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of CEO Weekly.