Minimalist Outdoor Sandal Guide

June 30, 2016 3 Comments

Minimalist Outdoor Sandal Guide

A Brief History of Sport Sandals

For the majority of the 20th century in the USA, sandals were not at all associated with the outdoor sport world. My dad grew up in the 1960's and remembers wearing leather soled huaraches to the beach. The leather soles looked great but they got slimy when wet and had virtually zero traction.

In the 1980's, the functionality of sandals began to change. Companies began combining ancient strap designs with modern rubber soles and nylon webbing. With these modern synthetic materials, sandals became much more practical and comfortable than shoes for a lot of our favorite outdoor activities like hiking, running, camping, and river swimming. 

The World's First Minimalist Outdoor Sandals

Cairn Running Sandals

Although many different sport sandal brands existed in 2011 - none of them matched the premium quality with the lightweight minimalist feel that we wanted. We wanted to take what we loved from the minimalist running and premium sport sandal worlds and fuse them together to create our ideal outdoor footwear. Think huarache tire sandal meets rugged approach shoe. Half the weight, twice the functionality, and superior grip on trail. 

From these ideas we created the world's first minimalist outdoor sandals in 2011. Since our founding Kickstarter campaign, Bedrock Sandals® has expanded our line to include models with varying sole thicknesses and two different strap systems. 

Different Varieties of our Minimalist Footwear

Cairn Sandals

We combine our industry leading strap system with the most technical Vibram® sole ever custom designed for a sandal. Our world class Cairn Sandal is ideal for those looking to replace their heavy, thick soled sport sandals for a lighter, more versatile alternative.

Our Cairn Sandals are the product of Bedrock Sandals R&D over the past five years to create the ultimate outdoor sport sandal. Built not too thick, not too thin, and with the perfect balance of comfort, rugged traction, and durability. Our patent pending strap system takes the difficulty completely out of the adjustment process - the Cairn straps feature three unique strap adjusters for perfecting fit.

The Cairn is the first minimalist outdoor sandal truly designed and built for big adventure on the trail and river. 

Cairn River Minimalist Sandals


The Cairn excels on trails, in all bodies of water, and is super comfortable to wear all around town too because of its 8mm thick cushioned Go Far midsole. 

Classic Barefoot Minimalist Sandals

Syncline Minimalist Sport Sandals

Photo by Daniel Stranahan

Our classic minimalist sandals find strap design inspiration from the huarache running sandals of the Copper Canyon's Tarahumara Tribe. We created our classic minimalist line to make a better sport sandal with superior groundfeel and packability all inspired from the simplicity of this ancient time-tested huarache design. We offer our classic barefoot lineup in three models, letting you choose the sole profile you prefer. 

Syncline Sandals

The Syncline Sandals are the mid range thickness from our classic line and represent a great balance of barefoot feel and sole durability. The Syncline comes with a 9mm blown rubber Vibram® sole and offers more protection and durability than the Earthquake Sandals with not much added weight. 

Gabbro Sandals

The Gabbro Sandals use wider straps and a 10mm thick foamy Vibram® sole with trail ready lugs. The Gabbro actually weighs less than the Syncline Classic model because of how lightweight the Gabbro's Vibram® sole compound is. The Gabbro has the most plush and comfortable feel underfoot of all our classic sandals. 

Earthquake Sandals

The Earthquake Sandals, at 7mm thick, are our most minimalist and most barefoot feeling footwear that we manufacture. Wearing the Earthquakes feels like you are nearly barefoot but with a bit of sole protection from beneath. The Earthquake Sandal is ideal for those looking for the most authentic barefoot running experience or the lightest weight footwear to carry in their pack on a thru hike or long adventure.

Bedrock Sandals Comparison Chart

Bedrock Sandals Model Comparison


3 Responses

Stephen Shelton
Stephen Shelton

April 30, 2017

I am a 72 year old “speed” walker. I gave up running because of damage body. I wear running shoes to work out. I am not an ultra guy. I wear Ecco sandals around time, but have not found them a good choice to work out in. I would love to have one pair of something that I could work out in and use everyday – kind of an urban minimalist approach. Can you reoommend a model?


July 05, 2016

I look forward to trying these! Back in the day, there was a company called Alps, who made a real nice sandal. They were bought by Teva, who then made Teva Alps for awhile. There is a whole community who mourned the day Teva stopped making them. But it looks like Bedrock is stepping in to fill the void! If you can match my love for the Alps, I’ll take one of each, in every color available! :)

Thank You
Thank You

July 01, 2016

Thanks, for the history and overview of your products.

Thank You

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