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Nike Grind Carpet Cushioning

Using Nike Grind materials to create carpet cushioning — a practical and elegant long-term solution.

Photo of Jonah Silva
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Carpet cushioning is the material installed beneath carpet that provides the structure and comfort that people normally associate with carpet flooring. Our team is designing two types of carpet cushioning which are made almost exclusively from Nike Grind materials and held together using a resin binder. 

The first type of cushioning is bonded cushioning, which is common in most residential houses; this is the highest quality cushioning. Our bonded cushioning uses the Nike rubber outsoles, flashings, and granulate, along with all EVA foam components. The manufacturing process consists of three simple steps: sifting and sorting grind material, laying out of the material and coating it with a resin bonding agent, and steam-pressing the layout to desired thickness.

The second type of cushioning is fiber cushioning, which has primarily commercial applications. Our fiber cushioning is constructed out of a mixture of textile and synthetic Nike Grind materials. The fiber cushioning is manufactured in a similar fashion to the bonded cushioning.

Many times, the most innovative solution to a problem is the simplest one. We took this approach when designing Nike Grind Carpet Cushioning; carpet cushioning is not a new, grandiose way to use recycled material, but a simple, practical, long-term solution for the following reasons. 

  1. Carpet cushioning maximizes the amount of recycled material that Nike can utilize in a single solution.
  2. This product could be profitable for Nike because Nike does not have to pay for outsourced materials like other carpet cushioning companies.
  3. Creating a circular economy is a key element of a sustainable future, and a unique quality of the carpet cushioning is that old padding can easily be reused to create new sheets of cushioning.
  4. Carpet cushioning provides a long-term purpose for Nike Grind material, because it is installed in buildings which have lifespans of well over 50 years. This is in contrast to many other Nike proposals which are focused on the short lifetime, consumer market which only postpones solving the issue instead of creating a solution to the underlying issue.

Nike Grind Carpet Cushioning potentially has huge benefits for Nike from a business standpoint, while also providing a long-term solution that contributes to a circular, sustainable economy.

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"
  • Synthetic Leather

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

Between the two types of cushioning detailed above, Nike could use almost every type of Grind material for this product. We decided that Nike Grind would be most practical as a low-risk material that does not have to withstand heavy dynamic loads, meet specific thermal requirements, or meet health requirements. The design constraints for carpet cushioning are durability and elasticity: it must withstand years of foot traffic and provide comfort. The rubber, foam, textile, and synthetic leather scraps and pieces that make up Nike Grind are both durable and elastic, and would be ideal material for carpet cushioning.

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?

The target market for our product is housing and commercial development. There is an widespread demand for housing, and while carpet remains a primary flooring option, there is a large-scale demand for carpet cushioning. This product benefits homeowners and businesses, and if cost can be lowered, it can be used in affordable housing and even in third world countries that are striving to create more infrastructure. Most importantly, it benefits society through contributing to a circular economy.

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

Nike would have to pitch this idea to directly to housing developers, companies, contractors, or selling the product to vendors like Home Depot. The biggest obstacle for this product would be breaking into the carpet cushioning market, as Nike has never been in this industry before. However, we believe that Nike could realistically be competitive in the carpet cushioning market because it already has access to production material. In contrast, most carpet cushioning manufacturers have to outsource materials from automotive, textile, or mattress companies, which adds to production costs. Because of this, Nike could keep costs down and be competitive in the market.

How is your idea innovative?

As described in previous sections, Nike Carpet Cushioning simple to manufacture, contributes to a circular economy, and is a long-term solution.

What inspired this idea?

We came up with this product through creative brainstorming exercises and interviewing a housing developer who designed, built, and sold thousands of homes and complexes in Monterey County.

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

We are a team of four second-year mechanical engineering students studying at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo.

In what city are you located?

San Luis Obispo

In what country are you located?


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

Becoming a Top Idea would give us the resources to make full-scale prototypes, further research and test production methods, and create a production plan, and research a viable business model. As stated in previous sections, it is key that Nike assimilates into the carpet cushioning industry, and it will require carefully researched and tested plans and models for Nike to be competitive.


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Photo of Robert Boyd

I love this idea. Keep going with it! Such a simple, effective, and easily manufactured option.

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