Nike unveils high-performance hijab range for Muslim athletes

Nike unveils high-performance hijab range for Muslim athletes
2 min read
08 Mar, 2017
Promoting inclusivity or simple branding exercise? Sportswear giant Nike steps into the world of religious headgear.
The Nike Pro Hijab will be made from a "durable single-layer" mesh [Nike]
Sportswear giant Nike is preparing to release a range of lightweight polyester hijabs for Muslim athletes called the Nike Pro Hijab.

The company said that the product is a year in the making, with both professional and everyday wearers of the religious attire having contributed to its creation.

“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,” the brand said in a statement. 

The Nike Pro Hijab will be available in dark and neutral colours [Nike]

The announcement comes just weeks after Nike launched a bold new ad campaign celebrating female athletes from the Middle East and challenges negative attitudes towards them.

Featuring five sportswomen from a range of fields, including Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, fencer Inès Boubakri, singer Balqees Fathi, and figure skater Zahra Lari, Nike's cool and colourful short film produced for the campaign asks the question, "What will they say about you?"

'What will they say about you?' asks Nike's new Middle East campaign [Nike]

Designed to tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, especially in Middle Eastern temperatures, the athletic hijab is crafted from Nike’s most breathable fabric – a lightweight polyester that features tiny holes for optimal breathability.

"The final, pull-on design is constructed from durable single-layer Nike Pro power mesh," Nike said. 

Nike’s Pro Hijab will be available early next year in three different colourways, black, vast grey and obsidian.

Social media users reacted to the announcement with a range of responses, from those eagerly excited to those who expressed scepticism at a major corporation cashing in on the religious headgear.

Others reacted with humour, pointing out that lightweight one-piece hijabs are already available.

One person went as far as to accuse the sports brand of contributing to the "normalising the oppression of women".

In the end, perhaps those best placed to be the judges of this one are the product's target audience.