A series of new sports bras that Nike launched last week is causing quite a stir on Instagram, and it isn't exactly because of the bras themselves. The activewear giant is being praised for two recent posts on its @NikeWomen account featuring non-straight-sized women showing off the stretchy wares. Model Paloma Elsesser and yoga instructor Claire Fountain are featured in the posts, and they're both gorgeous, fit women who aren't a size two (or all that close to it). The responses on social media have been primarily very positive: "Let's hear it for the curvy, sexy, sporty women," one Instagram user wrote. Another user took it a step further with praise about just how impactful the images are: “This is a great post and a big step towards true body equality." Others called out how the images could (and should) set a precedent for other big names, presumably in the sportswear space: "Love love love! I know a few brands who could learn from this ad," one user wrote.
Also noteworthy: Nike doesn't make any mention of body type or "plus size" in the captions. It's a decision that, while subtle, promotes size inclusivity. (It's a stark contrast to how other brands have tried to offer size diversity in workout garb, for example Forever 21's heavily criticised plus-size-specific Instagram account.) It's especially important to see more body types in the activewear space in particular, which has been particularly bad at providing options for a wide range of sizes (much less including an array of physiques in ads or brand imagery). The new selection of bras that Elsesser and Fountain wear are part of Nike Pro Bra collection. The five silhouettes, which have been in the works for two years, were debuted at NYC activewear boutique Bandier last week, and they just hit stores a few days ago. The styles aren't actually offered in a wider range of sizes than Nike has traditionally stocked, though sizing does extend to an E cup — the bras are carried in sizes X to XL and 30A to 40E.
“The right sports bra is essential for the athlete. Having the right or wrong fit can make or break performance,” Nike senior design director Jamie Lee said in a statement. “To get it right, we analyse every detail in comfort and fit to ensure all athletes are supported, for whatever the sport.” (To that end, the caption on the brand's Instagram shot of Elsesser is focused solely on sports-bra fit intel, with no mention of said fit tips being specifically for bigger busts or curvier customers.) However, it doesn't look like the lookbook imagery for the new bras, featured below, includes as much size diversity as the Instagrammed photo: All of the women cast are professional athletes from various sports. We've reached out to Nike to find out whether Elsesser or Fountain will be featured in forthcoming shots in the campaign, beyond social-media-only imagery. Now, that would make this a truly commendable move for Nike.