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Nike Grind Tile

Design and manufacture a modular tile system that can be arranged to create a variety of structures.

Photo of Mafia
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Based on our experience working with recycled materials, we developed a tile that can be used in many different ways. Our approach is to create, with Nike Grind material, a high-value-perceived product. We want The Tile to be functional for the needs of many people, in the spaces they live, work and play. 

We began by considering the material, imagining our tiles will take on similar characteristics of shock-absorption, water-resistance, and sound absorption. These material characteristics inspired our first approach to this modular system. The modular tiles lend themselves to a wide variety of applications, from art installations, to playgrounds, store displays, and even shelters. For example:

  1. In-Store Display -- The Nike Grind Tile system can be used in-store to display products in a dynamic way. It is a great way to start a tangible conversation with customers about sustainability and promote the Nike Grind program. 

  2. Children’s Creativity Tool -- The Nike Grind Tile system can be used in playgrounds and play environments to introduce children to sustainability, while also fostering innovation and creativity through play. 

  3. Emergency Relief -- Thanks to its compact design, lightness, and a simple kit of parts, the Nike Grind Tile system can be used for quick construction of durable, temporary structures for emergency relief and homeless shelters.

  4. Indoor Space Sound Dampening -- The Nike grind tile system can be used in sport complexes, on walls or ceilings to provide sound absorption. 

  5. And much more! -- We designed the Nike Grind Tile system to be a platform for creativity. Its versatility allows for the creation of endless new uses while simultaneously supporting a more sustainable marketplace.

We have worked with similar materials before, and have a production facility in the U.S. that can produce and scale manufacturing. We believe the materials, the process, and the product should all be aligned within a sustainable framework.

The potential uses for Nike Grind Tile are limitless. Anyone in the world can use their imagination and ingenuity to create using the Nike Grind Tile system for their specific needs. The simplicity and ease of assembly lends itself to creating structures in nearly any setting where a function can be imagined for it. 

The main idea is not what we can do in the firsthand, but to create a language of sorts, by which our community can communicate and share with one another. Our innovation comes from great design with a real-world application, improving the lives of as many people as possible.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Mafia Bags LLC

Website (if applicable)

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The Nike Grind EVA rubber and foam will be fused to create a durable, multifunctional tile. The tiles will be made from majority Nike Grind material, utilizing as little new material as possible without sacrificing functionality or durability.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

We imagine the Nike Grind Tile's functionality to be limitless. These photos and renderings show how the tiles will easily join to create and endless number of structures and spaces.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

For the first applications, we are proposing that our target market include Nike stores and distributors (mainly for displays and fixtures), university and professional level gymnasiums, school districts, municipalities and larger companies with a need for creative space solutions. It would later be released for sale to the general public. Anyone who is interested in sustainability and functional, beautiful design will find a use for the Nike Grind Tile.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Our first focus will be corporate clients, such as stores and distributors of Nike products, universities, and large companies with a need for creative space solutions. These partnerships will create exposure, promote the material, and illustrate the limitless potential of the Nike Grind Tile. Our corporate clients will also provide feedback for design of preset architectures and kits for eventual sale to the general public. The challenge will be to show our consumer the inherent value of this product solution. To overcome this challenge we will develop an online creative platform or ‘Maker-Space’, where people can view and contribute design ideas. This platform will provide tangible examples of how to use The Tile through, allowing the consumer to grasp the system’s potential and ignite creativity to visualize new functionalities and design solutions. For our larger corporate clients, we will provide an in-house design team to inspire and assist in bringing ideas to fruition.

How is your idea innovative?

The key innovation we want to highlight about The Tile is that rather than delivering a ‘finished product’ to the end user, we are providing a versatile creative tool that can be used to create all types of products and all types of environments. The Tile also features Nike Grind material in a very visual and tactile way. This helps to communicate the recycled-nature of the tile and creates a story that can be used to inspire sustainability innovation in the users of The Tile.

What inspired this idea?

We were inspired by the variable nature and structural properties of the elements that make up Nike Grind material. We were also inspired by the ability of people and businesses to collaborate to create their own spaces that adapt and grow with people based on individual and ever-changing needs.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Mafia is a design and manufacturing company creating products out of up-cycled materials. We have our own line of bags made out of up-cycled sails, and also collaborate on product and art installations with other companies and renowned designers.

In what city are you located?

San Francisco

In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

B-Corp certified LLC

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Besides simply increasing the reach of our idea and message to a larger community of sustainability-minded folk, advancing to become a Top Idea would also help to fund further design, development, and prototyping of the Nike Grind Tile. The main outcome, however, will be the opportunity to collaborate with the Nike community and incorporate the feedback from a larger community of sustainability-minded innovators.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Charles Zulanas

Mafia  you may want to consider partnering with Chloe Varelidi on her idea of Play in a box. Your use of Nike Grind materials could be used for refugee camps if you partnered together.

Photo of Chloe Varelidi

Oh! this is super, thanks @charles zulanas- @Mafia how heavy is the material? our pieces need to be super light.