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The Grind Roller

Recovered materials for recovering athletes.

Photo of Kara
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The Grind Roller is a foam roller designed and built with renewability and recovery in mind. It consists of two layers: a hard rubber core constructed from recovered Nike Grind materials and a soft outer shell that utilizes EVA scraps to cushion and contour to the user’s unique body shape.

In the past decade, the use of foam rollers has dramatically increased in the fitness community as a way to aid in muscle recovery and flexibility. From top athletes to men and women simply trying to improve their physical well-being, everyone can find use in a foam roller. The Grind Roller reconciles recovery and renewability, giving these unique and driven individuals a new option to support not only their own physical well-being, but the well-being of the environment around them as we use our recycled and recovered materials to their greatest potential.

The simplicity of the Grind Roller’s design will not only assure a durable product that will yield an excellent user experience, but will allow for quick and efficient production, incorporating large amounts of Nike Grind material streams.

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

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The core of the Grind Roller must be rigid and durable. To accomplish this, the bulk of the core will consist of rubber flashings, granulate, and outsole components. Any large pieces of rubber (exceeding about 0.125 cubic centimeters) will be broken down into smaller components. Rubber will be mixed with a hot melt thermoplastic adhesive, potentially incorporating EVA scraps, and formed into a cylindrical core with the use of a mold. The size and shape of the molds will be variable, allowing for easy production of different size/shape rubber cores to create variable foam rollers to meet unique customer needs. The creation of the rubber-plastic composite will be easy to scale up and produce en masse, and the utilization of molds as the primary production technique will allow for a time and cost-effective production. The outer shell of the Grind Roller will utilize EVA foam scraps to attain a cushioned, yet durable layer surrounding the rubber core. This layer will serve both to give comfort to the user and protect the rubber core from wear. EVA foam scraps will be broken down into small components and mixed with a pliable adhesive, creating a foam composite that will be spread into a thin sheet (about 1 cm thick), and wrapped around the core of the Grind Roller.

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 main market is athletes or anyone participating in physical activities. However, individuals undergoing physical therapy (and looking to stretch their muscles) will also benefit from our product.

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

The Grind Roller will be introduced into the athletic and sports recovery marketplace through retail. We may face a hurdle of users not wanting to purchase a product created from recycled materials, as they may hold a fear of it not being of superior quality. Through iteration and prototyping, we will create a strong, durable, and effective product and we will turn this hurdle into a selling point, giving our environment-conscious target audience a new option to support renewability through the use of the Grind Roller. We will not face many hurdles in meeting a high production demand. Our manufacturing process will involve large batch creation of rubber-plastic composites and production of large molds to form our rollers. These processes will be easy to scale from prototyping to full-scale production.

How is your idea innovative?

The Grind Roller is a simple solution that has a big impact on people’s lives, while helping helping reduce waste. It is a completely recycled product as we are repurposing EVA foam and rubber scraps. With this idea, we are also able to create various designs and patterns to fit the needs of the user, whether they need it on the go or for recovery at home.

What inspired this idea?

We began with ideas that had an athletic background. When collecting feedback, we were inspired to create a product that could help others. Through brainstorming and interviewing our peers, we came up with a foam roller to alleviate pain for soreness and/or physical therapy purposes.

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

We (Jerry, Kara, Kathryn, and Michael) are Mechanical Engineers at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. We are all interested in using our knowledge and creativity to create a more sustainable world.

In what city are you located?

We are located in 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 will support the growth of our concept as we’ll have the materials to bring our design to life and improve upon it. With access to Grind materials, we will gain a better understanding of the chemical composition of the foam and rubber and how the two materials work together. Furthermore, having the ability to construct prototypes made from the proper materials will allow us to investigate different textures for the surface of the foam roller beyond a simple smooth cylinder.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Kara,

We see this post is currently in draft mode, and thus, not submitted to the Nike Design with Grind Challenge. Was this your intention? Please join the Challenge by clicking "publish" at the top of your post.

The submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, TODAY, May 1.

Excited to see you joining the Challenge!