How to style German Army Trainers

German Army Trainers (GATs) are the perfect shoe for retro fashion fans. The style was first designed for the German Army before being adopted for modern wear. Today, these vintage-inspired sneakers are popular with trendsetters around the world.

Want advice on styling your sneakers? Learn more about the German Army Trainer in our ultimate guide. Discover who first created them and how to clean and style your GATs to keep them looking their best for longer.

What is a German Army Trainer?

Once worn by German soldiers, German Army Trainers are identified by three distinct features:

  • Grey suede on the toe.

  • A rubber gum sole

  • A leather stripe overlay on both sides

This classic sneaker style has evolved to include brand logos and modern touches. Today’s GATs play on different colorways and materials, so you can easily find an option that suits your style.

Who made the original German Army Trainer?

The history of the German Army Trainer dates to the 1970s. These functional sneakers were produced by Adidas for soldiers to wear during training. However, many brands have since released their take on the sneaker.

How do you clean German Army trainers?

You should clean your German Army Trainers differently depending on if they’re made from leather or suede.

To clean any suede parts of your GATs, follow these steps:

  1. Remove laces and soak them in soapy water

  2. Remove dirt and debris with a soft brush or shoe wipes

  3. Apply specialist suede cleaner to a soft cloth

  4. Wipe gently in the direction of the suede’s natural fibers

  5. Dry with a clean cloth

  6. Spritz with Rain and Stain to provide a layer of protection

  7. Dry the laces and re-lace your shoes

For cleaning leather GATs, follow these steps:

  1. Remove laces and soak them in soapy water

  2. Remove dirt and debris with a soft brush or wipes

  3. Polish your sneakers with an Instant Shine Sponge

You can improve the softness and shine of your GATs with our eMoisture Balm, a neutral balm that can be used on any shade.

If you’re looking for more cleaning tips and tricks, read our guide on how to clean shoes or find out how to clean white sneakers and shoes.

How to Style German Army Trainers

Wondering what to wear with German Army Trainers? We’ve got you! These casual sneakers pair effortlessly with many styles, so working them into your wardrobe is easy.

Women’s outfits with German Army Trainers

Sneakers are a casual staple in every woman’s wardrobe, and the GAT is no exception. Perfect for pairing with skirts, pants and activewear, you have many outfit options to wear your GATs.

GATs can update your look for formal affairs. Sneakers are a popular shoe choice for occasions; the trick is to nail the rest of your outfit and add a subtle, casual element through your shoes. Combined with a sophisticated pantsuit, fresh white GATs like our Craft Run Tor make a laid-back impression. Accessorize with a cream leather handbag and silver jewelry for effortless luxury.

Heading to a casual or smart casual event? You’ll have plenty of outfit choices to wear with your GATs. Wearing sneakers with a dress helps give your outfit a laid-back edge, a go-to look among fashion’s best dressed. GATs and GAT-inspired sneakers like our Craft Rally Ace are perfect when paired with dresses and skirts, whether you prefer floaty and feminine or clean-cut and form-fitting.

If you prefer pants over skirts, wear your German Army Trainers with wide-leg pants and a shirt for an ideal office look. Or pair your sneakers with cargo shorts and a button-up in summer.

Men’s outfits with German Army Trainers

GATs are a popular shoe choice for men worldwide, and with so much style inspiration, your outfit options are limitless. If you’re ready to plan your next German Army Trainer look, read on to get inspired.

They may be known as casual shoes, but sneakers can still work with a formal look, so long as you pick the right style and shade. If you’re wearing a full suit and want to stand out from the crowd, add your own twist with German Army Trainers.

Matching the color of your GATs to your suit helps keep your look professional. Pair a navy suit with our Craft Rally Ace sneakers in navy, or choose our ‘dark sand’ shade to match a brown or tan suit. GATs also pair perfectly with chinos. We recommend sticking to the same color scheme for a cohesive look.

Meanwhile, your smart casual outfit options are endless. German Army Trainers come in multiple colors and materials, meaning there’s something for every look. Wear your favorite pair of GATs with black jeans and a button-up shirt for weddings, dinners or interviews. Or trade your jeans for jean shorts or chino shorts in warmer weather.

Whether walking the dog, heading for a workout or relaxing in the garden, GTAs are your go-to casual sneaker. Throw on a t-shirt with joggers or gym shorts, and add your German Army Trainers to complete the look. Choose a pair like the Craft Match Lo for the perfect everyday style in three retro color combinations.

At Clarks, we offer many versions of the German Army Trainer, reworked with our Clarks DNA and developed with expert craftsmanship. To get inspired, explore our complete collection of Craft Sports sneakers, or discover our blog for more style tips and fashion inspiration.