Nike Is Launching A ‘Pro Hijab’ For Female Muslim Athletes

Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom Credit: Nike

Nike is proving itself to be a progressive athletics company. Not only did it recently launch its first plus-size sportswear line, it is set to release a ‘Pro Hijab’ to benefit female Muslim athletes who must keep their heads covered for religious purposes.

Set to go on sale in 2018, the Pro Hijab will offer female Muslim athletes global representation for the first time ever. Many suspected Nike would launch a sports hijab after a video featuring female Middle Eastern athletes, entitled “What will they say about you?”, went viral. Now, that suspicion has been confirmed.

A statement from the company reads:

“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.”

Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari Credit: Nike

Global Nike Spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld told Al Arabiya English:

“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.”

Athletes who are looking forward to using the Pro Hijab include Sarah Attar of Saudi Arabia who competed in 800m heats at the London Olympics. Emirati Olympic weightlifting athlete, Amna Al Haddad, is also appreciative of the new representation. According to Saalfeld, Haddad was actually the inspiration behind the new product! Reportedly, the competitor complained to Nike that she had only one hijab that worked for her and had to wash it by hand every night in the sink after competing. Commented Saalfeld:

“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.”

The first Pro Hijab is made from mesh material to prevent female athletes from becoming overheated. Made of lightweight polyester, it has tiny, strategically placed holes to ensure the fabric is breathable.

Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari Credit: Nike

Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari and Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom shared her thoughts on the new invention:

“For a brand like Nike to come out and say that these people exist and are inclusive of hijabis is a big deal. It not just about making a product available for Muslim and Arab women but it is also giving a chance to those women who are putting off the idea of wearing the veil completely in order to compete.”

The Pro Hijab truly is a game-changer, as women in Muslim-majority countries (such as Saudi Arabia) are increasingly being encouraged to participate in sports. However, competing in athletic events can become a challenge if one’s hijab becomes too hot or uncomfortable. The new invention aims to prevent this from happening.

Athlete Manal Rostom Credit: Nike

Princess Reema bint Bandar spoke for most when she added,

“I am pleased to see that a global company like Nike sees the value in supporting the women of the Muslim community as this shows that sports truly can be inclusive,” she said about the Nike Pro Hijab in a statement made available to Al Arabiya English.

“This is a game changer that opens up so many doors for girls in the region and around the world.”

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