Shots from the Nike Women%uFFFDs 6.0 Collection featuring women in action sports.

For years at Label Networks we’ve tracked sports, particularly action sports, and the changing demographics of participation levels. As our subscribers can quantify, there’s been significant potential for women in action sports, especially when calculating the overall fanbase (those that want to learn).

However brands and retailers committing to gear oriented to action sports-inspired lifestyles haven’t been nearly as prevalent as men’s. Of course there are exceptions, such as Nikita, and of course Billabong, Quiksilver Women’s, Burton’s women’s collection, and others. But to look herstorically, the hey-day for women’s action sports-inspired apparel, especially in snowboarding, was around 1992, with brands such as Yang, Deep, Betty Rides (still hanging on), and from Swag came Prom. One of the first pro equipment models for a female action sports athlete was snowboarder Tina Basich and her signature Sims board, and the original magazine to cover the scene of women in action sports was W.i.g. Magazine. (Read “Pretty Good for a Girl” for more.) This definitely turned heads, including Nike, who at the time was caught behind the times.

Fast-forward to 2010, and it’s as though women in action sports is the new big thing when frankly, it’s been percolating for the last 2 decades. Obviously there are many other brands that support women in action sports, particularly sneaker manufacturers (i.e. Osiris, Keep, DC Shoes, Vans, among others), but the Nike 6.0 collection for women, featuring 3 pro action sports athletes, Monyca Byrne-Wickey, Ellery Hollingsworth, Carissa Moore, has brought significant attention back to this growing marketplace.

So while Nike’s recent announcement to double its current estimated $390 million action sports business by 2015 is significant, launching a collection oriented to action sports lifestyles of girls is even more -especially if you look at the data of the potential future marketplace compared with males within the age range of 13-25-years-old.

The Nike 6.0 collection for women has successfully taken aspects of each sport’s lifestyle, including skate, surf, snowboarding, and their team riders, and created hoodies, T’s, feminine streetwear styles, and even sneakers including the much-hyped Balsa Mids (guys like it too), that have put this performance apparel on the radar globally.

Carissa Moore on her Nike 6.0 board.

Their working slogan of “Girls Will be Boys” is probably the weakest aspect of the campaign, but the combined photo shoot, lookbook, and video shot by former super Helena Christensen (who also co-founded and shot for Nylon Magazine), makes the overall Women’s 6.0 Collection a tight package.

Right now, according to Nike, their action sports category is their fastest growing category for the Nike brand, with Hurley bringing in $200, million and Converse $915 million. The launch of the Women’s 6.0 Collection, and addition of sports such as motocross into the action sports mix, indicate that Nike may just reach its 2015 goals.

Balsa Mids. Some aspects of the apparel and footwear collection are gender-neutral which taps into the post-gender trends of today%uFFFDs youth culture. Photo by Yasmine from AnyoneGirl.