By Ryan Velez
Following nine months after it was initially announced, The Daily Mail reports that Nike has finally put out its hijab for athletes. Nike initially mentioned its plans in March, saying that 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 initially decided to start working on the product when hearing from Muslim athletes 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 breath-ability and seemed unlikely to stay in place.
To work around this, she had one headscarf adapted to her sessions, but having only one meant that she had to wash it by hand every night during competitions. It’s important to note that many of these athletes don’t make the money the professionals do, so customizing a hijab could be quite an expense. There’s also the issue of it affecting their performance in other ways. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad mentioned how she had trouble hearing referees while wearing a traditional hijab, which sometimes led to her getting carded.
'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. She is now partnering with German boxer Zeina Nassar and Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari to pose for the advertising campaign for the hijab.
The garment is made out of opaque mesh to ensure breath-ability, 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.