I recently read this history of the German Army Trainer shoe in the Wall Street Journal and was compelled to seek out a pair of the Maison Margiela Replica sneakers. I told myself that I would wait until I found a deep discount, but I wanted to check out the shoes in person to get a sense of sizing. So, I went to the Margiela store in the city earlier this week to try some on. While I wear a US 9.5 in Nike and a 9D in Allen Edmonds, it turns out that I'm a size 8 (EU 41) in the Replicas. Most models don't seem to come in half sizes, but you can remove the insoles in the shoes to gain a half size in the shoes. This is either smart move by Margiela, which allows wears to resize the shoes—say, for wearing with or without socks—or a cop-out to avoid making half sizes. Either way, it works well enough. In a fortunate coincidence, the Margiela store also happened to have the Replicas on sale for 50% off. They were sold out of the white pairs in my size, but I was able to get a black and gray pair.
The branding on the shoes is very minimal—the single stitch on the back and the logo patch on the tongue. Because the numbers are just embossed suede, the one on my left shoe has already disappeared. So far the shoes are quite comfortable, but long term wear will determine how I really feel about them. I took a brush to the grey suede before spraying the shoes with Apple Gardé leather protectant and now it's a little nappier than I would like. However, I think the rougher texture would come inevitably with wearing them. Anyhow, you can get a sense of the shoes from the gallery above.