In his early teenage years at Asa Clark Middle School in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, J.J. Watt was just like any other kid.
“I can remember back in middle school when a new Eastbay catalog would come out and everybody would bring their catalogs to school, and in the cafeteria we would all poke through it and circle things we wanted.” Watt said. “That was a huge talking point for weeks.”
Now, over a decade later, Watt has grown into one of the most feared playmakers in all of football, but he still finds it crazy that he and his younger brothers Derek and T.J. have been able to journey so far into the sport they’ve always loved.
“It’s been pretty incredible — we used to play backyard football and pretend we were NFL football players and now here we are and get to do it for real,” Watt said. “I think that it is still hard to wrap our minds around sometimes, but it’s also a testament to what hard work and belief in yourself can do.”
Not only does Watt have the motor and competitive drive many could only wish for, but he also has the size, strength, and speed to make just about any play he wants.
Over his six-year career, he has totaled 76 sacks, 379 tackles, and forced 15 fumbles, leading him to four Pro Bowl selections.
However, the standout numbers he has put up in his career didn’t just come out of nowhere. Watt said he continues to give his all in his training because every day is another chance to get better.
The Reebok JJ II has finally arrived. Want the inside scoop on the new trainer? Who better to tell you about it than J.J. Watt himself.
We took some time to sit down with Watt to chat about what the colorways will look like, what sort of an influence he has on what goes into the shoe, and how the technical features of the shoe have improved.
The JJ 1 had a number of unique colorways that represented Watt, so you can bet his new shoe will as well. The JJ II’s first colorway is a clean black and white, and Watt assured us that Reebok will have many more color stories throughout 2017.
“There are going to be some really cool things coming down the pipeline,” Watt said. “This flex weave material on the whole upper of the shoe really gives you some incredible opportunities, which you’ll see in some of the upcoming colorways we’re going to come out with.”
Along with being involved in colorway updates, Watt also plays a part in making technical updates within the shoe.
He pointed out the JJ II features a liquid-foam midsole to offer your foot a comfortable and smooth ride, a flex weave material upper which is breathable and abrasion resistant to outlast tough workouts, a new low cut design that allows for easier cutting, and a rubber outsole for extra traction for your cuts or backpedaling.
“One thing we noticed with JJ 1 is that we created a shoe you can wear on turf, concrete, wood, or rubber, but we didn’t actually account for backpedaling,” Watt said. “You could go forward, you could go sideways, you could go diagonally, but backwards you kind of lose the traction. So with this shoe, we really made sure we covered every single direction you could go.”
Reebok allows Watt to influence changes for the shoe, which is something that has been important to him since day one. These enhancements include the style transition to a low top, added traction for your cuts and backpedaling, and extra style which means you can casually wear these trainers in the streets.
“What is so cool about this process is I get to use them every day, and I get to give the feedback that changes the shoe,” he said. “I mean, as an athlete, who would you rather have testing the shoe than an athlete?”
If you are looking for a top of the line trainer to help improve your game, Watt said he is confident that the JJ II is the best on the market.
“What we’ve created is what I believe at this current moment is the best training shoe that there is. I’ve worn it every single day since our first prototype and I think it is phenomenal. I can’t wait for the world to have it.”
“Every single day you attack life, you better do it with precision. Otherwise you’re just going to float through with no real purpose.” – JJ Watt
JJ Watt knows what it takes to be successful on the field, and his philosophy on precision can be applied to almost anything — including your run.
The Reebok ZPrint Run is built to bring precision to every step, whether you’re running or just tackling everyday adventures. It was created from digital 3D scans of the human foot in motion, so every part of the shoe is designed to adapt to your specific needs. In the ZPrint Run — no matter what life throws your way — you’ll always Make an Imprint.
This begins with the ZPrint Run’s tri-panel textile upper. A looser weave in the forefoot allows cooling airflow to keep you feeling dry and fresh. Tighter knit webbing at the midfoot holds your foot securely in place to help prevent injury.
The ZPrint Run’s midsole cushioning was designed based on 3D scans of the human foot in motion. The result is a midsole that absorbs impact based your own running stride and allows a full, natural range of motion. Deep flex grooves create extreme flexibility, while the independent node construction allows each portion to cushion and flex on its own. This helps your entire body move the way it was meant to.
