Exciting exciting news in my inbox this morning. Shukr has started to make hijab friendly exercise clothes! Yaaaay!
Of course, seeing as how they were just released today and I don’t have one to put on my hot little head, I have no idea of the quality. I did email their customer support and ask that they consider making sports tunics that reach down to the lower thigh/above the knee in a very very very very (yes, I said very a lot) lightweight wicking fabric, as well as light weight baggy sports pants. I emphasized how important it is to make exercise clothes in lightweight wicking materials, so that hijabis don’t overheat when exercising in the middle of the summer.
My one experience with a sports hijab was sadly disappointing. When I first opened the package, I was sure I had been sent the wrong hijab – it seemed like it was a blizzard hijab, meant for the deep dark, cold Minnesota winters, not running in the summer. Light weight, wicking fabric is really the key to excellent hijabi exercising. I can’t count the number of times clothes that are too heavy have weighed me down and reduced my performance. Granted, I’m not Olympic level, or even any good at running, but heavy, wet, soggy, non breathable clothes weighing you down makes it hard whether you’re running the Boston Marathon or just around the park.
This sports hoodie, for example, is on the right track, but I think may be too heavy, as they classify it as medium weight/thickness. This top is suppose to be for activewear as well, but again, medium weight (and also, why a big heavy neck that will just add more layers if you pair it with a sports hijab)? And, the sports hijabs I linked to above also say medium weight. It would be nice if these pants were a big baggier, and also, not a 4. I wonder if they had hardcore hijabi exercisers test these out? I would hope that they could make it from something that is a 1, 2 or 3 on their fabric chart:
1. Very Light / Extra Thin
2. Light / Thin
3. Light Medium / Thin Medium
4. Medium Weight / Thickness
5. Heavy Medium / Thick Medium
6. Heavy / Thick
7. Extra Heavy / Extra Thick
I have one tunic that’s a 4, and it’s quite heavy/wintery.
So in general, my advice to Shukr (without the benefit of actually trying out these clothes) is this:
- Lightweight, wicking, breathable fabrics are a must. Exercising is a hot hot business, and wearing long sleeves and pants already can lead to overheating of the exerciser. Look at fabrics like Under Armour HeatGear and even the C9 brand at target. Don’t look at their regular long sleeve exercise clothes, as those are usually targeted for colder weather. Check the fabric they use for their short sleeve and tank tops, and find something like that to make your clothes with. I would love to get this hoodie, but the 4 fabric rating has me worried it will be too heavy.
- The breath-ability of the fabric deserves it’s own entry. Exercisers can sweat buckets, and if the fabric isn’t breathable, it gets soggy and wet, and without the heat being able to escape, the exerciser is prone to heatstroke.
- Less is more. While I applaud the effort to give hijabi exercisers something to wear, you don’t need layers when exercising, nor do you need big collars. A very simple tunic is best. I’d prefer one that hits just above my knees.
- Baggier pants would be good too. Most regular sports lines offer decent regular pants like these, although they do tend to be fall/winter weight fabrics.
Overall, JazakAllah khair Shukr, for addressing this oft ignored problem. I look forward to trying a piece or 2 our (hint hint AbuS) and also to see what kind of innovations and improvements you all make in the future.
If any of my readers would be interested in this kind of clothing, do contact shukr and let them know, especially in the light weight/wicking fabric department. Also, comment on this post, as I believe I’ll email this to them as well. If they see there’s a market, inshaAllah they’ll deliver :)
ps – dear AbuS, I need to go shukr shopping again :)