Nike’s long-anticipated hijab for athletes is now available for sale, nine months after announcing it was working on the project.
The sportswear giant first revealed in March it was developing a technical hijab intended to suit the needs of Muslim female athletes who want to train or compete while wearing a headscarf.
Its Nike Pro Hijab made its store debut on Friday at Macy’s, and is now available at the chain with a $35 price tag. The garment will also be sold on Nike’s US website starting on Thursday.
Nike first decided to start developing a performance hijab after hearing from Muslim athletes who explained how they sometimes had issues wearing a traditional hijab while competing.
Female weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, from the United Arab Emirates, told the company during meetings at its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, that her usual hijab lacked breathability and seemed unlikely to stay in place.
The weightlifter also found it exceedingly difficult to find hijabs she could wear while competing and only had one headscarf adapted to her sessions, meaning she had to wash it by hand every night during competitions.
Meanwhile, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, a New Jersey native, revealed that she sometimes had trouble hearing the referee while wearing a traditional hijab, which resulted in her being carded for false starting.
‘First, I’d get a warning and then a point against me… I can’t tell you how many times that happened,’ she told the brand. ‘And I’d tell the referee, “Oh, I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you.”’
The Rio bronze medalist used to compete wearing a headscarf made out of doubled georgette fabric, which, in addition to obstructing her hearing, was hard to pair with her fencing uniform.
Now, Muhammad is one of three women, along with German boxer Zeina Nassar and Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, to have posed for the advertising campaign dedicated to the new hijab.
The garment is made out of opaque mesh to insure breathability, and currently comes in black and navy blue. It has an elongated back so as not to come untucked, and features fluff threads around the neck to preserve athletes’ skin from rubbing and irritation due to sweat.
Nike is already offering the hijab online in certain countries, including Canada, and is launching it at select retailers across Europe, North America, North Africa, and the Middle East.
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