On International Women’s Day, Nike announced that it was developing a sports hijab, Nike Pro Hijab for Muslim women athletes that should be available in spring 2018. In last year’s Olympic Games, Ibtihaj Muhammad made headlines for being the first American to compete in a hijab and then the first to win a medal. Since the election of our 45th President, affectionately called Cheeto Satan and Marmalade Mussolini by some, attacks on women wearing the hijab has increased. So, this comes at a crucial time.
For those who don’t know, the hijab is worn by Muslim women as a part of Islamic practice to signify modesty and decency. Because of the requirement for modesty in dress, Muslim women athletes can’t exactly wear what most of us wear when we are working out at the gym. So, this is an important step for Muslim women to have access to top athletic gear. Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari is already wearing the Nike Pro Hijab.
I foresee non-Muslim women like runners who want to become more aerodynamic and unbothered with their hair wearing the Nike Pro Hijab. This is a nice stride in normalizing the hijab in American culture and bringing it to the mainstream. I hope that the sports hijab becomes a fashion statement for all women athletes. The more that it is worn and seen can lead to fewer incidences of bullying and hate crimes against Muslim women and girls.
This isn’t the first time that Nike has taken the lead to fill a need. In 2015, Nike developed the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE with Matthew Walzer who was physically unable to tie his shoes. This shoe allows him to wear his favorite basketball shoe and not have his parents tie his shoes or wear an unattractive shoe that focuses on the disability. For this and now the sports hijab, this Adidas girl really appreciates Nike who just keeps doing it.