The outsole features dense white foam around the perimeter for durable stability that keeps you running strong. Reactive lugs absorb pressure where you land the hardest, protecting your feet with every stride.
To see the tech in action, here’s a visual breakdown of the ZPrint Run:
Many of the world’s best athletes are active on Instagram. It’s a great way for athletes to connect with their fans off the field. And for these 12, game-day skills translate into social dominance. These are the top 12 athletes that you NEED to follow on Instagram.
With by far the largest following on this list, there’s no reason not to follow the reigning NBA MVP and defending champ. Between going behind the scenes of Steph’s life and watching the dubsmashes with his wife, there are very few on his level.
As one of the best-dressed athletes on the planet, Russ needs to be on this list. Whether he’s showing off his latest look, sharing his charity work, or gushing about his wife, this man is one of best athlete Instagrammers out there.
He’s a fashion icon and a family man who regularly posts about his son and his girl Iggy Azalea. Swaggy P is all about standing out and showing your true personality. We believe in self-expression, so naturally, we believe in Swaggy P.
On the field, she’s a relentless forward that terrorizes defenders. Off it, she’s a fan favorite because of her inside looks at the USWNT, her dog Boss (who has his own Instagram account), her soccer star husband Dom Dwyer, and some of the funniest captions in the business.
She’s a true champion and her feed shows you why. Allyson’s training vids show the incredible work ethic it takes to be one of the best. Plus, you get a peek at her life off the track, including all the amazing places she travels to.
Jordan is unstoppable on the mat and unbeatable on Instagram. If you follow him, you’ll see everything from training videos and inspirational messages to pics with his son Beacon (who also has his own account) and posts about baby number two that’s on the way. Like it says in his bio, “You are now watching history in the making.”
Following MG3 gives you a unique look into the life of a rising star in the NFL. As a first-round running back, Melvin has a lot of pressure to be great, but he keeps his feed lighthearted and doesn’t let the pressure get to him. He’s got the style and swagger of a top athlete Instagrammer.
The other must-follow account? Eastbay’s, of course. Follow @officialeastbay for the latest releases and a behind-the-scenes look at how to gain an edge in sports and life.
While the improbable run of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos is currently stealing the headlines, the NFL’s ultimate underdog story this season may be that of the Houston Texans, who also advanced in the playoffs this weekend. Despite being hit hard by the injury bug last year, the Texans won their first ever AFC South title, which also resulted in their first ever playoff appearance. That appearance also resulted in the team’s first ever playoff win, as the Texans ran through the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 31-10 in front of their home fans at Reliant Stadium.
What makes the Texans’ run even more remarkable is the contributions they’re getting from rookie players. The fiber of any great NFL team is making sure that significant players are added through the draft, and it appears that they’ve picked a couple winners this season.
First, there’s defensive end J.J. Watt, whom the Texans selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The impressive pass rusher beat tackles with speed and guard with power throughout the season, racking up 56 tackles and 5.5 sacks in his first campaign. However, his biggest difference-making performance came in Saturday’s playoff win over the Bengals, where he registered a sack and an interception return for a touchdown on the day. With the game tied at 10 and less than a minute before halftime, Watt grabbed an Andy Dalton pass out of the air and ran it down the field for a 29-yard score. That key moment swung momentum in favor of the Texans and they never looked back.
Also in his first season is quarterback T.J. Yates, who started the season third on the depth chart. After season-ending injuries to starter Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart, Yates stepped in to guide the Texans’ playoff run. His numbers on Saturday weren’t jaw-dropping, but he played mistake free football that kept Houston from playing on their heels. Yates threw no interceptions and never fumbled the ball, while the much more heralded Andy Dalton threw three picks. T.J. is now a winner in four of the six full games he has played.
What’s also fascinating about watching these young players succeed is flashing back to the 2011 NFL Combine, where Eastbay had the opportunity to speak to both Watt and Yates. Check out the following video clips to hear their preseason thoughts and reminisce about their earliest Eastbay shopping experiences!