Nike has announced the launch of their first lightweight hijab for female Muslim athletes. This news comes after years of the hijab remaining a controversial subject throughout the sports world, as an array of athletes had previously been banned from wearing them whilst playing sports. It was only in 2014 that FIFA permitted athletes to compete with a hijab on. Although this discussion wasn’t always a racist issue, according to reports, it was also a crucial safety precaution. However it still sparked a lot of controversy in recent years.
The sportswear company have now designed a lightweight hijab for female Muslim athletes, that takes into account any safety concerns, along with the high demand for comfort whilst participating in sports. As part of their market research, Nike spoke to different communities in order to gather what is considered to be culturally appropriate for a hijab design before creating their first athletic hijab. Nike explained in a statement, “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 hijab.”
The Nike Pro hijab takes some inspiration from the female Emirati Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad, after she visited Nike’s sport research lab at their global headquarters in Oregon. Previous to this she had complained about the hijab that she used for competitions, due to very limited options that provided both comfort and a lightweight fabric whilst competing. Global Nike Spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld explained, “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. 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.”
Nike also considered the fact that Middle Eastern countries having a warmer climate, therefore producing the hijabs from a lightweight mesh polyester to maximize breathability. Nike hopes that their new hijab will be a game changer, as it will open more doors for female athletes, whilst helping to end the stigma surrounding hijabs in the sports world, together with the slim fitting design that will eradicate the safety issues.
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here