Nike announces new pro hijab


After 53 years worth of selling sportswear, Nike has decided to reach out to a new audience- female Muslim athletes. In early March, Nike announced its new product: “The Nike Pro Hijab.”

Hitting stores in spring 2018, the product will be made out of stretchy mesh polyester with tiny holes, making it breathable, and will come in dark/neutral colors.

According to Nike’s website, they began this project after female Muslim athletes complained about the struggles of wearing the traditional hijab during competitions. A female Olympic weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates, Amna Al Hadddad, expressed to Nike how the lack of breathability, heavy weight, and constantly shifting traditional hijab disrupts her focus when weightlifting.

“There weren’t any hijabi athletes to look up to when I was growing up, and I had to be my own pioneer, and now girls today have women like Amna Al Haddad and Zahra Lari to look up to as role models, which is so inspiring,” Manal Rostom, a runner and triathlete currently living in Dubai, told The New York Times. “For young girls to see these women and to see this revolutionary shift will change the face of sport for Muslim Arab girls, whether they wear hijab or not.”

Along with all the praise, the Pro Hijab has received backlash as well. Marathoner Rahaf Khatib, the first hijabi woman to cover a U.S. fitness magazine last fall, told Bleacher Report, “Why now? Why did it take them this long? It’s 2017—kind of sad that it took them so long to acknowledge us,” the marathoner said. “Some of my friends are angry, because they feel like Nike is trying to capitalize on this demographic and the political atmosphere.”

Some took to Twitter to convey how the Pro Hijab is not groundbreaking because small companies such as Capsters and ResportOn have already been making athletic wear hijabs for years.