No Socks Required: The Secret Behind Garmont’s New Travel Shoes
Anyone who’s planned an adventurous vacation has probably struggled to decide what kind of shoes to pack. Sandals are perfect for warm weather, but they don’t protect your feet very well. Hiking boots provide comfort on long walks, but they tend to be too bulky and heavy for travel. Plus, you might need another pair of shoes for dinners out. Rarely can a suitcase accommodate all of these footwear needs. So, you’re forced to compromise and take shoes that aren’t ideal for some parts of your trip.
Garmontrecognized this dilemma for travelers and asked, “If you were going to take one pair of shoes to travel with, what would that look like?” This question sparked the company to develop theTikal, a multi-purpose shoe designed to meet all the demands of travel. It provides the support of a boot, the breathability of a sandal, and the aesthetics of an upscale sneaker. To make it stand out even more, Garmont designed the Tikal so that you can wear it without socks and still avoid blisters and odors. It’s quite an achievement. But, Garmont was able to succeed thanks to its savvy designers and the company’s wealth of experience in making footwear.
The Garmont Story
Founded in 1964 near the Dolomites in Northern Italy, Garmont has long been a pioneer in designing and producing boots for hiking, skiing, and tactical use. These days, it makes everything from mountaineering boots to shoes for everyday wear. Garmont’s philosophy centers around researching and understanding what people are looking for in their mountain adventures and what products will help them enjoy their time outdoors.
Like many Italian shoemakers, Garmont is famous for its lasts—the foot-shaped “mannequins” that shoes are built around. Each new piece of footwear begins with in-depth research on how the foot performs in a particular activity. Then, the company creates highly functional and comfortable shoes using what it callsAnatomically Directed Design. They shape the cuff, tongue, ankle pads, lacing system, and toe box so that a person’s feet can stabilize themselves, absorb shock, and propel themselves. When your feet rely more on their own abilities, they can function more normally inside of shoes or boots.
Why the Tikal is the Perfect Travel Shoe
Since travel typically includes a variety of situations, including long days on your feet, designers knew that the Tikal needed to be supportive, versatile, and extremely comfortable. They designed the shoe around the philosophy of “active travel with a natural soul.” Paying attention to natural materials and focusing on what would be comfortable for people to wear in their natural everyday lives, designers created this on-the-go and practical style.
The Tikal begins with a single piece of full-grain Italian leather that acts as a second skin around your foot. The smooth side of the leather is on the inside of the shoe and provides maximum breathability. The combination of coconut, cork, and cotton alongside Michelin’s sole technology brings to life the shoe’s truly natural soul. With the Tikal, you get the ventilation of a sandal and the protection of a serious hiking shoe. It’s the perfect alternative for people who don’t enjoy how a true sandal exposes their feet. As you wear the Tikal, it molds to the shape of your foot for a tailored fit.
To eliminate the need for an “evening” shoe, designers fashioned the Tikal to complement a dressier outfit. A single color dominates the upper, which has clean lines and a subtle toe bumper. It’s attractive and subtle, and perfect for a night out on the town after a day of adventure.
Why Socks Are Optional
While you can comfortably wear socks with the Tikal in cooler temps, the shoe’s smart construction makes them unnecessary in most situations. There are no seams inside the shoe, except at the heel, so nothing will chafe your feet and cause blisters or hotspots.
With most shoes, going sockless creates one other big issue: odor. The Tikal is notably different in that it innovatively uses coconut hair to dispel odor and bacteria. Coconut hair is woven directly into the core of the footbed and acts as a natural antimicrobial, eliminating the need for harsh chemical treatments. Also, coconut hair pulls moisture away from your feet and down into the shoe to keep you dry and comfortable.
The more elements used in a shoe, the more chance there is of discomfort. For this reason, the Tikal uses a simple composition of only 10 pieces of material. Garmont worked with Michelin to develop the Cross Terrain outsole, which provides traction on trails but still feels nimble enough for walking city streets. The outsole extends into the arch to provide extra support, making it surprisingly stable for a lightweight shoe.
The midsole contains EVA, a type of foam the provides excellent cushioning. The midsole also includes a layer of natural cork, which forms to your foot over time for a custom fit. The flexible upper is made of high-quality leather that’s durable but also soft so that it won’t restrict movement. The supper is capped by polyurethane toe for increased protection on rugged terrain and heel bumpers for stability, which create the look of a climbing approach shoe. Also similar to the approach shoe style are the laces, which extend to the toe.
If you’ve been staring at your travel bag, wondering how everything is going to fit, the Tikal might provide some answers. Able to conquer trails and downtown sidewalks, Garmont’s Tikal will allow you to pack fewer shoes. Plus, it will satisfy your desire to go sockless in certain situations. (You can even free some space in your bag by packing fewer socks.) As the ultimate travel shoe, the Tikal will quickly become your new go-to for adventurous journeys, casual vacations, and even everyday outings.
Written by Madison Eubanks for Matcha in partnership with Garmont North America.