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Grind Life

Infusing legendary performance into your everyday products and routines to fuel your best performance through the entire day

Photo of Peter Lowe
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If you have a body, you are an athlete, and performance doesn’t stop when you leave the field. Grind Life infuses legendary performance from reclaimed Nike materials into the surfaces around you to activate your body and mind when you’re normally stagnant, and fuel your best performance through the entire day.

Nike is emblematic of the performance mindset, which we believe resonates equally in sports and as a lifestyle.  Nike users play their hardest on and off the field, and need gear that supports their best performance everywhere they are. 

However, the increasing competitiveness of modern work means that staying on top of both the professional and fitness games is tougher than ever, especially when you throw in kids, mortgages, and caring for aging parents.  

To help Nike users stay active and at their peak mental and physical output, we propose a product ecosystem that infuses the performance properties of Nike grind materials into a variety of products that interact with your body including active surfaces and furniture.  These products will boost users physical activity and focus when they need it most to help them play their best, whatever the game.

Because much of the current Grind material stream is from sneakers and Nike has tremendous brand equity in footwear, we propose that the first Grind Life products be performance surfaces that interface with users’ feet; imparting the support and rebound of a Nike sneaker to the surfaces they stand and move on, regardless of their current footwear.  This will include high-performance anti fatigue mats for home and office, yoga mats, and floor mats for cars.  By implementing anti-fatigue properties, these mats will help stimulate muscle activity through balance micro-adjustments and help users build more physical activity into their day.

To continue expansion into the the performance lifestyle space, we propose a line of active furniture that could include unconventional pieces such as an exercise mat  that can convert into chair using a rigid underside surface allowing predefined “origami” fold points, or a saddle seat / leaning stool incorporating a Nike Grind foam roller that allows a variety of active postures and permits separation of the foam roller for stretching and muscle conditioning breaks throughout the day.

Reuse, reconquer: Grind is no ordinary recycled feedstock. Because it reclaims material from the gear of some of the world’s best athletes, it comes charged with meaning.  Each grind life product has already powered countless athletes to victory, and this legacy provides inspiration to keep striving and raising the bar. Because of this exceptional heritage, we propose a business model for this product line that goes beyond traditional retail and distribute Grind Life products through a performance model (no pun intended), wherein the the ownership of discrete products stays with Grind Life and users access them through a subscription.  This will allow users to experiment and find the right products for their needs, as well as be able to coordinate what products they use with the ebb and flow of their own fitness routines and cycles of life.  For example, a pregnant user could change products as her body changes through and after pregnancy without creating waste or having to downcycle her old products into the used market.  We would reclaim and remake used products with minimal waste, and keep Grind materials bringing performance to athletes.

Company / Organization Name (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
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Mixed Footwear Textile
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"
  • Full Grain Leather Scraps
  • Split Leather Scraps Coated
  • Synthetic Leather

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The anti-fatigue mats will incorporate Grind materials composed similarly to the layout of a sneaker sole (see "Elevate your Game" diagram). The top layer will serve as a wear-resistant exterior skin composed of rubber or leather for durability and recognizable rubber granulate. The bottom layer composed of formed rubber soles, flashing, and granulate will serve as exterior grip. A sandwich of EVA and PU foam bonded with felted fluff and natural rubber adhesive will serve as a padded core. Leather and textile scraps will provide a stiffer backing underneath this padded core. The mat seat will use similar materials with a laminated layer of stiff plastic such as nylon or polycarbonate to create the required stiffness, and the foam roller seat will employ a foam core with a rubber outer layer, and plastic legs skinned with rubber.

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

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

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

Our target market is adults with athletic backgrounds who are striving to maintain and increase their physical activity and overall effectiveness amid the ever-increasing demands and responsibilities of adult life. They value performance and innovation, and appreciate sustainability. As a scaling strategy, we envision contracting with organizations such as corporate offices, transportation companies, retail vendors, and trade shows once we become established in the market.

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

We plan on implementing a subscription model for Grind Life’s physical products with a take-back and re-grind mechanism to establish a cradle-to-cradle process. One option for unveiling Grind Life products would be a limited introduction to Nike athletes and influencers, or striking a deal with a well-known corporation (such as Google) for a limited time exclusive access to our product line, and then gradually open up to distributing to larger metropolitan areas as the subscription model gets proven out. One of our key challenges will be executing a subscription and take-back program successfully. It will need to be tested on a small scale before expanding. Once developed, however, this process could scale naturally and incorporate long-term corporate contracts with schools, offices, transportation companies, retail vendors, and trade shows. See business model canvas for more details.

How is your idea innovative?

Being an athlete is an identity, which doesn’t end when the workout is over. Grind Life fills the gaps to establish a full performance lifestyle. We create products that activate physical and mental performance in otherwise stagnant settings. We will partner with Nike to expand the opportunity area opened by athleisure, while racing to a circular future. This partnership reinforces Nike’s commitment to sustainability and passes the baton to Grind Life to innovate our physical environment.

What inspired this idea?

If you have a body, you are an athlete...and being an athlete is a way of life. This inspired us to use regenerative Nike materials to empower the body and activate the mind not just on the field, but through all the surfaces that we touch and interface with through our day.

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

Our team unites years of experience with top design consultancies, sustainable fashion activism, design and mass manufacturing with polymers and metal, and circular economy design chops from the Schmidt MacArthur fellowship. See bios for details.

In what city are you located?

San Francisco

In what country are you located?


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


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

Becoming a top idea will help us make a tangible positive impact on the mindset and process of material consumption as well as the mindset and lifestyle of the active individual. With the help of a Nike partnership, it will bring our small-scale concept prototypes to scaled production and magnified impact.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Peter Lowe ,

A reminder that the ideas phase of this Challenge closes in less than one hour, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please have your submission updated by this deadline with content to all proposal questions complete.

Excited to have you in the Challenge!

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