Nike is representing for women in major ways these days.
Just last week we told you that the sportswear company launched a plus-size activewear line for women that goes up to a 3x. Now they’ve announced the development of performance hijabs for Muslim women athletes. It’s a market that’s barely been tapped, high-performance hijabs, but there are a large number of active Muslim women who could greatly benefit from the product.
Called the Nike Pro Hijab, Nike said in a statement that the product is another way to celebrate the “ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport.” The company made mention of Saudi Arabian runner Sarah Attar and Emirati weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, women who competed in the Olympics in 2012 wearing hijabs, as inspirations for the Pro Hijab.
According to USA Today, Al Haddad only owned one performance-grade covering during that time, and she was forced to hand-wash the hijab every night when competing. The athletic hijabs of the past were more work than just your usual piece of performance gear.
Keeping such struggles in mind, Nike set out to create a hijab that was “inconspicuous” and could be worn almost like a second skin. Muslim women athletes in the Persian gulf are already taking advantage of the Pro Hijab, while a full launch is expected spring 2018.
Nike may be doing some innovative things in terms of a performance hijab, but such coverings, along with more modest apparel offerings have become more and more popular over the last few years. Brands like Uniqlo and many designers including Dolce & Gabbana and DKNY have launched collections with such pieces to both praise over such expansion of offerings as well as criticism over the idea that staples of Muslim spirituality are being turned into the next “hot buy.”
Still, Nike’s product stands out and is getting a big thumbs up from Muslim women athletes. Made with just a single layer of durable mesh, holes to allow for increased airflow, the ability to just be pulled overhead and a long back that won’t come untucked, it’s quite an innovative product. Not to mention that according to reports, women athletes who wear hijabs have been testing the prototypes Nike has come up with since early last year.
It’s refreshing to see Nike not only pushing for the empowerment of female athletes, but also pushing the message of equality and diversity at a time when more people need to tout it. (Not to mention, these performance hijabs look pretty amazing.)