The Cairn Pro’s from Bedrock Sandals may be the best barefoot sandals on the market right now. With a background in long-distance hiking, I'm always looking for tough, grippy footwear options.
My go-to shoe for long distance hiking is Altra’s Lone Peak Series. For anything less strenuous in warmer temperature, I’m turning to the Cairn Pro.
Bedrock Sandals started off small in 2011 and quickly built a following in the hiking and dirtbagger communities. With a no-nonsense approach to barefoot sandals and an emphasis on the function they quickly gained traction (pardon the pun).
If you’re interested in seeing a video review and comparison of the Cairn Pro and Bedrocks “Classic” sandals, check out the video below.
- Weight - 18oz (pair size 9)
- Cost - 115 US Dollars
- Sole Thickness – 14mm
Bedrock sandals on the Appalachian trail
My first experience with bedrock sandals came in 2015 while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I carried a pair of Bedrocks’ Classic Sandals to wear around camp and in towns. I was extremely impressed with the Classics, and they are my go-to sandal for ultralight backpacking adventures.
Cairn Pro’s incoming
In 2017 after years of research and development, Bedrock released the Cairn Pro onto the market. Designed to be a grippier, beefier option for those wanting a truly flat, zero drop barefoot sandal. The Cairn Pro's met with immediate success and now can be found at REI stores around the US.
The sole & footbed
The sole of the Cairn Pro’s was explicitly designed for Bedrock by the wizards over at Vibram. Its aggressive tread is designed for moderate hiking, and the soft rubber is tailored for gripping in wet conditions.
This makes it suitable for all kinds of dirt baggers including hikers and river guides. The footbed of the Cairn Pro’s is a textured rubber that is comfortable after hours of hiking and grips the foot very well.
I’ve never found the need to wear socks with my Bedrocks, but people I’ve spoken to find the footbed works well with socks. This effectively opens up hiking in sandals in the shoulder seasons.
The straps & adjustment methods
Bedrocks original sandal "the Classics" have an all-around more minimalist style. The soles are thinner and the straps and adjustment method are more simple.
With the Cairn, Bedrock came out with a fully featured strap system that offers a more customizable fit and ease of use. The straps are 3/4 inches thick and have 3 adjustment points as can be seen in the photo below.
The ability to conveniently dial in the specific fit for your feet is a big plus. In daily use, I only adjust the main “pull tab” and rarely need to adjust the rear Velcro or the adjustable hook on the inside of the foot.
Looks & color options
Function over fashion? Why can’t we have both? Aside from nicer restaurants and bars, there are not many places I can’t wear my Cairn Pro.
Bedrock Sandals move in a different direction than your dad's sandals he wore with grey socks pulled to the knee. The Cairn Pro’s are offered in seven different colors, my personal favorite being Copper.
I’ve been using my Cairn Pro on an almost daily basis for the past two years, and they show very few signs of wear. I think if you were to attempt a long distance hike in the Cairns like some friends of mine, then you can expect them to break down a little quicker.
Bedrocks offer a “Re Souling” service whereby you send in your worn out sandals, and they’ll replace the soles at less than the cost of a new pair. Can't say fairer than that.
For the past two years, I’ve been living the digital nomad life all over the globe. My pair of Cairn Pro’s have visited five continents. Climbed mountains, hiked jungle paths and city streets.
They blend in well in urban environments but kick ass out on the trail. I can’t think of a better all-around travel shoe than these bomber barefoot sandals.
Good to know
- The Cairn Adventure from Bedrock aims to deliver comfort and style in a minimalist package. Its patent-pending Y-strap design of the upper yields a secure and optimal fit. The designers updated it with a plugless toe post. They retired the plastic buckles and replaced it with metal hardware.
- Its grooved footbed prevents the foot from sliding. Its outsole, with a 14 mm stack height, renders protection and durability while maintaining a flexible and lightweight feel.
This unisex multi-sport sandal caters to hikers with a medium-width foot. The brand offers this product in whole sizes only. The easy-to-adjust webbing aids in fit customization.
According to the brand, their sizing is based on a centimeter scale. They indicated that women should go one size down to get the correct fit. This sandal runs small; hence they suggest getting a larger size.
The Bedrock Cairn sandals wear an exclusive Regolith (made of Vibram XS Trek compound) outsole. It grants lightweight traction and durability. It has a self-cleaning profile, meaning it is able to shed off accumulated mud automatically. This mechanism aids in maintaining grip, especially in varying ground conditions.
This hiking sandal from Bedrock carries a Granite Grip footbed. It has a textured finish which renders foot-to-sole traction, preventing slippage. Its minimalist design amplifies the user’s connection to the ground. It also helps maintain aeration under the foot.
The Bedrock Cairn Adventure upper features premium polyester and nylon webbing in a Y-shaped construction. At the rearfoot is the brand’s Sole Hugger design that helps in maintaining stability. Its plugless paracord toe-post yields enhanced comfort.
This multi-sport sandal has three adjustment zones. The two main areas include the Velcro closure at the heel and a removable hook at the medial side of the forefoot. The latter can be attached to a different loop which aids in fit adjustment. On the lateral side is a pull tab which goes through a buckle. This feature (can be tightened or loosened) permits a convenient on and off.
- The Bedrock Cairn Adventure sandal has a vegan-friendly construction.
- The brand web has sole templates which assist future owners in getting the right size. It is advised to print the pattern on a 100% scale. The template also includes the location of the sole hugger for reference.
The brand’s designers recommend the following tips to extend the life of Bedrock sandals.
- Never expose the footbed to extreme heat. This includes leaving it in the car or putting it under direct sunlight for an extended period. It may cause deformities in the integrity of the footbed material.
- Do not machine wash the sandals. It is recommended to clean it using a brush, water and eco-friendly soap. Dry it in a shaded place.