Nike Launching first Nike Pro Hijab
The hijab has been a controversial subject in the world of sports for some time, with numerous athletes being banned from wearing these pieces while playing sports. Only more recently have professional competitions started to lift these regulations. Up until 2014, for example, FIFA didn’t permit athletes to compete with hijabs on. To be fair, this isn’t always a racist issue, but rather a safety precaution, but it has spiked a lot of controversy nevertheless.
And Nike is keeping pace. The sportswear company has designed a lightweight hijab for female Muslim athletes, taking the safety concerns and high demand for comfortable, athletic hijabs into consideration. Although Nike doesn’t have the greatest reputation, given the countless allegations of child slavery, bribery, doping, and more against them, it’s still wonderful to see the company making clothing that’s inclusive and forward thinking.
How Nike Designed the “Pro Hijab”
Hijabs have been heavily criticized in regards to sports, as they are considered a potential physical risk, especially in high contact sports. With these comments in mind, Nike gathered research from different communities on what’s considered culturally appropriate for hijab designs and created their first athletic hijab.
“These new garments were again wear tested by elite Nike athletes, like the groundbreaking Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari and Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom. Everyday athletes from around the Middle East also assessed the hijabs,” Nike explained in a statement.
The Nike Pro hijab is in part inspired by the female Emirati Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad, as she actually visited Nike’s sport research lab at their global headquarters in Oregon. Amna had complained about the hijab she used for competitions, explaining that there were very limited options for hijabs that are comfortable and lightweight enough to compete in. As a result, Amna had to wash her hijab every single night during competitions.
“The Nike Pro Hijab was designed as a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better, and we hope that it will help athletes around the world do just that,” Global Nike Spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld explained.
“From there, we worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting,” Saalfeld continued.
Middle Eastern countries obviously have a warmer climate, so Nike also took this into consideration when designing the hijabs, using lightweight mesh polyester to maximize breathability.
Source: Collective Evolution