German Army Trainers Are Your Next Big Sneaker Flex
In the early days of Menswear 1.0—that is, the dawn of menswear culture on the Internet, sometime in the mid- to late 2000s—the German Army Trainer was the sneaker to beat. They were the tasteful man's grails; the sneakerhead's gateway into a world of Neapolitan suiting and Thom Browne oxford button-downs. Their popularity fizzled out in the years that followed, but now, we're seeing more and more GATs out in the wild.
A little background first: The German Army Trainer as we know it today was first made in 1970s, as part of Adidas and Puma's bids for contracts to produce sneakers for—you guessed it—the German Army. They were to be the standard issue sneakers; bundeswehr sportschuhe, or Federal Defense Sports Shoe. It's unclear which of the two brands really owns the design of the GAT, but both lay claim to it, and there's evidence to support either version of the truth. As the Wall Street Journal once said, "This shoe has more subtly conflicting histories than the Caucasus."
But what's clear is that Martin Margiela of Maison Margiela was the one to usher the GAT into the halls of high fashion, when in 1999, he placed them on the feet of runway models for his spring collection. After, Maison Margiela released its own version of the GAT—named the Replica—which became one of the label's most iconic and well-known fixtures through the years. By the late 2000s, the GAT was something of an it-shoe.
Today, you might be able to find a German Army Trainer (or something like it) by fast fashion labels. But if you're looking for something closer to the real deal, just ask Signet. They've recently stocked up on Reproduction of Found, a Japanese brand that specializes in recreating vintage military footwear. This includes a faithful reproduction of the GAT. Check it out:
Signet carries the Reproduction of Found German Army Trainers in four colorways: white, light grey, black, and panna. They're available in limited quantities at Signet, Rockwell Powerplant, so head on down if you're looking to cop.