Nike wants your help developing next generation of innovative, recyclable products

nike circular innovation challenge grind

Nike is running toward the future, and asking you to help propel it forward. In a call to all thinkers, makers, designers, and engineers, the athletics brand is looking to “turn innovation inside out” and further improve Nike Grind, the brand’s palette of premium recycled material. The company is here to prove that the second time around can in fact be better than the first, and to that end, is proclaiming that “it’s time to create better and waste less.” And it all starts with the Nike Circular Innovation Challenge. 

Comprised of two separate projects, the Challenge gives creative minds the option of either creating new products using Nike Grind materials, or developing new technologies to advance footwear recycling. The idea, of course, is to ensure that no Nike product ever goes to waste again, a mission that the company has been chasing since 1990, when it introduced its Reuse-a-Shoe program. To date, that initiative has managed to collect and recycle more than 30 million pairs of used shoes (including shoes not from Nike). This footwear has in turn been transformed into a brand new material known as Nike Grind, which has been used in the creation of more than 1 billion square feet of sports surfaces around the world.

And it’s not just tracks, courts, and the like that have utilized Nike Grind materials. Rather, by separating and then grinding rubber, foam, fiber, leather, and textile blends into a “wide range of granules,” Nike Grind can be found in everything from new footwear to apparel to play surfaces. And now, the company is looking to take things even further.

“The goal of this challenge is to identify promising new solutions for Nike Grind materials, so we can continue to create products that improve the lives of the people who use them, while reducing waste in the world around us,” the company noted in a statement. The first phase in the process will be the Ideation Phase, in which participants are encouraged to share concepts, stories, and insights with hopes of ultimately submitting the best proposal possible.

Then, up to 30 shortlisted concepts will be invited to the Refinement phase, where they will build and test solutions. These competitors, Nike says, “are invited to develop prototypes, scale-up plans, and other demonstrations of the solution’s ability to satisfy the goals of the challenge.” At this stage, folks can actually request material innovation kits for prototyping purposes, which means that they’ll be able to create a real proof of concept. And finally, a grand prize winner will be chosen — he or she will receive $30,000, while up to four additional innovators will be granted $5,000 each to further develop their concepts. But the company also points out that “all promising proposals will be considered for further partnership with Nike.”

All proposals are due by May 1, 2018, so if you’ve an idea on how to create the future of recycled material, Nike wants to hear your idea.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.
Computing

Keep your portable computer safe and shiny with the best laptop bags for 2019

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Mobile

Samsung commits to improving the Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S10 has a new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the screen, and while it's better than other examples, people have experienced problems. Samsung has committed to making further accuracy improvements over time.
Outdoors

This zippy electric trike is about to join the ridesharing revolution

Electric rideables that we share with others are changing the way we get around cities. Bikes and scooters are the main options offered by these app-based services, but another outfit is about to add trikes to its fleet.
Outdoors

Volkswagen offers a pair of cool scooter designs for zipping around town

Volkswagen has unveiled a pair of nifty scooter concepts for zipping around town. The sleeker Cityskater can reach speeds of 12 mph and has a range of 9 miles, while the heftier Streetmate can hit 28 mph and go for 21 miles.
Outdoors

Shimano’s trail-ripping eMTB tech will make you ditch analog bikes altogether

Shimano makes some of the best electric bike tech in the world, and its new mountain bike components flex that technological muscle in a big way. We’re in love.
Outdoors

The world’s most eco-friendly shoes are made of algae, cork, and bison fur

The Jasper Wool Eco Chukka from Sole and United By Blue has earned more than $100,000 on Kickstarter in just a single day, proving there is a market for eco-friendly shoes with high-quality design and materials.
Outdoors

Topgolf’s new driving range tech tracks ball trajectory just like they do on TV

Using the same technology shown during PGA tournaments, Toptracer is looking to make the driving range a more modern practice and party facility by offering statistical insights, along with plenty of games for more casual fans.
Outdoors

This ebike is so good it won a prestigious design award

The Gazelle Arroyo C8 Elite ebike picked up a prestigious IF Design Award, scoring high marks for its comfort and balance, while also looking good and offering excellent range at an affordable pice.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Mobile

App schools fishing fans on the best time and place to hook that dream catch

Fishbrain, a fishing social network and forecasting app, has introduced BiteTime, a new feature that takes the guesswork out of when and where you are most likely to catch a certain species of fish.
Outdoors

Hyperlite’s new 2-person tent weighs slightly more than two bags of marshmallows

Hyperlite Mountain Gear took the wraps off its new ultralight Dirigo 2 tent. Weighing only 28 ounces, the Dirigo 2 is the company's first self-contained, three-season, two-person shelter.
Deals

REI cuts prices on Osprey, Patagonia, and The North Face backpacks

Whether you're hiking, camping, or traveling, you're always going to need a decent bag to carry your things in. And with REI's Outlet sale going on right now, it's is a perfect time to pick one up for cheap.