Nike Made A Performance Hijab For Muslim Athletes & It's A Move In The Right Direction
Oh yes, they just did it. Nike made a Pro Hijab for Muslim athletes, and it's as sleek and cool as anything the brand's ever made. With a single-layer pull-on design, it's everything Muslim athletes have been waiting for — and deserve.
Nike worked on the Pro Hijab design for 13 months, after feedback from Muslim athletes suggesting a sleeker, easier design would help performance. Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad visited Nike's sport research lab and global headquarters to offer suggestions because she only owned one sport hijab that required hand-washing after every competition.
The challenges to making a sport Hijab are plenty — first, a hijab must adhere to religious values, but it should also be breathable since the Gulf Arab region can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Easy washing, lightweight flexibility and security were important performance needs, and Nike also worked with local communities and advocates to "ensure the design met cultural requirements."
“The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport,” a said a statement from Nike.
Nike launched the Pro Hijab following a commercial featuring Muslim athletes from around the world, like the first Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, Tunisian fencer and Olympics medalist Ines Boubakri, Emirati Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, Saudi singer Balqees Fathi and Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso. The commercial was shot in Dubai and narrated by Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi.
The commercial asks, "What will they say about you?" and shows Muslim women competing and training.
"There are barriers for many people to access sport, and some of these barriers are unique to women and girls. We want to help break down these barriers, and encourage and enable more women to be pioneers in sport,” Global Nike Spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld told Al Arabiya English.
The Nike Pro Hijab will be available in Spring 2018.
Twitter is pretty turned up with excitement, questions, and conversations about inclusion in sports.
Some are already dreaming about Nike expanding the Pro Hijab line, and inspiring other active wear brands to join in.