The women’s World Cup is rapidly approaching, and as countries gear up for the tournament, Nike has unveiled the home kits that the US women’s national team will wear on the field. The mostly black-and-white jerseys have sparked some outrage for not brandishing the colors of the US flag, but another of the jersey’s traits is sure to find more support.
For the first time ever, the jerseys will be available in men’s sizes. As Bloomberg reported, Nike has had it in mind for some time to fix the very obvious double-standard of selling the men’s team jerseys in women’s and youth sizes but not offering guys a shot to wear the women’s team jerseys.
The move comes amid a major push by Nike to grab more of the women’s sportswear market—valued at more than $15 billion and growing swiftly—which includes projects like Nike’s collaboration with Japanese brand Sacai. Nike thinks it can add $2 billion in sales of women’s items by 2017. The men who might buy the women’s team jersey aren’t part of that market, but the gesture should buy Nike good will among female shoppers.
In fact, it’s probably more effective as a marketing ploy than a sales strategy. As Nike pointed out last year, there isn’t much demand for men’s sizes of the US women’s team jerseys. But fans of the team, men as well as women, will appreciate that the option exists.
People have also responded positively to Nike’s new campaign aimed at women. The website Fashionista noted that it’s relatable and motivational, and that sentiment is reflected in the comments about the ad on YouTube.
Perhaps most importantly, Nike is giving the US women’s national team the recognition it deserves. Soccer, or football as the rest of the world calls it, has grown in popularity in the US, and the most successful US national team by far is the women’s. They’re one of the top competitors at each World Cup (including the one coming up this June in Canada) and at the Olympics.