Nike plans to launch a new line of sports hijab for Muslim female athletes, called the Nike Pro Hijab.
The sportswear giant has been working on the hijab's design for more than a year, with plans to start selling the product in its spring 2018 season.
The head cover will be opaque with tiny holes to make it breathable for athletes, especially for those in warmer climates. Nike says it sought the input of several athletes during the creation process, including Amna Al Haddad, a female weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates. Traditional hijabs aren't breathable and tend to shift as the athlete moves, Al Haddad told Nike.
Figure skater Zahra Lari was one of the professional athletes who tested Nike's hijab.
"I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a hijab," Lari said in a statement to CNN. "I've tried so many different hijabs for performance, and ... so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the light weight."
The final product also includes an elongated back to ensure it doesn't come untucked.
The signature Nike "swoosh" has been placed above the left ear.
Nike's announcement comes weeks after the company released a viral ad featuring female Middle Eastern athletes. In the clip, the women (including some professionals) are seen pursuing their athletic dreams in different parts of the Arab world — imagery that drew both praise and criticism on social media.
In Minnesota, sportswear brand Asiya has been working on its own line of sport hijabs made of lightweight and sweat-wicking fabric. Asiya attracted media attention in 2015 with a sportswear-fashion show, and it raised more than $100,000 in working capital last fall through Kickstarter and the Minnesota Cup emerging-business competition (the brand won the social-enterprise category).
Asiya's sports hijabs are available for preorder on their website for $40.
Hijabs in sporting events have been a controversial subject, with fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad in 2016 becoming the first American to compete in the Olympics while wearing one.
Many other Muslim women, however, have been banned from competing in athletic events due to uniform restrictions their hijabs violate.
In Minnesota, Oakdale teenager Amaiya Zafar and her family are pushing for her to be allowed to compete in boxing competitions while wearing her hijab and covering her arms and legs, despite USA Boxing's uniform requirements. Zafar has been waiting two years for an official fight since first seeking a rule change in 2015. She almost got to compete in November, only to have the Florida bout called off at the last minute.
Minnesota is home to another hijab first. In November, 19-year-old Somali-American Halima Aden became the first fully covered Muslim to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
Kelsy Ketchum is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.