Nike is set to launch a specially-designed hijab to help Muslim women compete in sports.
This development comes despite previous controversies around the wearing of hijabs in competitive sport. Yet, the Nike Pro Hijab will be launched in Spring 2018 in response to the increasing number of women in Islamic society ‘embracing sport’. The sportswear giant said it was inspired by Saudi Arabian runner Sarah Attar, who competed in the 800m race at the London 2012 Olympics wearing a hijab, and Emirati weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, who competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A Nike statement said: “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.
This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijabi runner took the global stage in London.” The company added the Pro Hijab was designed after athletes told Nike they ‘needed it to perform better’. A Nike spokesperson told Al Arabiya English they came up with the concept after Al Haddad visited its research facility at their global headquarters in Oregon, US.
The spokesperson said: ‘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.’
The hijabs have been tested by Egyptian running coach Manal Rostom and Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, as well as ‘everyday athletes’ from the Middle East. Meanwhile, the athletic-wear giant has also recently added plus sizes to its women’s wear line. The new plus-size line includes sizes 1X-3X and is an effort to further diversity in both ethnicity and body shape, according to Nike. “Nike recognizes that women are stronger, bolder, and more outspoken than ever.
In today’s world, sport is no longer something that she does, it’s who she is. The days where we have to add ‘female’ before ‘athlete’ are over,” Nike said