Nike is expanding its line of apparel to include customized hijabs for female Muslim athletes. The company released ads for the hijab on Tuesday, March 7th to much fanfare. Nike has been working diligently on the prototype, named the Nike Pro Hijab, to accommodate Muslim athletes. The garment is still in the production phase, but Nike hopes to release it in 2018.
The high-tech hijab is made from lightweight, breathable polyester fiber. The microscopic holes are designed to aerate the fabric and help the wearer stay comfortable while getting active. The prototype took thirteen months to make, and Nike collaborated with a few Muslim athletes, like figure skater Zahra Lari and weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, to design the product.
For years, Muslim female athletes have had trouble finding the appropriate workout gear. Devout followers are required to wear hijabs at all times, even when working out. Traditional hijabs are often too bulky and cumbersome to be worn comfortably by athletes. Nike wanted to remedy the issue by creating hijabs that are made of one layer of fabric. The Pro Hijab can be pulled on or off and stays in place with the wearer is in motion.
Zahri Lari, a figure-skater from the United Arab Emirates, talked to CNN about her difficulty finding the right hijabs. “I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a hijab. I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the light weight.”
The Pro hijab is made with stretchable fabric so that it provides a customized fit for all wearers. The fabric is made to prevent irritation and friction. When the Pro hijab is released, it will be available in black, vast grey, and obsidian. The fabric will also be opaque which is a requirement for hijabs.
In a recent statement, Nike said, “By providing Muslim athletes with the most groundbreaking products, like the Nike Pro Hijab, Nike aims to serve today’s pioneers as well as inspire even more women and girls in the region who still face barriers and limited access to sport.”
Photos via Nike