The Oregon-based sports industry beast, Nike, has recently announced a new product: the Pro Hijab. The product will be released in spring of 2018 and according to the company, was created in order to “inspire more women and girls (in the Middle East) who face barriers and limited access to sport.”
Unlike a typical hijab which is mostly made up of heavier fabrics such as polyester or chiffon, the Pro Hijab is made up of a lightweight polyester blend. Women will no longer have worry about their hijab coming undone, tearing the fabric, pins falling out, or any other athletic struggles they face with Nike’s sleek, one-piece design featuring small holes for a more breathable design. The stretchiness of the mesh-like material allows for athletes to adjust the hijab for whichever sport they will be playing.
The hijab will sell for around $35, slightly higher than the average cost of an average hijab, but the efficiency and convenience is almost priceless for these athletes.
Nike’s latest product was launched after “athletes [told Nike] they needed this product to perform better,” and Nike says, “we hope that it will help athletes around the world do just that.”
Emirati Olympic weightlifter, Amna Al Haddad, came into the Nike lab and helped them create the product after sharing her story. Haddad only had one hijab that fitted her needs, and had to wash it each night by hand in order to perform to the best of her ability. Soon after, Nike had many other athletes such as Emirati figure skater Zahra Lar and Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya al-Ghasra give input and test out the Pro Hijab.
The year-long endeavor is sure to pay off with people all over highly anticipating its arrival. Triathlete Manal Rostom is excited for it saying, “To provide something we can grab and wear in 10 seconds? It’s going to change everything!”
Nike Women’s latest advertisement, “What will they say about you?” reminds us of the gender stereotypes that women everywhere face, especially in the Middle East. The video stars five women defying society’s standards and demonstrating how gender does not limit women, but instead pushes us forward. Hopefully, this product and campaign can inspire women everywhere to get out there and #justdoit.
Although Nike is not the first company to create a more active-friendly version of the hijab (others such as Capster and Hummel have created their own version of an athlete-friendly hijab), to have a company with such a global presence create this product is significant. It sends out the message to the world that Muslim women can do anything and are not people we should fear or disregard.