Want the look of Maison Margiela GATs, but not the price? We’ve got ten of the best Replica GAT alternatives right here.
Probably designed by Puma or adidas, the German Army Trainer is one of the best shoes you can have in your casual arsenal. It’s neutral but distinct, and goes well with shorts, chinos, jeans, and relaxed shirt knits.
Maison Margiela’s Replica GATs have become the go-to version. They’re an excellent piece of footwear, true to the GATs of yesteryear, and well-constructed. They are, however, around $500. You may be able to find them for less on Grailed or Poshmark, but they’re definitely an upscale reinterpretation.
Even if you’re saving up for some Margielas, it might be worth your time to take a look at some alternatives. The substitutes we have here all have the same vibe from the iconic combination of white leather, gum sole, and suede detailing. Still, we hit on a range of important priorities when looking at alternatives, from budget to variation to lifestyle.
9 Best Alternatives to Maison Margiela’s GAT Replica
Here are the best alternatives to Maison Margiela in no particular order.
Oliver Cabell GATs
Oliver Cabell’s GATs check the most boxes when it comes to the looks and quality of the Margielas. And, the Cabells are literally less than half the price (even as it slowly and consistently rises in price).
They have the supple calfskin upper, tan leather lining, suede accent paneling, and the natural gum sole. I appreciate the detail of the sole, right down to the toothed lining where it meets the upper.
Like the Margielas, the Cabells are made in Italy, though the lining is from Spain. Plus, they both offer a range of sizes, right down to a US size six.
The Cabell’s different colorways affect the whole upper. Meaning, the black GAT is black all over, as opposed to only in the paneling. Just something to keep in mind if you prefer the lighter-toned body. You can also get a version with the Cabell Os on the side, for a more designer-proud variation.
Another difference between the Cabell and the Margielas are that GATs are just ever-so-slightly cleaner looking. They don’t have the textured suede tab on the tongue with the Margiela numbers on them.
That being the case, they have just a touch of modernity. Don’t overthink that part though, they’re still very much a retro-inspired shoe that can be styled exactly like a Margiela.
Beckett Simonon Morgens
Here’s an interesting fun fact: A lot of Italian leather is actually imported from Argentina.
The Beckett Simonon Morgens are made in South America, though in Bogota, Columbia. This is partly why they’re so much cheaper than Margielas.
One cool difference with the Morgen variations is that the blue-accent colorway and the red-accent colorway feature less suede on the upper. The side and back panels are made of smooth leather. While it’s not as “authentic,” this opens the opportunity for cool patination as the shoe ages.
The back collar is a little thinner than the Margielas, and a little taller than the Cabells, so it has just a slightly taller-looking profile overall.
The lining is made of Vachetta leather, which is the same kind of leather designer brands make their handbags out of. It’s soft to begin with, but gets softer as it forms to your feet.
Also, since Beckett Simonon is rightfully proud of this, we should mention that they use an Italian tannery that’s Gold-rated by the Leather Working Group, for environmental impact—always a good thing to have in the back of your head when buying leather goods.
Svensson Army Sports
Svensson is actually a popular brand for people looking for Common Projects alternatives, both using the same Italian factories to manufacture their shoes. So, you do get a premium level of construction with their Army Sports.
Hand-made with beautiful leather, the Svensson Army Sports feature the smooth body with suede overlays on the toe, sides, and heel, with a nicely padded collar and flat laces.
One slight difference is that the outsole sports a sectioned-off look. There’s a panel in the front and back, and the section where the sole meets the upper is smooth and isolated. This is another example of a small variation that doesn’t mean anything styling wise, but I do like the grounded, dimensional aspect of this rendition.
Svensson offers US men’s sizes six up to 14, though they recommend you size down from your regular sneaker number.
Melvin & Hamilton Rockys
Germany-based Melvin & Hamilton combines Italian know-how and quality with German tastes and discipline, and a touch of French fashion. As a result, their Rockys are, like the Margielas, a high-end rendition of the GAT.
The difference with the Rockys is that they lean harder into the fashion side of the aesthetics, offering a veritable feast of textures without compromising the GAT-like versatility.
The Rockys have the white leather body and the suede paneling. Additionally, the back, sides, and tongue are adorned with a tan patinated leather.
The side panels are cut with zig-zagged edges to match the pointed gum bottoms.
