Nike’s unwavering commitment to equality is extending beyond Black History Month with the unveiling of the brand’s first performance hijab, which is set to hit retail during spring ’18.
The purpose of Nike’s Pro Hijab is to make workouts easier for Muslim female athletes. “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,” reads a statement from the brand.
Speaking with Al Arabiya English, Nike global spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld explained how the idea for the high-performance headwear came about. “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,” she said.
Saalfeld shared a story of Olympic weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, who visited Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., headquarters and complained about the difficulties of performing in her hijab, which required nightly hand-washings.
“We worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab,” Saalfeld said. “What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.”
Nike Run Club coach Manal Rostom tells Arab News that she expects the Pro Hijab to have a strong impact with women. “This is the perfect gift, and it goes beyond being a new product that Nike is selling — it’s going to empower all women to embrace hijab and embrace who they are,” Rostom said.
According to figures from the State of Global Islamic Economy’s report obtained by Arab News, Muslim consumers spent an estimated $243 billion on clothing in 2015. By 2021, the number is expected to reach $368 billion.