The pursuit of shoes leads to a host of trouble in Allen Maldonado’s new Netflix comedy “Sneakerheads.”
Out Friday, the series follows Devin (Maldonado), a stay-at-home dad who is a recovering “sneakerhead,” people entrenched in the lucrative fashion subculture of collecting and trading sneakers.
When his friend Bobby (Andrew Bachelor, “Black Jesus”) causes him to lose thousands of dollars in a get-rich-quick scheme gone awry, Devin and Bobby team up with a motley crew of pals to recover the money — before his wife finds out that he fell off the sneakerhead wagon.
“I was familiar [with sneaker culture], but not as knowledgeable as [the show’s] sneakerheads,” Maldonado, 37, tells The Post. “They are fanatics. They’re passionate and they’re artists. I can understand their love for sneakers. I wasn’t as informed, so I did a lot of research [for the show].”
Devin and Bobby — along with Nori (Jearnest Corchado) and Stuey (Matthew Josten) — embark on a search for the “zeroes,” rumored to be the “most elusive shoes known to man,” as a way to financially recover from their initial mistake and help Devin get his money back.
“[The show] is something different, since I play a father and a family man,” says Maldonado, “as opposed to a lot of the roles people know me from — like Cousin Bobby, the funny guy energizing the comedy in ‘The Last O.G.’
“In ‘Sneakerheads,’ Devin is the straight man,” he says. “I wanted to showcase being able to balance and understand comedy from that position, and show the world that I’m able to do both — from being the over-the-top funny guy to being the straight man to the dramatic stuff that I do in ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ That was one of the main reasons that I wanted to do the show.”
Maldonado is best known as a performer/writer on ABC’s “Black-ish” and “The Last O.G.” and for “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz. “Sneakerheads” marks his first starring role.
“After building a 20-year career brick by brick, step by step, it’s an incredible honor to now be the number one on a television series,” he says. “It’s one of those things where you always say, ‘It’s about the journey, not the destination.’ These moments make those words true.
“I’ve touched every facet of this industry, from producing to writing to acting to doing craft services,” he says. “When it came to being the number one, I knew what I needed to do from watching Anthony Anderson in ‘Black-ish’ and Tracy Morgan on ‘The Last O.G.’”
Unlike most actors stuck at home during the pandemic, Maldonado is currently in Atlanta, filming the upcoming Starz wrestling drama “Heels,” in which he co-stars with Stephen Amell (“Arrow”).
“I play a pro-wrestler who is part of this family wrestling foundation in a small town in Georgia,” he says. “It’s going to be action-packed [and] there’s going to be drama and funny moments. I put on 20 pounds of muscle and transformed my body for this role. We’re taking [COVID] tests frequently; I’m probably more safe in this bubble that we’re in than I would be at home.
“It’s beautiful being back to work.”