NEW YORK — Basketball players don’t have a lock on having signature sneakers. On Thursday morning, Reebok introduced the JJ1, a new training shoe that it developed with Houston Texans defensive back J.J. Watt.
The multipurpose shoe was unveiled at a media event featuring the athlete and his coach that offered editors the chance to test out the shoe on some of the same exercises that Watt uses in his training for the NFL season. That included box jumps — Watt has jumped a record 61 inches — as well as other strength and agility drills.
Watt said the shoe took a year to develop working with the Reebok product team. “I’ve trained in many different shoes throughout my career, but there was never one that I felt was clearly the best shoe to get the job done,” Watt said. “So I decided to build one and with the help of some great designers. We spent over a year making sure that this shoe would perform at the highest level on any surface for any activity.”
Judson Vancor, director of Reebok training footwear, said designing a shoe for a 6 foot, 5 inch 290-pound athlete who was seeking something that would perform well in a variety of activities was challenging, so the company effectively made Watt the creative director of the shoe.
“I wanted something explosive, sturdy, light and fast,” Watt said. “And this shoe made me feel safe and sturdy.”
It features a raised topline midsole to keep the foot locked in on top of the platform for increased support, and an outsole that provides multidirectional traction. There’s also FlexCage, a substructure cage with webbing tie-downs in the mid-foot for added production as well as a proprietary Reebok Liquid Foam technology for extra cushioning.
The JJ1 will be introduced on July 15 to sporting goods retailers and online. It will sell for $99.