The oldest recovered footwear of any kind are a pair of sandals made of sagebrush bark. They were found in what is now Oregon and were radiocarbon dated to about 10,000 years ago. The weaver who made them, like many many thousands of sandal makers before and after, surely lived the basic yet challenging proposition of combining comfort, durability, and ease of wearing. And they surely would recognize the design of the Bedrock Classic as nearly one of their own.
If a shoe that is already essential can be stripped even further, the Bedrock Classic has done so, achieving a kind of perfection where nothing is left to remove. It’s just what you see, a thin layer of Vibram rubber sole, a nylon footbed, and a webbing strap that keeps the sandal attached to your foot. It’s certainly among the lightest, thinnest outdoor sandals you can buy, if not the lightest, and that’s exactly why I got a pair—they’re a no-brainer to toss in your bikepacking kit or backpack for a camp shoe or to carry in canyon country for rivers crossings (I’ve done all three with them).
Bedrock (can’t wear them without thinking about Fred Flintstone) makes the Classics with half-inch recycled webbing. Your feet might think it looks alarmingly thin. It is not. Once I figured out how to adjust the webbing (it’s more complex than it looks and I suggest you don’t wait until the first night in camp to tackle it), the sandals slipped on, stayed on, and strode around snugly and comfortably. At camp, they were exactly what I wanted—simple, light, and airy foot protection.
The small California brand has an intensely loyal following, and some people wear Classics as their everyday shoe. I don’t know about that. Bedrock has sandals of traditional thickness, some of which have sticky rubber, and I think those are a better choice for all-day use. Classics are thin, and the whole point is ground feel. For me, they’re best—they’re perfect—for light use, always ready, in the pack or the back of the truck, a reliable and specifically purposed piece of footwear. If they’re your jam from dawn to dusk, though, awesome. 10,000 years back you up.
BUY • $78
Sandals? Sandals you say?
If you like the Classics, but want more oomph, maybe for real-deal hikes, the Bedrock Cairn Pros are more rugged and people thru-hike the AT in them. $120
We also love the Oboz Campster for sheer campsite utility. Slip on or strap up, comfy, durable, hikeable, even. $90
Chaco Z/2 sandals are dependable, simple, and the tan lines they leave on feet are recognizable by Chaco fans worldwide. $105