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This is the 3rd iteration in the line of Reebok training shoes created in collaboration with JJ Watt. The brand’s partnership with the NFL player started a few years back in 2016 and continued after the instant success of the first trainer.
Despite the fact that Watt is a professional football player, his Reebok JJ III shoe is designed for athletes of all levels. According to JJ himself, he wanted to make a shoe that would suit everyone from high school to college players, from recreational athletes to enthusiastic gym buffs. He also wanted it to be equally good for high-intensity training and casual day-to-day wear.
Reebok has taken its time with the release of the third iteration. It kept JJ’s fans waiting for two years as the previous version came out way back in July 2017. And based on the look of the trainer, this long period is justified. By the looks of it, Reebok hasn’t left one stone unturned in terms of the shoe’s construction.
A durable rubber outsole lines the entire length of the trainer. However, it is split into two parts: the heel and the midfoot/forefoot. Each section has a different type of treading depending on the kind of grip that’s needed. For example, the forefoot lugs have a more razor-blady shape that bites into the floor more aggressively during a high-intensity training session.
Large pieces of the outsole rubber extend up to cover up the heel, sides, and forefoot of the platform. This design helps to lengthen the shoe’s shelf life by making it more resistant to abrasion. The side panels also contribute to the heel stability for weightlifting and lateral moves.
According to the brand’s website, the shoe no longer uses the LiquidFoam of the previous versions. The cushioning in JJ III is now delivered by a more conventional EVA foam which is described as soft and durable. This kind of midsole is typical for the vast majority of workout shoes on the market. Extra underfoot comfort is provided by the die-cut EVA sockliner.
Reebok joins the recent trend of making training shoes with a bootie design. It implies that there is no separate tongue in this model but an extended front apex instead. The entire shoe opening is generously padded to secure the shoe around the ankle.
From the inside, the upper is constructed with a stretch spacer mesh. It is meant to create a snug, sock-like fit for the foot. On the outside, a supportive and durable wrap is offered by the acclaimed Flexweave textile. Both materials are crafted to breathe well and keep the interior fresh.
The JJ III trainer is equipped with an intricate closure. Its shoestrings are interconnected with webbed eyelets and an additional synthetic cage at the midfoot. When the laces are pulled, the webbings and synthetic panels clasp both sides of the foot for a lockdown fit.
Sensing the rise of nostalgia for the 90s, Reebok has been releasing its newer training models with the heritage Vector logo instead of the long-used CrossFit Delta. Thus, the third version of the JJ trainer comes with the Vector at the heel. The brand made an even bolder move with the recent Nano 9 which features an oversized Vector on both sides.
The zig-zag stitching on the lateral side represents Watt’s notorious scar on the left leg. At the very beginning of the 2017 football season, he left the game due to a tibial plateau fracture. The need for surgery and a recovery period kept him away from finishing that season.
The JJ III trainer was set to be released in multiple colorways throughout the year 2019. This multi-shoe pack is named “Made of Many.” It serves as a symbolic representation of the athlete’s path from a high school football player to a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The shoe’s first colorway is called “Varsity” and features black, rebel red, and white hues. The color choice goes back to Watt’s high school days in Wisconsin Pewaukee High School.
The following version, called “Pro,” came out in a fusion of college navy, white, and primal red colors. This one pays homage to the team that took him to a professional level.
“Remedy” is the next iteration in line. Its primary colors are chalk and black, while the symbolic ‘scar’ and the heel panels come in a contrasting lux maroon hue. The colorway represents all the hardships Watt had to overcome to recover and get back to the game.