When Nike unveiled the new women’s kit for the US soccer team, it did something totally unexpected: It also released the jersey in men’s sizes. This is definitely a change in tact since for a long time, Nike, and indeed other sports apparel makers, have been putting a lot of emphasis on men and neglecting the women.
In the past, the women’s shirts were only available in women’s sizes. The men’s shirts on the other hand were also available in women’s sizes. This obvious double standard is slowly fading away, if the latest developments are anything to go by.
This move by Nike however, may be overshadowed by its $28 billion annual sales according to Madison Street Capital, but it could also be an indication of an overall shift in focus around the world. After many years of been an afterthought, women are slowly becoming drivers in the sports market.
Other apparel providers have also followed suit. Targeting the women, Under Armour went on to declare a “womanifesto”. Footlocker has invested in new stores targeting “performance minded” women while Dick’s Sporting Goods is kick starting a digital campaign targeting the same.
To continuously narrow the gender gap, Nike is launching an ad campaign, its largest yet targeting women. The campaign employs a rather different approach, where it uses the everyday girl as the face in its ad, instead of relying on professional athletes, as is the traditional practice.