What Is a Sport Hijab?

G. D. Palmer
G. D. Palmer
Woman posing
Woman posing

A sport hijab is a specialized type of hijab, or modest Islamic women's headcovering, designed to cover the neck, hair, and shoulders during physical activity. Sport hijabs come in a range of styles, from models that resemble normal hijabs to close-fitting, all-in-one garments depending on the sport and the athlete's preferences. These garments are made from stretchy, breathable fabrics and include extra straps and bands to keep them in place. These garments often feature the same kind of styling as more mainstream sports garments.

Some Muslim women believe that their religion commands them to cover their bodies, including their hair, in all public places. Conventional hijabs range from simple scarves to more complicated multi-piece garments, and provide a flowing silhouette with full head and neck coverage. These garments fall off or become snagged easily during many sporting activities, presenting a modesty and safety hazard for the wearer. The sport hijab provides the same degree of covering, but fits more closely and securely.

The sport hijab may closely resemble its conventional cousin, with a draped, scarf-like shape. This type of hijab usually includes an extra-long front and back to keep skin from being exposed accidentally. Closer-fitting models provide less wind resistance and are less likely to flap. Some styles made for martial arts are attached to a form-fitting shirt or bodysuit, which keeps the hijab from coming loose or being caught by an opponents.

There are a variety of different materials used to make a sport hijab. Styles meant for running or other warm-weather aerobic exercises use cotton or polyester knits to wick sweat away from the head, while outdoor sport hijab styles use fleece to provide more warmth. Some very lightweight sport hijabs are made with rayon, while models made for swimming and skating use stretchy polyamide. These types of hijabs either fit very closely to the face and neck or use internal bands and straps to secure the garment during physical activity.

Most sport hijab styles are made to blend in with other sportswear. They may include contrasting piping or trim, bold colors, and decorative panels. Tennis and martial arts hijabs are often white, like traditional tennis uniforms or karate gi. These sporty touches aren't just ornamental; they can also increase an athlete's visibility when running or cycling, especially in dim lighting.

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