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Nike Cairns Shoes

3.36/5 (109 Reviews)
MSRP : $210.00


Product Description

Nike Cairns


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Reviews 1 - 15 (109 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Zachariah a Cross Country Rider from Palm Desert, CA USA

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2010

Strengths:    -Looks good
-Secure heel cup
-Stiff sole
-Made in Italy
-Breathes well/dries easily
-Ratchet strap effective


Weaknesses:    -Made for skinny Italian feet
-Front of sole separates
-Heavy at 450g a shoe
-Dated, 1990s strap technology


Bottom Line:   
As mentioned, the red version is the flawed shoe, and prone to cracked soles, resulting in useless cleats or an odd, upturned toe box. The post 1999-up orange version is widely improved...but no longer available.

Lance Armstrong is said to have aided in development of this shoe, for his MTB training. You need very narrow feet to find these comfortable...I'm talking RAIL THIN!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hurkey Creek Park (24 Hours of Adrenalin course)

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   SIDI Dominator 4
Cannondale Carve


Bike Setup:   19-lb Cannondale XC race HT

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Spencer a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2009

Strengths:    Got them on the cheap. When the sole was intact the shoe performed better than I expected.

Weaknesses:    The sole split in half. Like all nike shoes this shoe is not ment for wide feet. I had to cut out all the plastic along the outside of the shoe just to let my foot in.

Bottom Line:   
I had the orange shoes. They held together for over 2 years: after I modded them, cut all the plastic off the outside, they were great. The sole was stiff enough that I could feel pressure on my heels when pounding on the pedals. After about 2 seasons the sole cracked in half, I was road riding and had to stop to fix a flat. They still work but its just not the same. For what I paid these shoes get 5 chillis. Nike is bourgeois company end of.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   chicopee/blankets creek

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   REI.com

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Shimano

Bike Setup:   BMC fourstroke

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Peregrine Islands a Downhiller from Denver, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: May 18, 2009

Strengths:    Fit, comfort

Weaknesses:    Durability (cracks along sole)

Bottom Line:   
As with everyone else, I have had cracks along the sole, above the cleat, since the very first ride. However, I have not had issues with the ride because of this. As with all Nike shoes, I had to go a half a size up. Unusual for Nike is the fact that this shoe fits me in the width. (I wear a AAA width normally).

These shoes have a great comfort, beating out my old Look shoes - so much so that I actually put the pedals on my commuter and my mountain bike.

The shoes are a little scary to walk on when on slick surfaces, such as tile, but I've come to expect that from any kind of bike shoe.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Boulder County

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   Nike Outlet

Similar Products Used:   Look


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Mik a Weekend Warrior from Hobart, Australia

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2008

Strengths:    um...

Weaknesses:    the shoe

Bottom Line:   
OK if you look a few reviews down you'll see a review from me, loving my cairns, now that orange pair is still going strong, I love them... but yesturday i finally broke out my red pair, the reds are what people seem to be having problems with...
Had to go pick up the girlfriends car, so i figure a 3km road ride would be great to see if i hav the cleats set up OK, all fine there, but walking bike back up driveway, 3 steps, crack crack, the soles of both shoes broke, 10 minutes use...knackered.
Now i realise this is a old shoe, but my orange ones are still going fine (up same driveway). so all i can say, orange good, red bad... but at least i now have a spare ratchet strap... haha

the rating is only for the red version

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $40.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   answer accelerator, nike yuha, nike cairns ORANGE

Bike Setup:   Yeti ARC, RS Duke race, XT

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Luke Franklin a Cross Country Rider from Reno, NV, USA

Date Reviewed: August 24, 2007

Strengths:    Stiffness.

Weaknesses:    Bad customer support and weak structural integrity.

Bottom Line:   
After almost a year of use, I too experienced a snap in the plate right beneath the cleat area. All the way through, from one side to the other. Imagine a shoe with a crease in it that would allow the toe to touch the toungue. I sent it to Nike, who basically told me their product was supposed to suck, and there was nothing that could be done. My Northwaves lasted me the next 4000 miles that I put on my Moab. Needless to say, if I could give this pair of shoes 0 flaming cat turds, I would.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   flume or peavine

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $75.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Northwave something or others, for both mountain and road.

Bike Setup:   At time of failure, Schwinn Moab 1.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Don a Cross Country Rider from Denver

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2005

Strengths:    Extremely well planted to the bike, no slop, stiff, in my case durability...though others may see differently.

Weaknesses:    Some pressure points, not for cold weather, rattle at buckle, heavy, not made for walking any distance (not by choice of course).

Bottom Line:   
I have been riding these things for over 7 years. Durability has not been a problem for me. Others I have known have torn through the cleat area, and these finally succumbed after a long time. In that time I have ranged from 8 rides per week, to barely one per week, so they have been thoroughly used. The only problem I had with the toe spikes was getting them off after wearing them to the stubs. Spikes become a liability in rocky terrain. Overall they have been a great shoe, but obviously the quality control is spotty if you read all the posts. One more thing...they are NOT meant for extended walking unless you like blisters on the heals. Switched to a set of Shimano 220s after putting them to rest. More comfortable, still stiff, much lighter, similar buckle mech. minus the rattling, we will see about durability.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $50.00

Purchased At:   Performance Outlet

Similar Products Used:   Sidi Techno Fire, Old school Shimano, Shimano 220s.

