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Nike Grind HEX

Upcycle Nike EVA foam midsoles into Nike Grind Hex, a hex-shaped, laser-cut, new foam product that is distributed wholesale to designers.

Photo of Bryan Chiao
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To transform by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Also known as creative reusing.

Problem: Most of Nike Grind is hard to tell it’s from an actual shoe except for the uncut EVA phylon foam midsoles. The foam midsole takes up a lot of space and is hard to work with.  But it's actually a great material. It’s waterproof, it’s lightweight, and it’s durable.  We wanted to pivot to a new How Might We statement that’s more specific: How might we reuse and redesign the Nike EVA foam midsoles?

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Solution: Create a sub-brand under Nike Grind called Nike Grind Hex. Nike Grind Hex uses the left over foam midsoles and foam defects to create a new hexagonally-shaped foam piece that is branded into a ready-to-use packaged product. This way architects, city planners, landscape architects, interior designers, and consumers can use Nike Grind Hex for multiple creative uses. Think of it as a new recycled foam tile that looks like an actual branded product that could be sold online or in stores. 

We can also partner with eco-friendly foam manufacturers like Popfoam and PLUSfoam to help us with production and packaging.

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • EVA Foam Components

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

We will be only using Nike’s EVA foam full components, phylon midsoles that have not been chopped yet. From there we’ll take them and cut out hexagonal shapes from the midsoles. We hope to experiment the most efficient method to cut them. Research online says that EVA foam be easily cut with laser and engraved with our logo.

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?

We believe architects, interior designers, city planners, and socially-conscious non-profit visionaries will best benefit from our product. Designer: Maybe the next designer for Nike's retail shop can use this. Retail experiences are becoming more and more important to the customer. Consumers: As it is, Nike Grind is very industrial and unrefined. But by creating our hexagonal foam pieces, everyone can be inspired to use the material in their home projects.

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

Branding and marketing are ways will hope to scale the idea of Nike Grind Hex. We can officially launch the product at the world’s biggest trade show for designers called Maison Objet. There, buyers and designers, around the world will get introduced to this new sustainable product. The Nike Grind Hex opens up infinite design possibilities for geometric shaped pieces and can be used as a “skin layer” of furniture including bathroom, kitchen, living room and especially retail design. Scalability seems quite feasible because product cost is very low and therefore has higher margins. Some obstacles we foresee: 1. Getting enough of the material. Good quality and consistency. 2. Finding the right long-term partnerships. 3. Developing the best cost-efficient way to produce Nike Grind Hex. 4. Making sure the product is safety-tested and safe in its environment to humans. 5. Developing Nike Grind Hex version 2 so that continues to stay relevant in the design industry

How is your idea innovative?

We’re redirecting EVA Foam midsoles into a blank canvas for designers to make something new and beautiful with it. The innovation lies in its simplicity and infinite possibilities. The hex shape is being used across the internet as a preferred design element for geometric designs, storytelling, education, etc. However, the hex shape is not being used too much in the design of physical spaces. The simplicity of the idea has the potential for low cost manufacturing enabling designers to use.

What inspired this idea?

At first Nike Grind just looked like a mix of junk until the EVA foam midsoles stood out to our team. After sharing the hex shaped vision at our OpenIDEO meeting, our team exploded with endless building ideas. Then, we realized we wanted to create a blank canvas to enable other designers.

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

We are a group of UX Designers working in Los Angeles. Some of us have been attending openIDEO events for the past year. We hope to get to the next round so that we can execute and prototype this idea with manufacturers and partners.

In what city are you located?

Los Angeles

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 help us get towards producing a minimum valuable product. We want to move forward into the manufacturing process and meet more potential partners. We hope to develop a few laser-cut prototypes of Nike Grind Hex so that potential designers can have something tangible to experiment. With the funds, it would be great to also bring the experimental product prototype to a few trade shows so that more people can see it and we can gain feedback.


Join the conversation:

Photo of ashiq shibin


Good work guys. you guys have a different perspective. But you guys will require more materials for this and I think u are wasting more materials. You get only one hexagon from one soul but if you could have different projects which have different hexagon dimensions you could get more than one from one soul. kindly give it a thought. I may be wrong because I don't know your idea fully. Sorry if I m wrong. but just wanna share my thought
All the best, Hope you guys go to the next round.

Photo of Bryan Chiao

Hi Ashiq. Thanks for looking at our entry. It shouldn't require any more materials because it's all based on the quantity of midsoles available in stock. We're taking something that would have been chopped up or discarded and giving it a new life. The leftover scraps could definitely still be reused as EVA foam components for Nike Grind.

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