“The Nike Pro Hijab has been a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back to Nike’s founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete,” the brand said in a statement.
The announcement comes just weeks after Nike launched a bold new ad campaign celebrating female athletes from the Middle East and challenges negative attitudes towards them.
Featuring five sportswomen from a range of fields, including Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, fencer Inès Boubakri, singer Balqees Fathi, and figure skater Zahra Lari, Nike's cool and colourful short film produced for the campaign asks the question, "What will they say about you?"
Designed to tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, especially in Middle Eastern temperatures, the athletic hijab is crafted from Nike’s most breathable fabric – a lightweight polyester that features tiny holes for optimal breathability.
"The final, pull-on design is constructed from durable single-layer Nike Pro power mesh," Nike said.
Nike’s Pro Hijab will be available early next year in three different colorways, black, vast grey and obsidian.
Social media users reacted to the announcement with a range of responses, from those eagerly excited to those who expressed scepticism at a major corporation cashing in on the religious headgear.
Others reacted with humour, pointing out that lightweight one-piece hijabs are already available.
One person went as far as accusing the company of "normalizing the oppression of women."
Congratulations, @Nike for normalizing the oppression of women through the Pro Hijab. Disgusting.— Connor R. Kenney (@realKenney) March 7, 2017
In the end, perhaps those best placed to be the judges of this one are the product's target audience.
I audibly gasped when I read that @Nike was coming out with a sport hijab.— Balsam (@bslam15) March 6, 2017
It's like all my dreams have come true.
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