Figure skater Zahra Lari wears Nike’s new hijab for Muslim athletes. The pull-on hijab is made of light, stretchy fabric that includes tiny holes for breathability. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Sportswear company Nike has created quite a stir in social media with the introduction of its new line of headscarves.

In a huge move to tap into the Islamic clothing market, the American multinational company unveiled on Wednesday its first athletic-friendly hijabs for Muslim women. The new product is said to be more breathable than the traditional head cover and will aid better sport performance.

Dubbed the “Nike Pro Hijab,” the new product, whose design took more than a year to finish and incorporated inputs from athletes around the world, will start selling in Spring 2018.

 “[The sport hijab] may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport,” the company said in a statement.

Women from the Muslim community who couldn’t be more excited about the new line, especially those active in sport, immediately took to social media to commend the brand.

Zahra Lari, the UAE’s first international figure skater and one of the faces of the campaign, was among the first to share the joy on Instagram: “Can’t believe this is finally here!! I’m super super excited to announce the Nike Pro hijab!! So proud to be part of this incredible journey.”

“I audibly gasped when I read that Nike was coming out with a sport hijab. It’s like all my dreams have come true,” tweeted Balsam.

“Thank you Nike for the [hijab]. As a woman, a Muslim, a mother of two daughters, as a marathoner and fitness supporter, I so appreciate this athletic wear,” said one Facebook user.

In the run-up to the launch of its performance hijab, Nike had earlier released a video of Muslim women in headscarf running, boxing and fencing.

“What will they say about you? Maybe they’ll say you showed them what was possible,” Nike said in its post. The clip has gone viral since and attracted mixed comments from social media users.

Nike isn’t the first global retailer to target the Muslim market. Other international brands, such as Uniqlo and Marks and Spencer had also introduced products designed for Muslim women.  According to the Global Islamic Economy report, Muslim consumers around the world spent $230 billion on clothing in 2014. The figure is expected to increase to $327 billion by 2020.