GATs – The German Minimalist Sneaker

As Put This On recently pointed out, over the past few years designers have begun to reinterpret the understated GAT, or German Army Trainer, selling their versions of the sneaker at a price point, generally agreed to be outrageous. While brands such as Maison Martin Margiela, Dior, and Agnes B. were no doubt drawn to the GAT’s minimalist design, they nonetheless presented the simple sneaker in a high fashion context that’s a far cry from the trainer’s original utilitarian purposes.

In the seventies, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the recently reorganized German Military was outfitted with the original GATs.  Featuring little more than a rubber sole for traction and an all leather body for comfort, German Army Trainers were first and foremost a shoe designed for soldiers during indoor exercises.  For these soldiers they were a practical means to an end–a sneaker more revered for its comfort during training than for its aesthetic merits.  Today, thanks in part to their recent reintroduction by contemporary brands, the GAT has become one of the preeminent options for a clean, white sneaker.  And while those “designer sneakers” might run you several hundred dollars, it is still possible to find a pair of surplus GATs direct from Germany for about eighty bucks, just by doing some crafty eBaying.  Check out the links below for some options.

eBay Germany: “Bundesweher Sneaker” – “Bundeswehr Sportschuhe” – “Bundeswehr Hallenschuhe” – “Bundeswehr Trunschuhe” – “Bundeswehr”

“StyleForum German Army Trainers Thread” A few users in here are willing to proxy them Germany.

SuperFuture German Army Trainers Thread” This user proxies GATs from Germany

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