Netflix recently released a comedic series which many of us sneaker enthusiasts can relate to, but it also provided some knowledge on the culture as well, for those not too clued up about the sneaker world. Released on the 25 September, Sneakerheads, follows the story of Devin (Allen Maldonado) a retired sneakerhead as he embarks on a wishful journey with his former best friend Bobby (Andrew Bachelor, a.k.a. King Bach) as they try and track down a pair of highly-coveted, extremely rare and quite expensive pair of Nikes known as “The Zero’s”. What’s cool about the series is that it incorporates real world figures and stores into the series, even though the highly coveted shoe is a fictional item.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains spoilers!!!
Doing whatever it takes to secure a limited pair of sneakers is something that sneaker enthusiasts of any age can understand, but Sneakerheads isn’t just a show for a niche audience of footwear fanatics. By placing Devin as someone who was a former sneakerhead and not too up to date with the latest trends, viewers can learn the ropes of sneaker culture as he tries to adapt to the new normal. The result is a funny-enough comedy that puts some of the world’s most coveted sneakers on full display. Parra Air Max 1s, Travis Scott Air Jordan IVs, Red October Air Yeezy 2s, Nike Mags, Off-White Air Jordan 1s, and several other beloved kicks make appearances.
Sneakerheads takes viewers on an outlandish journey that covers various different Sneaker Landmarks as well as other popular destinations. Some of these places are FlightClub, a store in Los Angeles, which many sneakerheads should be familiar with if you are a keen fan of the Sneaker Shopping series by Complex, as well as another iconic sneaker store which is Undefeated (actually called Unbeaten in the series). Other filming locations included Uncle Paulie’s Deli in Los Angeles, Mark Wahlberg’s mansion, and the infamous Sneaker Street in Hong Kong. There was also feature cameos from celebrities such as Nigel Sylvester, Lil Rel, Jon Buscemi, Jerry Ferrara, Nick Young, Jason Mark Angsuvarn, Mark L. Walberg, and one of the legends of the sneaker game Kenny Gonzales, more commonly known as “Perfect Pair”.
Devin is a stay-at-home dad to two kids; his wife Christine is a paralegal who’s close to getting her law license. But Devin has a dark secret, an addiction that almost broke him: He’s a sneakerhead. Since meeting and marrying Christine, he’s been reformed, but, as he drives his daughter and a neighbor to school, he stops and remembers something he was looking at on his computer. It’s a pair of Nikes that were like the ones he wore in high school. Christine was none too pleased at the sight.
But he has to have those shoes. He goes to his favorite store and stands on a long line for the release. At the end of the line, he runs into his old friend Bobby, whom he hasn’t seen since giving up the sneaker game, mainly because Bobby’s schemes to make the big score always blew up in their faces, leaving Devin broke. Bobby wonders why Devin hasn’t stayed in touch, and talks about straightening himself out and going to school — shoe school, that is, learning to customize kicks for wealthy customers under the guidance of the Shoe Surgeon himself, Dominic Chambrone.
They see a girl named Nori there, who is on three phones at once and is making deals to flip the shoes pretty much constantly. But it seems like Devin is in luck with some size 13s, especially when he’s helped by the store’s manager, a former friend/flame named Gia. But there’s just shoe trees in the box, with another employee having sold the shoes on the side to a vlogger named Cole.
But Bobby has a potential big score for Devin; an NBA star and collector has let the rent for his storage unit lapse, so the unit is up for auction. Even though Bobby claims no one is there, Nori, Cole and another wannabe collector and reseller named Stuey are all there. A bidding war starts, and Bobby and Devin win it with an outlandish $5,000 bid. Then, when they get into the storage unit, they see all sorts of classic shoes, but they’re only the left ones. Nori shows them a video of the player’s ex burning all of his right shoes. So the shoes are worthless, but the two of them owe the storage facility the five grand; Devin charges it on his Discover.
Bobby has an even bigger score in mind, the most rare shoe of them all, but Devin isn’t interested. Then, he comes home and lies to Christine about the charge, which Discover has called her about. Once the investigation is over, he’s going to need cash, and quickly. What follows next is a crazy series of events which sees the two friends flying to Hong-Kong in pursuit of a highly rare sneaker referred to as “The Zero’s” that could potentially be worth Tens of thousands, and thus Devins get out of jail free card.
All in all, the series is quite fascinating but where it falls short is the ending. The ending does not justify the means it took to get there as the plot remains unresolved. After failing to make it out of the financial hole that they dug themselves into in the first episode, Devin remains $5,000 in debt. Another place where the series falls short is, if you’re going through all this effort to be accurate in your depiction of high-heat sneakers, why would you make the characters chase a mythical and totally fictional Jordan sneaker as the main plot point? The attention to detail in the series was phenomenal so it just didn't not make sense to have the highly coveted pair, be a fictional shoe. There could have been many other options that they could've have gone with which would've made the series a lot more interesting but they decided on a fictional mediocre pair.
If your target audience is a casual viewer, then that’s one thing. But because the level of shoe detail in Sneakerheads is so incredibly high, it’s way too technical to just be aimed at the casual viewer. If the point of the show was to take a critical or satirical look at the sneaker resale game for folks who had no idea this kind of thing happens every day, then the writers could easily have done so with fake sneaker models and kept it consistent with the fictional sneaker grail in the plot.
All of that aside, what was awesome to see as well was the emphasis on how significant the hunt for a pair of sneakers can be and the extreme lengths people will go to in order to secure their gem or grails. This aspect was also shown in the series when Gia took Christine handbag shopping and they had to go to extreme lengths and hunt down a super rare handbag.
Another interesting addition to the series was the cameo appearances of key figures within the sneaker community notably Perfect Pair, Jason Markk and the Shoe Surgeon. These types of figures are apart of the actual culture and played their part in revolutionized the sneaker industry and turned it into what it is today.
Other than that, we enjoyed the series and the loads of gems that came with it. We highly recommend all sneakerheads or those looking to enter the sneaker industry to try giving it a watch as we can ensure you that after watching this series, you will be on the lookout for more films or series to further your sneaker knowledge!