Published: 2017-12-05 13:53
Last Updated: 2017-12-05 14:43
Hijabi athletes can start practicing their favourite sports with a much more practical and breathable head cover, thanks to Nike’s Pro Hijab, which the retailer launched on Monday.
The high-performance hijab is made especially for Muslim athletes, who, before this groundbreaking invention came about, were battling heavy weight hijabs, which get stiff and obstruct their hearing.
Those are some of the struggles encountered by Ibtihaj Muhammad, the Nike athlete and Olympic fencer, while competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, who also helped Nike in creating the hijab’s design.
“I can’t tell you how many times I got carded”. “And I’d tell the referee, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,’ and they’d think I was lying, but I really couldn’t hear,” Ibtihaj told Vogue Magazine.
Ibtihaj was the first woman to test the hijab. It was an ultra lightweight, stretchy fabric with miniature breathable holes for venting, that needed some adjustments.
“Nike’s design team combined this information with existing Nike innovations to create the initial prototype hijabs, which they seeded to the weightlifter and a variety of hijabi athletes for wear testing,” Nike said on their website.
“The women came back with a range of feedback, which laddered up to the desire for an even lighter, softer garment.”
So designers created an updated version, with a durable single-layer Nike Pro cool mesh, which is one of the brand’s most breathable fabrics.
Additionally, fluff threads were used at the neck and face to stop rubbing and irritation that can results from sweating.
Nike released the last version of the hijab, which was tested by Ibtihaj and the Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari. The responses were more positive, with more requests to create different sizes to suit various head shapes.
“When I tried the Nike Pro Hijab, it really sunk in how much my previous hijab was hindering my performance,” Ibtihaj said.
“Suddenly, I could hear, I wasn’t as hot, and my body was able to cool itself down better and faster.”
“It inspires me to reach greater heights and to run farther distances, and I believe it’s going to inspire girls worldwide to follow their passion for sport.”
You can find the Nike Pro Hijab on Nike Website, and it is available in 22 countries in the Middle East.