Nike drops its athletic hijab with empowered Muslim athletes

By Eric Nicole Salta | Lead photo from Nike News

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that embracing diversity is necessary more than ever.

Ever since breaking out the story on its made-for-athletes hijab, Nike cautiously shed light on the issues dividing the greater sports populace. Now, with its release, the Nike Pro Hijab isn’t just a shallow bid to create noise. Designed for female Muslim athletes, the hijab is striking in its subtlety and purpose: it’s a performance product coming to grip with the reality everyone must stand for. Representation plays a crucial role in growing a demographic that has been marginalized.

And this move to show support to Muslim women is one way of propelling difficult dialogues into the wider conversation. In an interview with Vogue, figure skater Zahra Lari from United Arab Emirates couldn’t hide her joy at this release.

“Everyone including myself was so surprised and happy to see such a large company like Nike do something like this to cater specifically to Muslim athletes. It’s like a dream that we [hijabi athletes] never really thought it would happen.”

And while Nike isn’t the first brand to spearhead a sports hijab, the mounting effect of a colossal name throwing wide-open love to an undermined community is still laudable. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad agrees: “[This] will help advance the conversation around hijabs and Muslim women in sports and further make sports an inclusive space.”

That’s not to say that’s all there is to a product. The hijab is still a performance product that addresses the needs of Muslim athletes. It showcases breathability and the right fit for face and head shapes. Says Muhammad, “It really sunk in how much my previous hijab was hindering my performance when I tried the Nike Pro Hijab. Suddenly, I could hear, I wasn’t as hot and it felt like my body was able to cool itself down better and faster.”