Celebrating the Nike Design with Grind Challenge Top Ideas

Exploring five innovative ideas with the potential to help create a more circular world

The future demands a transition to a circular economy—a world in which materials can be used and reused at their highest potential. In 2018, Nike and OpenIDEO came together to launch the Nike Design with Grind Challenge asking innovators to partner with us in answering the question:

How might we create a waste-free, circular future by designing everyday products using Nike Grind materials?

Over 500 teams from around the world joined the Challenge, and after months of concept development, prototyping and iteration, we are excited to announce our Design with Grind Challenge Top Ideas Winners. Please join us in congratulating these teams on their hard work and dedication to a circular future—we know this is just the beginning.



Combining Nike's beautiful recycled materials with YOGO's trusted brand and innovative product pipeline is the perfect way to showcase an attractive circular product stream, and advance a successful recycled product offering that raises the bar in the yoga industry. Yoga practitioners are predominantly athletic, and environmentally-conscious, hungry for practical innovation, and possibly the perfect customers to support a shift to more sustainable materials.

"Yoga practitioners are predominantly athletic, and environmentally-conscious, hungry for practical innovation, and possibly the perfect customers to support a shift to more sustainable materials." 


InShape Mattress

The InShape Mattress is a versatile, comfortable cushioning system developed specifically for the needs of children with Rett Syndrome. The Milan-based team paired makers with physical therapists who were inspired to make a more adaptable, affordable and environmentally-friendly therapeutic mattress.

This team was inspired by the idea that creativity can "close the circle" and transform the output of a process into input for something new, proof of how much design thinking can do.

This stands as a great example of how reusing and recycling doesn't mean to compromise on the value of the product: “using the Nike Grind for InShape Mat, is not a fall back, it's an improvement.”

"This stand as a great example of how reusing and recycling doesn't mean to compromise on the value of the product: using the Nike Grind for InShape Mat, is not a fall back, it's an improvement." 

Circular Cities

Imaging how circular cities might look, feel and operate in the future made this six-member team come to life. Their solution utilized Nike Grind as a core ingredient in traffic-calming devices, which aim to make cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists, ultimately encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly transportation. This team felt that participating was a no-brainier, and found the experience to be a fun, collaborative and rewarding experience.

"The OpenIDEO / Nike Grind Challenge provided an exciting opportunity to test a design philosophy that, we as a group, shared mutual interest in making a reality."

PDD Climbing Holds

PDD Kicks has created rubber granulate indoor climbing holds. The holds have proven successful in multiple iterations testing different grip types and shapes. This product design duo were inspired by both footwear design and rock climbing when they joined the Design with Grind Challenge. 

"Rapid consumption has always been a impression of footwear industry, I thought it would be a exciting challenge to change that impression through design and Nike grind is the perfect material and also great medium to spread the way of thinking sustainability."


Stuffed developed a way to reform Nike Grind Rubber Granulate into an eco-friendly composite material that can be used as an alternative to plastic, and implemented this innovation into a sleekly designed set of furniture. Inspired by the Challenge to design sustainably and with circularity in mind, the team tested numerous versions of Nike Grind material for furniture and came up with both structural and cushioning applications. 

"It’s exciting to try and work towards a more healthy innovative future with companies that are so well established and innovating within their industries." 
         — STUFFED TEAM

Early Childhood Book Writing

It can be a challenge to write a book for an audience as young as 0-3 year-olds. You need to say a lot through a short story, use the correct vocabulary, and keep young, wandering minds engaged. This section supports your understanding of some basic rules, methods, and tricks to write for this audience of children (0 to 3), families, and caregivers.

  1. Basic Vocabulary Terms: Tier 1 vocabulary is comprised of words that most children use in everyday speech. This lesson provides teachers with Tier 1 words, and can be used to ensure the vocabulary in your manuscripts meets our Challenge Evaluation Criteria.
  2. 101 Tier 1 Words in English and Spanish: Vocabulary list of tier 1 words in English and Spanish with child-friendly definitions.
  3. Preschooler's Vocabulary: The words on this list are the most frequently occurring words of preschool children.
  4. Mixed Word List: A mixed list of words for babies, toddlers, preschoolers
  5. Children's Book Mistakes: 5 children’s book mistakes to avoid when crafting your manuscript. Working on a book for young readers? Here’s what not to do.
  6. Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.
  7. Reader's Guide Tips for Parents: The Reader's Guide provides aspiring authors with insights into what parents are doing to facilitate a quality reading experiences with their children.
  8. Amari's Adventure: There are examples of books we consider “quality reads.” Elements of these "quality reads" include a compelling storyline, using language that can be easily read aloud, and embedded reading guide for teachers/parents.
  9. Types of Books: An overview of the different types of book genres associated with different types of language and how each encourages a different dialog or conversation with children.
  10. Everything About Writing a Picture Book: Picture books! For many writers, this is the most tantalizing genre of all. It might also be the single hardest one to crack. So how do you do it? The following resource is adapted from a workshop given by Edmonton-based children’s writer Alison Hughes.
  11. Best Books for 0-5 Years: The books here are the best books written for babies, toddlers and preschoolers ages 0-5 over the last 100 years.

Urban Contexts

Some of you may be familiar with the experiences of living in an urban context within the U.S. like Philadelphia, but others of you may not. This section contains a mix of articles, podcasts, documentaries, and resources that provide a window into the lives and learning experiences of children, families, and caregivers living in urban contexts.

  1. Read by 4th: Get a flavor for Philadelphia and the momentum behind early literacy in this video from the citywide, grade-level reading campaign, known as Read By 4th.
  2. Don't Ask Where I'm From, Ask Where I'm a Local: Writer Taiye Selasi speaks on behalf of "multi-local" people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two.
  3. The Philadelphia Migration Project: A talk from Domenic Vitiello, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of City Planning and Urban Studies at University of Pennsylvania, which gives comprehensive insights on the topic of "Local History and Demography: The Philadelphia Migration Project."

  1. Inclusion in Early Childhood Settings in Philadelphia: A resource from the William Penn Foundation that dives into inclusion in Philadelphia child-care programs.
  2. Diversity in Early Childcare and Education: This book by Janet Gonzalez-Mena explores the rich diversity encountered in programs and environments for children birth to 8—including those serving children with special needs.
  3. Philadelphia's Immigrants: The PEW Charitable Trust shares about immigrants in the city of Philadelphia and how they are changing the city.
  4. Growing Up American: This academic paper explores the challenges and socioeconomic circumstances confronting immigrants and immigrant families.

  1. Migrant Children Growing Up in America: During this webinar, three scholars explore the educational, psychological, and social impacts of discrimination on immigrant children from birth to age 10 growing up in America.
Get Involved

Receive updates about the Nike Design with Grind Challenge and OpenIDEO Circular initiatives here.