The never ending flip flop, sandal saga went on for years, until I found what looked like an answer. I saw a photo of someone wearing Bedrock Sandals, I looked up the company and I was so excited! Could this be it? Would I finally be able to buy a solid pair of sandals that gave me what I needed? I was doubtful, but hopeful that this could be it, the solution. Did a little research and ordered me a pair of the Cairn Pros before the river season started. This will be the test, 11 trips. I usually go through about 3 pairs of expensive high quality flip flops down in the Grand Canyon, so if I even got one season out of these sandals, I would be stoked.
The Grand Canyon has been a part of my life for 54 years (+/-). I have been working on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon for 40 years and guiding on the River for 38 of those years. Nearly all of my Guiding career I have worn nothing more than some sort of flip flop. About 5 years ago I had a medical emergency that rendered my left foot incapable of holding a flop while walking. As a result, and much to my chagrin, I had to start wearing flops with an ankle strap. I tried several different options and found none of them satisfactory; They were either bulky, uncomfortable & painful, difficult to put on, fell off during a swim, or quickly fell apart, and or did not stand up to the rigor of Canyon and River life; rowing boats, fording streams, mucking thru the mud, hiking steep rocky trails, and the occasional unplanned swim in a big rapid.
Early in the 2017 season I was introduced to Bedrock Sandals. From the moment I put my new Bedrocks on, my "dogs" began to smile once again and have not stopped. The back strap was comfortable and not an issue. Bedrocks are as close to going barefoot as footwear can get. Bedrock's are sleek and comfortable, go on easy and stay on, their soles grip the rocks like glue, and so far (4 trips in) have held up nicely to Canyon and River life...only time will tell.
Yes I have taken them on some challenging "walks" in the ditch and they have responded reasonably well. On some occasions however the thin soles might feel a little too much like bare feet. Even so they got the job done. I am heading up to Mt Lassen Volcanic Park for a week in mid October and my Bedrocks are coming along so I must be on my way.
Grand Canyon is beyond hard on gear. It’s a place where equipment is put to the test, and more often than not, it falls apart fairly quickly especially for footwear. The exception to this rule, are my Bedrock Cairn Pro sandals. Flip flops are the uniform standard down in the “big ditch” and most barely last a season, don’t stay on while swimming whitewater, and aren’t preferable on long, hot, desert hikes. The Cairn Pro’s excel at all of these points in addition to being nearly as sticky as climbing shoes, drying quickly, and not chafing when wet and covered with sand. After a full season rowing boats, my Bedrock sandals are still going strong with very little apparent wear, and I’m stoked to be wearing shoes that can stand up to the abuse of life in the canyon.
Joe BennionI divide my time between making wood-fired pottery and guiding on the Colorado and Salmon rivers. Grand Canyon is my most common haunt. At sixty five I am still putting in between sixty and ninety days a year on the water. I have done a lot of this. I have gone through a lot of sandals and flips on my way to Bedrock. Why did it take so long to find these great river sandals?
When I first discovered this river shoe I was skeptical simply because of repeated
disappointment over the almost three decades I have been on the water. The biggest complaint has been durability. Soles coming off has been a constant issue. Sure they take them back and repair or replace them, but in the middle of a trip when a flip flop or sandal blows it breaks your stride so to speak and then the repair job usually fails anyway. I had finally taken to buying the most bomber flips I could find, gluing climbing shoe soles on them and jerry rigging some sort of heel strap so I don’t lose them in an unscheduled swim.
I saw an ad for Bedrock and contacted the company to see about giving them a try. I was really ready for something new. I had just returned from a Grand Canyon trip where my resoled flips had come off in deep sand in the mouth of Havasu Creek. I was unable to retrieve one of them and was reminded that a heel strap is a necessary thing.
The first thing that struck me on the river was how comfortable they were. I expected a brief break-in period, you know, a little redness from strap wear on a different part of my feet. Nada. They felt like something I had always worn. I wore them on six consecutive trips and more or less forgot I had them on, or at least that they were new to my feet.
All photos courtesy of guides: Jed Tarlow, Lindsay Hale, Howell Usher, and West Howland as well as friends and photographers: Meredith Meeks, Rafa Acuna, John Mohar, and Adam Schallau.