Nike has announced the launch of a new and highly anticipated product – the Nike Pro Hijab specially designed for female Muslim athletes to be suitably represented in the world of professional sportswear.
Muslim women face many barriers when it comes to keeping fit and upholding principles of modesty at the same time but thankfully Nike has a solution.
The garment is designed to tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, taking into account its weight, lack of breathability and the potential for it to shift during action.
The hijab, made of a breathable, lightweight, sport-ready fabric meant to keep the athlete wearing it cool and dry. Nike plans to release the Pro Hijab early next year and it will be available in three different colourways, black, vast grey and obsidian.
It caters to the many female Muslim athletes who for years have had little choice but to wear hijabs in traditional fabrics to compete in sports. But these fabrics aren’t always ideal for a workout. Cotton, for instance, retains water, meaning if you sweat in it, it’s going to stay damp on your head.
Nike’s hijab addresses this problem by using the brand’s power mesh, a stretchy and breathable polyester fabric that wicks moisture. The hijab is made in a single layer of the mesh, and it has an elastic binding that lets the wearer adjust the hijab to her head and her sport. An ice skater, for example, needs a tighter fit for twirling. Nike also made the back of the hijab long so that it won’t come untucked during activity.
In a statement, the brand said; “The Nike Pro Hijab has been a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back to Nike’s founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
Created in response to a calling for appropriate performance wear, the Nike Pro Hijab was designed in collaboration with several Muslim athletes including weightlifter Amna Al Haddad and figure skater Zahra Lari. The sportswear brand got feedback from advocates and local communities to ensure the design met cultural requirements.
A Nike spokesperson, Megan Saalfeld said, “The Nike Pro Hijab was designed as a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better.”
The Emirati Olympian Amna Al Haddad told Nike during a visit to the company’s sports lab in Oregon that she had just one hijab she could wear, and she had to hand-wash it in the sink every night during competitions.
The company says it hopes to inspire more women and girls to get involved in sports. In countries such as England, Muslim girls have much lower rates of sports participation given the lack of sport-appropriate clothing.
In recent years, Nike has been making a play for Middle Eastern customers, introducing stores in the region and launching its Nike+ Training Club app in Arabic. Globally, the Islamic market is projected to be worth more than $5 trillion by 2020.