Bottom Line at the top: These are my favorite sandals I have ever owned. I love them dearly, and will probably always own a pair of Bedrocks. I will recommend them to anyone I can.
Now, on with the story…
At the start of the summer in 2017, my wife (Vee) bought a pair of sport sandals from a small company based in the Bay Area. Minimalist, with a creative adjustment system, comfortable webbing, and a fantastic rubber sole, these sandals were a dream for her. I am a climbing and rafting guide (well, she is too), and I immediately took notice of these shoes. They were made by a small company called Bedrock Sandals, and as I looked into their shoes online, I was impressed.
At the time I discovered Bedrocks, I had become really dissatisfied with other sport sandals that I had been using. This was mostly due to customer service failures and a discontinuation of the “Pro” product line, which used a very sticky rubber that river guides relied on. They seemed to be favoring their new mainstream popularity over the outdoor community that helped build the brand. Bedrock, however, was new, and was taking pointers from the next wave of adventure nomads, the ones that wanted to live with less, and buy shoes that lasted. I wanted in.
But I was hesitant, because I was used to a beefy footbed that had major arch support. These new players were very flat and thin. I contacted Bedrock about this, and they told me they had a prototype shoe with some minor arch support, and a little more cushioning, and they were looking for gear testers. I said I was interested, and they sent me a pair of their Cairn 3D Pro sandals. My job? Wear them while I do my job, and report back. I gave them input twice and then gave my final review to them just recently after a full year with the shoes.
I want to take a moment to address the fact that I did receive my shoes for free. However, I have no obligation to Bedrock to write a nice review. I get no money. I get no future deals for my reviews. My wife paid for her shoes, and I am going to review these with the mindset that I have paid full retail price for these shoes and every expectation that comes with that monetary commitment.
Fit and Comfort
Bedrock uses a unique three-point adjustment method to fit their shoes to the foot. There is the Velcro heel strap, the aluminum hook and bar-tack adjustment point, and the webbing buckle for the daily putting on and taking off. The combination of these works tremendously well. I never adjust the Velcro or hook adjustment points. When you first get your shoe, you set the Velcro heel strap to where you want it to hold your foot on the shoe, and you stick it down good. And then you don’t mess with it. I had my doubts about Velcro in a wet, sandy, and active environment, but it is a great solution. Because it is not adjusted regularly, it leaves the heel strap soft and comfy!
The sandals themselves are my favorite to wear not only for adventures, but every single day. They are incredibly comfortable. If you leave the tightening strap loose, they hang loosely on the foot like a flip flop, and tightened down, they are secure and ready for action. In either configuration, they feel great. My foot got used to them quickly, and there were absolutely no blisters from the entire break-in period. My wife didn’t get any from her pair either. The toe post, which is actually a loop of paracord, took some getting used to, but it is soft and once my foot became accustomed to having that cord there, it has never once bothered me.
Let start at the bottom. The rubber used by Bedrock is Vibram, and there are two compounds you can get, the grey one being a version of Vibram’s MegaGrip rubber. These soles are very reliably, and the rubber gets excellent traction. It is soft enough to get friction on wet rock, and I can walk confidently near cliff edges on steep granite with these shoes on my feet. The tread pattern is also great. It leaves enough contact area for smooth surface grip, while having deep lugs for loose trails, and scree filled gullies. Something I like about the tread is that it does not hold junk in it. The channels on the sole are wide and deep, and allow dirt to just fall right out once you leave the trail, rather than track dirt and stones indoors.
The footbed is sufficiently grippy for the toes. While not abrasive, the surface has some texture, and the ridges around the toe post are great for keeping your foot where you want it on the shoe. One of the only things I preferred about other sport sandals I had worn was the way the other straps secured the front of the foot, near the toes. Having webbing wrap around the foot keeps things stable laterally. Bedrocks have great webbing and are very secure, but part of their design is for the foot to be free! This means that you need to be a little more involved when it comes to foot position. You quickly learn how to position the foot and to dig in with your toes when walking on certain angles.
The straps are very secure. In swiftwater currents, swimming, hiking all over, these shoes stay on the feet incredibly well, and without any discomfort. They have been to multiple parts of the American River and the Mokelumne River for rafting, swam in many other canyons and lakes, and the ocean! They have hiked hundreds and hundreds of miles, as well as thousands of vertical feet (including up and down Glacier Point trail in Yosemite, which is 3,200 vertical feet of elevation gain over 4.8 miles, one way. What a day that was!). They have hiked on both the east coast and west coast, and scrambled up some 5.6 and 5.7 climbs. They handled the descent from multi-pitch climbing in Smith Rock, and they performed admirably everywhere. The footbed is thick enough to protect from sharp rock edges and still give you excellent ground support.
They also float. Which, as I river guide, is a great plus. And I do not need to dig with my fingers to dislodge rocks nearly as often as with other sandals. Swimming in them is great, and the webbing dries out fast!
They get compliments all the time. I have people ask me about them regularly. They are utilitarian, mine are usually dirty, yet somehow they are attractive. The only issue is I cannot wear them with my suit. Just a bit too informal for those occasions.
Bedrocks are all made in the USA. They are made just 100 miles from where I live.
They are very easy to clean. Don’t put them in the washer, just shower with them! I regularly shower in them to rinse them off, and will sometimes take a scrub brush in there, and really clean the footbed and straps. They don’t stink, so that isn’t a concern, but it is nice to get the dirt out of the webbing from time to time. It will make them last longer.
What I think in the end
These are the most versatile sport sandals I have ever seen. They are comfy like flip flops, and rugged enough to take on some serious adventure. Bedrocks are made here, in the United States, and they are committed to making great footwear that meets the needs of their customers. They have been receptive to feedback from guides, and I hear that they have some new models in the works.
You can buy these sandals direct from bedrock, on their website https://bedrocksandals.com/. They have a bunch of color options and a really helpful sizing page. Bedrock Sandals can also be purchased from REI, but there are more options directly from the Bedrocks website.
These shoes are worth the price. If I lost this pair, I would immediately buy another. If they break they can be re-soled and they have an excellent warranty and great customer service.
If you are in the market for a sports sandal, you found it. This is the one.