Sportswear major Nike has launched a “performance hijab” to cater to the needs of Muslim athletes who have often complained that the traditional headscarf is not ergonomic enough for competitions. The multinational giant will start selling the product, called Nike Pro Hijab, from next year. Nike had started designing the headscarf about a year ago.
The sportswear giant said Saudi Arabian runner Sarah Attar and Emirati weightlifting Olympian Amna Al Haddad inspired the product. “This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijabi runner [Sarah Attar] took the global stage in London,” said Nike, according to USA Today. After Al Haddad voiced the problems of sporting a traditional hijab, Nike decided to come up with a lightweight headgear that would be “almost like a second skin”.
The pull-on hijab is made of light, stretchable fabric. It has strategic tiny holes for breathability and an elongated back so it will not get untucked. The hijab will be initially available in black, grey and obsidian colours. Figure skater Zahra Lari from United Arab Emirates has already tried the product. “I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a hijab... 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,” she said in a statement, according to CNN.
The hijab made its debut at the Olympics last year when fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad of New York sported it during her event at Rio. Last year, Muslim players wore hijabs during the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
Nike is trying to capture the Muslim clothing market with this new offering. In the recent past, the company has opened stores in the Middle East and launched a training app in Arabic, reported The Guardian. According to estimates, the Islamic market has a lot of growth potential and is projected to be worth more than $5 trillion by 2020.