When Adidas unveiled it's new Ultra Boost running shoe in New York last week, they had some help in the form of runners, Olympians, and other athletes. One of them was Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
The Clemson star was drafted by the Bills with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft and had an excellent rookie season. Watkins set team rookie records with 982 receiving yards and 65 receptions, including six touchdowns. He helped the Bills go 9-7 this past season — the team's first winning record since 2004 — which was good for second place in the AFC North (but not a playoff spot). Coach Doug Marrone resigned at the end of the calendar year, and the team replaced him with former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
What will the coaching change mean for Watkins? When SI Kids asked him about it at the Adidas event, he seemed optimistic. Check out his thoughts on Ryan joining the Bills, as well as his impressions of the Ultra Boost, in this brief interview:
When you're training, what are you looking for in a running or a training shoe? What's the most important elements? And how do these compare to what you've used in the past?
These shoes are great. I'm a picky guy, so I have to be really as comfortable as I'll ever be to train. So for me, it's all about continuity where I can do just about everything. This shoe right here, it's for everything. I can train in them. I can look good in them. Throw some jeans on, I can throw some sportswear and walk around in them. But for me, you can do anything. I can jump up and down, move side-to-side, and I don't have a problem with my feet or my foot or my toes hurting. The Primeknit is basically flexible to where your toes can move around. You can bend them, you can turn to where you're safe because the shoe is really balanced and the energy is pushing up from the ground to where you don't have to just use your arch of your foot or the back of your foot or the front of your toes. The shoe actually helps you out with the bottom and how they made the shoe.
For younger athletes, like teenagers, what should they be looking for in a running or training shoe? Something like this, something different...?
This shoe's for the world. It's not just for training. Like I said, you can throw on jeans or wear them and look nice and look fashionable. It can be fashion, it can be training, it can be sports, or anything. For me, I would say kids should at least look into Adidas or shoes like this because they're making them different than any other shoe. You won't find another shoe that's like this, I don't think, because you can do just about anything. You don't have to worry about running three or four miles and getting shin splints or your knees or your ankles hurt because this shoe helps with that ability to bring the energy from the ground and help you help yourself, you know what I mean? You don't have to worry about tripping over something.
The first time you saw them, what was your initial reaction?
Well, first of all, I look at the front of a shoe because I've got to make sure my toes... Because I'm moving around, you don't want your toes to be at point where they're restricted and they can't do as much and you can't get the bounce that you need when you're training. It's all about exposure and moving and being powerful. So at first I look at the front of a shoe, then I look at the bottom to where, Am I going to be comfortable? Can I work where I can move and not hurt myself? I can be balanced. If you think about it, you want to be balanced to where everything works and shooting off at the same angle. This shoe is balanced, and you can do literally everything with this shoe.
How about in terms of looks?
That's why I like the shoe. It's nice. It's an urban feeling. The Primeknit is not too much. It's a basic color. It's not a loud color to where you can't wear them with everything. You can throw on blue, back, or anything and it can look nice.
Buffalo just hired Rex Ryan as its next coach. What does having Rex leading the team mean for you as a player and the Bills as a whole?
I mean, it's great. Just knowing what he did with the Jets in seven years. He got to two AFC Championships. He's a great guy. I just left with him. He's a great dad, father, character. He can lead our team.
Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images (action), Dante A. Ciampaglia (holding shoe)