Nike is set to launch a maternity collection. Image supplied

Nike’s new collection launches after unfair treatment of pregnant athletes

Leading sports apparel brand Nike has announced the launch of its first-ever maternity collection for sporty moms-to-be.


Nike is set to launch a maternity collection. Image supplied

According to the brand, the collection, named Nike (M), aims to “support women during all stages of pregnancy and beyond”.

Designed to take women through all the stages of pregnancy and beyond, the new maternity line is part of an effort to appeal to female athletes after being severely criticised for their treatment of pregnant athletes.

Criticism over Nike’s discrimination

Nike has come under fire over the past few years for discriminating against pregnant athletes, as well as having a workplace culture that is harmful to women. The launch of the new collection comes a year after the company had to face a congressional inquiry over allegations of discrimination and the way they treated their pregnant athletes.

Top sportswomen like Olympic runner Alysia Montaño, and sponsored Nike runner, Phoebe Wright admitted how difficult it was to keep their sponsorships if Nike found out they were pregnant.

After these stories were published, there was a huge public backlash and wave of negative comments about the brand on social media, forcing the company to institute a policy that guaranteed an athlete’s pay and bonuses throughout the pregnancy.

Since then, the company has launched several collections and lines that focus on women, such as a sports hijab and a plus-size line. Nike also designed and produced the jerseys for the women’s World Cup soccer team and will launch the new Nike (M) maternity collection for sporty moms-to-be.

The new Nike collection

The project was the brainchild of Senior Design Director for Apparel Innovation, Carmen Zolman, who began working on the collection three years ago before the exposé about the brand’s treatment of pregnant athletes came to light.

Collaborating with mothers and mothers-to-be on the Nike design team, Zolman and her team began the process by interviewing over 30 professional female athletes to attain a greater understanding of what women feel about their bodies during pregnancy.

Nike also examined more than 150,000 pregnancy comparison scans of non-pregnant women against those of pregnant women to determine what was needed for the collection in terms of design, style, and comfort.

Zolman said it was exciting to be able to work hand-in-hand with all kinds of mothers and support women’s relationships with sport during such a transformative time.

“The more we listened to expecting mothers and postpartum mothers, the more we learned, reworked, and innovated through inclusive design,” she said.

The collection consists of a four-piece capsule, which includes a pair of tights, a tank top, a bra, and a cardigan, all of which are made from stretchy fabrics meant to adapt to a woman’s body as it changes throughout pregnancy. The collection has also been designed to wear after giving birth, offering a comfortable, flattering option for working out.


In recent years, Nike has diversified its apparel offerings to keep up with the ever-changing face of society like adding athletic hijabs for female athletes in 2017 and launching more realistic, “curvier” mannequins in 2019.

In February of this year, the brand’s seasonal runway show in New York featured an inclusive array of models ranging from athletes with disabilities, Olympians, LGBTQ activists, and kids.

The Nike maternity collection launches in Africa, Europe, and North America on 17 September.

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