If you’re looking for a slightly fancier version of a GAT, still at a fraction of the Margiela’s price, go for Melvin & Hamilton’s Rockys.
Less a replica of a replica, and more of a variant alternative, the adidas Sambas are obviously a recognizable shoe in their own right. Especially so, since adidas may have been one of the GAT originators.
Though the classic Sambas are equipped with a long-tongue, the short-tongue version looks more like a traditional GAT.
The black variation with the white three-stripes are more associated with soccer than the trenches.
If you opt for variations that incorporate suede, like this granite paneled version, it leans a bit more into its army heritage. Still, I’d say it looks more like an infusion of GAT qualities and soccer shoe qualities.
Like the Margielas, these guys have been around for so long that they come in several remixes, offering a range of colors and materials. Unlike the Margielas, these sub-100 shoes are not made with premium Italian leather.
Regardless, they’re a stylish casual shoe, iconic in their own right, be it in a different way than the Margielas.
Domba Footwear German Army Trainers
If you’re really on a budget, you might opt for these German Army Trainers from Domba Footwear in South Korea. They’re literally less than $40 and ship for free.
Suffice to say, I’ll just be really plain about the pros and cons of our cheap option pick.
First, they offer a pretty cool-looking variation of the classic GAT. It’s like they took the parts of the GAT, and rearranged it, but not to the detriment of its recognizability. I love all of the sectioning and the white-leather-on-white-leather on the sides.
The stitching is okay, but not distractingly bad. From having seen these shoes in person, most are more likely to notice the interesting panel variation of the upper than the B- stitching. These shoes are probably made in China, and they definitely won’t last you more than a year of daily wear.
They also wear more like a low-profile all-white sneaker a la Common Projects Achilles.
Overall, I really do find the style interesting. It’s classic but unique. In fact, I think people who like collecting variations of GATs would love to see this design in more upscale materials.
Puma Super Liga OG
Again, Puma may have had a hand in creating the German Army Trainer, even if they weren’t the sole originators. And again, the Super Ligas are more associated with sports, showcasing an athletic take on the GAT aesthetic. And like the adidas, these shoes have their own fanbase.
I do think that the Super Liga retained more of its GAT origins than the Sambas though. For one thing, they have more suede paneled variations, all of which use more suede than their Samba counterparts.
The Super Ligas have a swishier look than GATs do. Even the lace panels are cut in a wavy shape.
A sports shoe that’s meant to be beat up, these guys are made in Asia, and are way more affordable than our top luxury-leaning picks like the Oliver Cabells and the Svenssons.
Slovakia-based Novesta is known for their sustainable practices, which is why you’ll find them in a lot of green brand roundups. I love them because of their insane range in sizes. Ever evolved, the Novesta GAT comes in men’s sizes as small as a US five and as big as a 16.
This GAT is pretty standard, though the molded sole is more opaque and less gummy than a traditional GAT, which gives it a slightly cleaner look.
The rubber and cotton on this shoe is sourced from sustainable growers, and each pair is hand-finished using non-chemical non-harmful materials. Not too shabby for around $165.
Another Generation GATs from W Concept
Another alternative from the land of K-Pop, Seoul-based W Concepts offers the Another Generation GATs in their women’s section. There’s nothing stereotypically feminine about these shoes, though they are a “softer” variation of a traditional German Army trainer.
The suede paneling is a light and neutral gray, and isn’t actually that textured. It’s not a smooth leather by any means, but it’s certainly not as napped. Meanwhile, the outsoles are stark white rubber. They aren’t gummy at all, and though they’re accented with pebbled lining, the rubber is perfectly smooth.
Appearing a bit like a GAT combined with a twill lace up, the Another Generation shoe is a good choice if you’re looking for a lighter and whiter-looking army trainer.
Again, it’s technically a woman’s shoe, so keep that in mind with sizing. The good news here is that you can find them at smaller sizes.
Finding a GAT For You
All of the alternatives here have something unique to offer. These qualities may or may not be worth it for you to opt for a lower priced version. Still, if you think it’s worth it to save up for a Margiela, by all means, go for it! It’s a beautiful and versatile casual shoe.
Another hard-to-find option is the Dior Homme GAT, which sometimes pops up on second-hand sites. Otherwise, you can try looking for actual vintage trainers on eBay. If you go this route, I recommend looking on German eBay, which will often let you know if there are similar results on other European eBay sites.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!