Beaufort News

How high can CJ Cummings rise? He now has his own shoes

CJ Cummings ties on his pair of Reebok Legacy Lifters on Monday at CrossFit in Beaufort. Cummings was the inspiration for the shoe and consulted on the design.
CJ Cummings ties on his pair of Reebok Legacy Lifters on Monday at CrossFit in Beaufort. Cummings was the inspiration for the shoe and consulted on the design.

In a Boston gymnasium on the set of a commercial shoot, CJ Cummings rubs chalk on his hands, slides weights onto a bar and executes a lift while dramatic music plays.

The one-minute advertisement focuses on Cummings’ feet. White text graphics detail the benefits of the black-and-white shoes, each bound by laces and a pair of Velcro straps.

The video is Cummings’ “Hello, world” moment, harkening golfer Tiger Woods’ famous Nike ads. The Boston shoot was to unveil his own shoe.

Reebok released a weightlifting shoe this month inspired by Cummings. The Lady’s Island teen was a consultant for the shoe, called the Legacy Lifter.

He has been wearing a prototype for months and offered insight to designers on the fit and features.

The shoe sells for $199 and comes in black and white and black and gold. His signature will adorn the black and gold pairs.

A T-shirt bearing Cummings’ name and likeness has been sold through a deal with apparel company Eleiko.

“It’s a fine line between my professional life and my teenage life,” the 16-year-old said in a separate promotional video for Reebok. “I’m pretty sure I can do more with this sport.”

Cummings said he has tried to maintain normalcy during the hype.

“Priorities come first — I do school first, do training and after that be a regular teenager,” he said.

In addition to Reebok and Eleiko, Cummings also has sponsorship deals with Cradlz, a tripod stand for smartphones, and Renaissance Periodization, a nutrition and training company.

Promotion for Reebok’s foray into a dedicated weightlifting shoe included an event at Texas Strength Weightlifting Center in Houston on Saturday in which Cummings taught at demonstrations and attendees tried on the Legacy Lifters.

Cummings unveiled the shoe on his Facebook page Monday.

“Now available at my first shoe,” he posted. “Thanks to the Reebok team for letting me part of the process and even adding my signature to the black and gold version!”

Cummings’ big year included another record-breaking performance in October.

He broke his own world record, matched another and swept all three gold medals in the 69-kilogram weight class at the IWF Youth World Championships in Penang, Malaysia.

Cummings lifted 182 kg (401 pounds) on his second attempt in the clean and jerk, breaking the youth mark he set in June while sweeping his division at the Junior World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Combined with a 135 kg lift (297 pounds) in the snatch — he was unsuccessful in attempting 138 kg (304 pounds) — his combined weight of 317 kg (698 pounds) matched the total he produced in Tbilisi.

In May at the U.S. Olympic trials in Utah, Cummings finished shy of a longshot goal of becoming the only American male weightlifter at the 2016 Olympics.

The 2020 Olympics are now the long-term target and will remain the ultimate focus as Cummings prepares for other meets and his daily duties as a student at Beaufort High School.

He will next lift at the American Open this weekend in Orlando.

Cummings wore an older pair of the black and gold Lifters during a workout Monday in CrossFit Beaufort while his coach, Ray Jones, looked on.

The shoe’s release had been a drawn-out process. After Cummings’ recent international success, the folks at Reebok should be happy, Jones said.

“For weightlifting, this is a big deal,” he said.

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen