Mankind's only alternative 29   JAN.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
Vlad's Daily Gloat - The eXile Blog

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Feature Story July 27, 2007
CHEESE VENTS TODAY: Summer Fashion Guide
Something's Afoot In Putin's Russia By Yasha Levine Browse author Email

It's hard to describe if you've never been to Russia, because it's unlike anything else out there: Russian summer footwear. They're quite simply the ugliest, cheesiest, most ridiculous all-in-one shoe on planet earth: part-dress, part-sandal-casual, part-Party-Boss, part-Guido-if-Guido-still-worked-as-a-movie-theater-usher.

They are, in short, post-Soviet Russia's fashion tail-bone, the last vestige of Sovok remaining on Homo Russiaticus.

With mesh grill vents big enough to stick a 5-ruble coin through, there's no escaping the Summertime Cheese Vents. Russian men break them out right around the May Holidays, and only return them to their storage cabinets with great reluctance after September 1st, the day that Autumn officially starts in Russia, astronomy be damned.

So, where did the Cheese Vents originate?

We put on our anthropologist's thinking-khakis, and tracked down a fashion expert from Russian Glamour magazine to explain the phenomenon. Despite the fact that she's a fashion expert, she was stumped by the great Cheese Vent Mystery. So stumped that she asked that we not use her name.

"Who wears these shoes? Are you kidding? Only morons and idiots wear them!" she told us.

After some cajoling, she finally offered us a theory: the Cheese Vent style was a fashion accident that resulted from a typical Soviet fashion-vs.-production conundrum. How to appeal to a people who had just gone from serfdom to urbanized proletarian socialism? A serf only wanted practical tapochki or straw sandals; but the new urbanized proletariat wanted something more, something comfortable yet solidny.

That's when the folks in the Fashion Ministry came up an ingenious idea: take a pair of scissors to the existing Soviet dress shoe design, slash them full of vent grills, and thus was born the ultimate Sovok Fashion Statement: The Cheese Vent.

Despite the fact that Russian culture has been rapidly globalized, after 15 years of capitalism, the sovok summer shoe is still kicking it old skool. In fact, an impromptu eXile poll of stores showed that their popularity is growing, and so is their variety. No longer restricted to two or three styles, the summer shoe options are bigger than ever and priced to appeal to every socio-economic layer.

A salesgirl at Marko Belarusian Shoes in Kitai Gorod explained to the eXile, "These shoes are for people who want to be comfortable in the summer time. Some are more stylish and geared towards young people; others are for older people. It depends on what you're looking for."

But we still don't understand the "why" of it all.

After querying and polling, we can only refer back to the old poet's aphorism: "Russia cannot be understood by the mind, but only by the Cheese Vent." Amen.

The pakyet, murse and mis-matched socks complete the classic sovok look.

To really appreciate Cheese Vents, you have to start kids young.

A summer shoe is a perfect addition to a kepka-tabletka and murse.

Moscow Meets Milan: an upturned front grill gives this Cheese Vent style.

Old Skool: this Cheese Vent says, "I'd rather be in my Shawarma Shuttle."

Unexplained Mystery: why do so many Cheese Ventinistas carry pakyety?

The Good Life: pakyet in one hand, chick in the other, and Cheese Vents.

The missing link between lapty and Cheese Vents.

Stylish pakyet, stylish Cheese Vents: this is the Newly Resurgent Russia.

Nylon Bulgarian socks put the "mm" in "Summer Fashion."

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Browse author
Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at

The Viagra Challenge :

Who Killed The OSCE? : Ex-OSCE Mission Chief Reveals “Pressure” To Whitewash ‘96 Election

Woe Is Wodehouse And His Biography : Robert McCrum and what’s wrong with literary biographies


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442