Back in February 2018, Nike challenged innovators around the world to come up with solutions to two significantly impactful athletic footwear issues: material waste and how to improve the recycling process to create more useful resources, footwear-related or otherwise.
Over 600 applications came from around the world, with five winners tasked with creating new inventions using Nike Grind – materials recovered from footwear recycling, and one winner awarded for their material recycling solution.
Starting with the Nike Grind inventions, you have Stuffed – a series of furniture pieces made from fiber, rubber granulate, and cork. The materials used to make the cushions come from recycled shoes and are designed by Harry Ingrams, Max Ashford, and Lucie Pendered-Mazer.
Pdd_kicks isn’t a poorly named Microsoft Word document, it’s the title for Go Takahashi, and Tuo Lei’s rock climbing holds. Made in partnership with the Tama Art University in Japan and the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland, these hand and footholds are made from rubber granulate found in recycled shoes.
Continuing the trend of confusing product names, Yogo isn’t the title of a new frozen yogurt stand, but rather the name for Jessica Thompson’s line of yoga accessories using many Nike Grind materials.
After hours of doing yoga, you can relax on this InShape mattress by Milan innovators Alberto Romano, Enrico Bassi, Federica Mandelli, Mariasilvia Poltonieri, and Mattia Ciurnelli. This vacuum mattress made from reused Nike Grind fiber and rubber is geared towards those with neurodevelopmental disorders, but those without them can still enjoy lying down on one of these.
The fifth Nike Grind product is Circular Cities, which is the name for a series of street safety products designed to slow traffic down. You know those road humps you’re forced to slow down for on main streets? These are a lot like those, except they can be disassembled, recycled, and assembled much easier. This was made by a Brooklyn-based group comprised of Cody Miller, Daniel Penge, Carla Ramirez Sosa, Megan Lighty, Elisia Langdon, and Kyle Ramos.
Brian Riise and John Gysbers of plastics recycling consultant company SuMaRec are the winners of the material recovery category for their introduction of two new phases to the Nike Grind recycling process. The first is an added material separation step which segregates materials according to their weight, while the second one is an added material-grinding step. Granted it doesn’t seem like much, but a couple of improvements to a recycling process to make it much more efficient goes a long way.
You can find more on Nike’s footwear recycling process here.