During the first week of March, Nike announced a design for a hijab made specifically for sports that they plan to put on the market in 2018.
Though many hijabi athletes have worn and still comfortably wear traditional multi-layered hijabs, Nike’s design was carefully outlined to ensure the utmost satisfaction for Muslim athletes.
The innovative product, set to hit shelves in the spring of 2018, was designed with small holes to allow for breathability, while still retaining the opaqueness of standard hijabs. In addition to its lightweight design, the back of the hijab extends down to prevent the garment from becoming untucked during performance.
Though Nike is not the first brand to market a hijab particularly for vigorous activity, it is the first big-name international company to do so. Because of the business’s eminence worldwide, its product is likely to reach a wider group of interested consumers and influence a future of diversity-embracive retail.
While wearing traditional hijabs in sports hasn’t been a significant problem for Muslim athletes in the past, Nike’s sport performance garment has received positive reactions from hijabi athletes who were happy to see a product that catered to their lifestyle.
Freshman Sarah Kadous, a long-distance runner in MC’s Track & Field, expressed interest for the upcoming product, explaining how she could benefit from its innovative design.
“[My current sports hijab] is similar [to Nike’s], but its material is not as comfortable,” Kadous said. “It’s a little bit longer so the shape of it might not be super convenient for running, but it’s definitely comfortable enough for me to work with.”
A major aspect of Nike’s campaign that interested Kadous was its approach to be a more inclusive label.
“I really like how [Nike was] trying to find something that accommodates a Muslim woman in sports, because I feel like we shouldn’t be discouraged to participate in sports just because of our dress,” Kadous said. “I think it’s nice that they showed that everyone does sports, no matter what your religion is.”
Nike has communicated the idea that diverse backgrounds do not limit capability in sports, because ultimately, an athlete is an athlete.
“I don’t want anyone to think that [wearing a hijab] limits us,” Kadous said. “You just need to find something that goes with your religion and what you’re comfortable in and still covers your guidelines, and you’ll be okay.”