Athing Mu, Nike, Olympic uniform, track and field

Nike Addresses Controversy On ‘Skimpy’ Olympic Women’s Kit

Nike says women athletes have other options to choose from that weren't featured in the launch show lineup in Paris.

In an effort to accommodate the diverse preferences of athletes, Nike has expanded its apparel options for the Team USA track and field kit amid criticism from Olympians who deemed the women’s uniform too “revealing,” “skimpy,” and “sexist.”

The controversy arose when images surfaced of a mannequin donning the women’s kit, featuring a high-cut panty that prioritized skimpiness over functionality, according to some athletes. A spokesperson for the USA Track & Field (USATF) governing body told Reuters, “Athlete options and choices were the driving force for USATF in the planning process with Nike.”

Nike has acknowledged concerns, revealing its offering of unitard options with both briefs and shorts for this year’s Olympics, while only briefs were available for the Tokyo Olympics. The brand’s track and field kits now encompass nearly 50 apparel pieces and 12 competition styles tailored to specific events.

At the launch show in Paris on April 11, athletes like U.S. middle-distance runner Athing Mu and sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson modeled Nike’s Olympic kits, showcasing the diverse options. Nike released the styles in an April 13 Instagram teaser that featured athletes from across sports. “Here’s your front-row seat to the future,” the footwear and apparel brand wrote. In the video, Mu sports the briefs while Richardson models a shorts version.

Pole vaulter Katie Moon, who is sponsored by Nike, addressed the controversy surrounding the mannequin kit. “What was shown on the mannequin kit was concerning and warranted the response it received,” she wrote. “I absolutely love people defending women, but we have at least 20 different combinations of a uniform to compete in with all the tops and bottoms available to us.” She clarified that the men’s uniform is also available for women, and they “do have the option “DO have the choice of what to wear.”

“The 2024 national and federation kits are the most athlete-informed, data-driven, and visually unified the company has ever produced,” Nike stated in a press release. Leveraging cutting-edge 4D motion-capture technology and meticulously refined algorithms, Nike stated that the design teams crafted each kit with pixel-perfect precision tailored to the nuances of every competition. The brand added that the designs were meticulously engineered to encapsulate the distinct identities and diverse cultural tapestries woven into the fabric of each nation and sporting discipline.

Nike has ensured tailors will be available for Olympic and Paralympic athletes this year, allowing for customized fittings, which U.S. steeplechaser Colleen Quigley advocated for in her response to the outfit she believes is “absolutely not made for performance.”