Nike has created a new high-performance hijab for Muslim athletes, just in time for International Women’s Day.
The new Nike Pro Hijab has been created to help more Muslim women take up sport as many still “face barriers and limited access”.
Statistics from Sport England show that just 18% of Muslim women take part in regular sport, compared to 30% of the total female population.
In the hope of inspiring more Muslim women and girls around the world to up their fitness, some of the Middle East’s top athletes have trialled the hijab and posed for a series of stunning photos.
The hijab, which will be available to purchase from next year, is inspired by Muslim athletes themselves, who told Nike they’ve experienced performance problems when wearing a traditional hijab during competition.
Amna Al Haddad, a female weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates, told the brand that the garment’s weight, its potential to shift during action and its lack of breathability disrupted her focus.
She also detailed her extreme difficulty finding performance hijabs. She was only able to find one competition-worthy covering, so she had to hand wash it every night during competitions.
With this insight, the Nike Pro team aimed to make a performance hijab that was “inconspicuous” and “almost like a second skin”.
The final, pull-on design is constructed from durable single-layer Nike Pro power mesh.
The lightweight polyester features tiny, strategically placed holes for optimal breathability but remains completely opaque, with a soft touch.
The mesh is also stretchy, so when combined with an elastic binding it allows for a personalised fit that adapts to both the wearer’s head and her sport – ice skating, for example, requires a tighter fit for twirling.
The back of the hijab is also elongated to ensure it doesn’t come untucked. Fluff threads were used at the neck to eliminate the rubbing and irritation that can occur when an athlete sweats.
Figure skater Zahra Lari was one of the athletes who helped Nike develop the new product.
“I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a hijab,” she told CNN Money.
“I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and … so few of them actually work for me.”
Judging by the reaction on Twitter, Lari isn’t the only one excited by Nike’s latest announcement.
We can’t wait to see the new design in stores early next year.