Bedrock Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure - Women's Review
Cons: Pricey, can't be worn with socks
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We love the regular Bedrock Cairn Adventure so much that we had to give its tricked-out sibling, the Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure, a try. The two main differences between these sandals are the footbed (flat on the regular Adventure, molded on the 3D PRO II) and the outsole (grippy on the regular Adventure, insanely grippy on the 3D PRO II). Ultimately, we don't think the 3D PRO II offers quite enough extra oomph to steal the Editors' Choice Award from the regular Adventure, but it's still an extremely impressive sandal with some real performance perks. Most folks will be happy with the regular version, but if you're planning on some serious backcountry treks or a ton of river time, this upgrade might be the pick for you.
Like its sibling, the Cairn Adventure, the Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure is comfortable right out of the box, with minimal time needed to break it in. One of the main features that distinguishes the 3D PRO II from the regular Cairn is its molded footbed (that's the "3D" part), which may be more supportive and comfortable for those with high arches (though our high-arched lead tester thinks both are equally comfortable).
The extra footbed molding and thicker sole make this model feel cushier than the classic Cairn Adventure, but it also makes the sole less flexible. This is a mixed bag: when you're carrying a heavy pack or putting in long miles on rough terrain, the thickness of the 3D PRO II is a big plus. But if you need to be flexible and nimble — say for rock hopping or even gardening — the regular Cairn Adventure is more comfortable.
The 3D PRO II Adventure really shines here: we can't imagine a sandal with better traction.
Excellent traction in all conditions is what the 3D PRO II Adventure is made for: Bedrock recommends the regular Cairn Adventure, which has a Vibram Regolith outsole, for dry conditions, and the PRO II Adventure, which has a Vibram Megagrip outsole, for primarily wet environments. Truth be told, we can barely tell the difference, but we were able to detect just a hair more grippiness when crossing rushing rivers in the PRO II vs. the regular Cairn Adventure. So if you're planning to use your sandals almost exclusively in wet environments, you'll probably be happier with the PRO II.
This model is simple to adjust but has enough adjustment points to ensure a dialed-in fit, so it scores well here. Like the regular Cairn Adventure, the 3D PRO II has a hook-and-loop adjustment for one of its top straps, allowing the wearer to roughly set the fit. Then, a secure buckle adjusts the other top strap to take the sandal on and off and secure the perfect fit. The PRO II has another hook-and-loop adjustment for the heel strap, while the regular Adventure just has Velcro. If anything, we actually prefer the Velcro because it gives a continuous adjustment spectrum rather than the discrete jumps of the hook-and-loop system, and after literally years of daily wear, we never once saw the Velcro on the regular Adventure budge. Basically, we don't consider the PRO II Adventure's extra fancy heel adjustment to be an advantage.
For a sandal that looks like a techy flip-flop, this model offers outstanding stability. The adjustable straps described above keep the foot centered squarely on the footbed and barely allow for lateral or back-and-forth movement. The molding on the footbed also helps keep the foot supported and in place, providing a slight advantage over the regular Cairn Adventure. The sole is thick enough to provide cushioning but supple enough to absorb the lumps and bumps of the trail. In short, this is one of the most stable models we tested in any situation.
This sandal performs well and remains comfortable in almost any situation. It's cushioned and supportive, so it's a solid option for multi-day backpacking trips or hikes to the crag; it's ultra-grippy and stable, so it's a pleasure on the river; and it's comfortable and minimal enough to wear at home and around town. This model is a little thicker-soled than the regular Cairn Adventure, so it might not be quite as ideal for activities like gardening, where you're bending and flexing your feet a ton.
We specifically wanted to test the 3D PRO II Adventure to see if it could hold its own against the Chaco models as a backpacking shoe, and we're happy to report that it does! While the Chacos are still a little squishier and comfier with a heavy pack, the 3D PRO II offers enough support to make it a viable choice, and it's a pleasure to wear around camp when the day's hiking is done.
Do you want to be the envy of your outdoorsy friends? Do you want strangers in the grocery line to stop you and ask about your footwear? Then get yourself a pair of Bedrocks. While there will always be a few stray haters, this is one of the most consistently well-liked models we test in terms of style. The combination of simple design, wide straps, and outdoor feel earns our testers compliments every time they leave the house. This model comes in several pleasing colorways, so you're sure to find something that works with your style.
The Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure is one of the more expensive models we tested, but it delivers a ton: it's comfortable, supportive, extremely versatile, and durable. Given that this could be the only shoe you wear this summer, and for many summers to come, we think the relatively high price is justified. That said, the regular Cairn Adventure is less expensive and delivers almost the same performance, so it's not clear that the extra bells and whistles of the 3D PRO II Adventure are worth the cost. How about a happy medium? Bedrock also offers the Cairn 3D Adventure, which keeps the molded footbed but does away with the extra grippy sole. If you want the extra cush without the big jump in price, consider that option.
This outstanding offering from Bedrock brings a little extra support and grip than its sibling, making it ideal for tough treks with a heavy pack or for long days on the river. If you're looking for the one sandal to rule all your summer adventures, give the Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure a try.
— Joanna Trieger