Nike Is Launching a Performance Burkini
The Nike Victory Swim Collection is made for women who want to dress modestly without feeling weighed down by baggy garments.
Last year, Nike became the first major sportswear company to offer a performance hijab. Now, fueled by positive feedback, Nike is taking a similar step in swimwear. The brand just announced the Nike Victory Swim Collection, its foray into modest swimwear. (Related: Ibtihaj Muhammad On the Future of Muslim Women In Sports)
The line includes a swim hijab, tunic, and leggings, as well as a full-coverage swimsuit. It's meant to fill a gap in burkini options that are suited for training. Athletes told Nike designers that existing options left them "feeling weighted down by baggy garments" and worried about whether their hijabs and coverings would remain in place during water sports training, according to a press release. (Related: This High School In Maine Just Became the First to Offer Sports Hijabs to Muslim Athletes)
As a solution, the designers incorporated lightweight, quick-dry fabric and mesh vents for better water flow. Both the tunic and the full-coverage swimsuit have a built-in sports bra inspired by Nike's existing Shape bra, but with adjustable straps. The hijab features a snug headband and a pocket that keeps hair locked in place. In short, they combine the sporty elements you'd expect from Nike with full coverage and modest silhouettes. (Related: Nike Aims to Reduce Common Running Injuries with Its Latest Shoe Launch)
With this launch, Nike is taking on one of the most politicized pieces of clothing. Burkini bans around the world have forced many women to avoid dressing modestly at public beaches and pools or risk intimidation, harassment, and/or being turned away from these community spaces. Most famously, cities across France began banning burkinis in public places in 2016. Even though the country's highest administrative court ruled that mayors legally cannot impose burkini bans, they still exist in some cities.
While the United States hasn't imposed any bans, women who wear burkinis often still face harassment. Women who choose to wear them here are sometimes verbally abused and/or kicked out of where they're trying to swim, according to a recent report from HuffPost.
On the bright side, we've made some progress recently when it comes to visibility. This year, Halima Aden became the first woman to wear a burkini in Sports Illustrated, and a company as big as Nike offering a burkini is a major step.
FYI: Nike hasn't made that step just yet—the company's take on modest swimwear will arrive early next year. The Nike Victory Swim Collection will become available on February 1 on nike.com and in some stores.