Bike Setup:   These have been on more bikes than I can remember, used with eggbeaters and frogs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Siggins a Weekend Warrior from Tasmania, Australia

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2004

Strengths:    stiff, comfortable, ventilation

Weaknesses:    ratchet buckle, narrow

Bottom Line:   
I really like these shoes, i have 2 pairs. bought the first about 3 years ago and they are still going really well, bouhgt the second last year. I have had no falling apart problems like others here.
I had some yuha's and reall like them so i had to get the cairns, here in australia they were like $400 but i got shipped out from the states for not much. They are really stiff and comfortable, good to walk in to, if you don't go too far. Well ventilated and give good pedalling support.
I have only had 2 problems, 1st was the buckle, i found would keep coming loose on hard upstroke, turns out when you ratchet them up you have to lock it down too... er well thats what you get for being stoopid i guess. 2nd was that the cleats would come loose over time, last tiem a cleat come loose completely whilst on the lat downhill of a XC race and i couldn't clip out at the fininsh. Once again, my bad for not checking them regularly.
While there comfortable they are also narrow, so you have to take that into account, i buy 1/2 size bigger than a running shoe.

Personally for the price they are now, absolute bargain. my buddie has 2 pairs as well.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $65.00

Purchased At:   pricepiont/ebay

Similar Products Used:   shimano, answer, nike yuha

Bike Setup:   Dimond Back Axis TR, Specialised Epic
Manitou FS

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Yogi a Cross Country Rider from Denver

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2004

Strengths:    Comfortable right out of the box. Ultra stiff sole.

Weaknesses:    A friend of mine has had a pair of the orange Cairns for 4 years and he says they're the absolute best shoes you can buy. My experience has not been so favorable. I got two pairs of the RED Cairns brand new on Ebay. The sole plate on the first pair cracked on my third ride. The shoe is obviously ruined.
I switched my cleats over to the second pair and got a whole TWO rides out of those. I was walking up a steep section of trail and the rubber tip of the shoe detached from the sole plate and popped up over the tip of the shoe. I fixed this by prying it back with a screwdriver. Then on my next ride I noticed that the hard rubber tread of BOTH shoes had become mostly detached from the shoe. Those shoes are ruined as well. If I had paid retail ($200+) for these shoes I'd be livid. I guess these shoes were closed out at a fraction of retail price for a reason.


Bottom Line:   
Reviews for these shoes are pretty much all or nothing.
I think it's safe to say that the red cairns are crap, and the orange ones are awesome.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $45.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Comp MTN and Specialized Pro MTN.

Bike Setup:   Intense Spider XVP. XT/XTR. Crossmax disc wheels with Avid mechs. Time pedals.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ryan R a Cross Country Rider from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Date Reviewed: February 28, 2004

Strengths:    - The fit. Oh, the fit. I'm swooning just thinking about it.
- Stiff.
- Good outsole traction when walking.
- Good ventilation.

mmm...fit...


Weaknesses:    - Both pairs broke.
- Rather heavy.
- Very little rocker to the stiff sole, so they're somewhat awkward to walk in.
- The Shimano cleats protruded slightly below the outsole, so there was a small, but deadly, region whenever I walked on a tile surface (I commuted in them).

Note that mine were the original, red and silver models. I've heard the orange and grey ones are more reliable, but I can't say that from experience.


Bottom Line:   
I bought two pairs from reioutlet.com for $35 each. Why I thought I needed two pairs is a mystery, but seriously, 35 bucks - how could I not? It turned out that I should've bought 10...

The one shoe from the first pair had a midsole snap edge-to-edge, right through the cleat area. Split in two. Now three midsoles for the price of two. It lasted almost one blissful year, the REI took it back for a full refund. I think they even refunded shipping. That made me happy.

The next pair's failure was rather more bizarre. I was hiking the bike up an absurdly steep hill and my foot slid back a few inches. The upper and the outsole stayed attached to each other, but they came unglued from the midsole. The midsole poked through the toe-spike opening in the outsole and was utterly stuck there, forcing me to complete the ride with a comically upturned - and very uncomfortable - toe. REI again gave me a full refund.

You'd think I'd hate these shoes, but I don't. Maybe I'd feel differently if I'd lost $450 on them (that's two pairs at full retail), but even two failures can't make me forget how sweet they were. I still look for a pair on some crazy blowout sale. Yeah, I'd take my chances on another pair...if I could get them for $35 again. eBay usually has 'em for $50 to $80, but maybe I'll get lucky.

By the way, I'm going to rate these for value based on the current price, not the original price, and I'll try to factor in the high, but not certain, liklihood of failure.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fast and flowing

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   rei-outlet.com

Similar Products Used:   Tried on many pairs; owned various generations of top o' the line Shimanos and a pair of Specialized 2003 BG Pros (road shoes, but they're a worthwhile comparison in many ways).

Bike Setup:   Shimano 959 pedals.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Mike a Cross Country Rider from Ventura Ca.

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2003

Strengths:    Stiff, Good fit.

Weaknesses:    Buckels rattel, sole broken behind cleat mount

Bottom Line:   
I ride almost 5 days a week so I guess that they hold up ok. The buckels will rattel when the springs get weak, but a drop of silicone seal behind the latch will stop the noise. Overall a good shoe, they are bit on the heavy side but are quite sturdy. I think that the Yuha is a better shoe for the money. If you can get them cheap and ride 2-3 days a week they should last a long time.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   White Ledge

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Open Air

Similar Products Used:   Nike Yuha

Bike Setup:   04 Ellsworth Truth w/ FOX Terra Logic

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Somxay a Racer from Philadelphia, PA

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2003

Strengths:    Price, looks and great fit

Weaknesses:    straps are weak

Bottom Line:   
Great pair of shoes for under $50 bucks. It looks great and feels great. I don't have problem putting them on or off. It these shoes gets worn out, I'll probaly get the Sidi Dominator. But I'll keep these shoes for now, and I really like them.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $45.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized S-works and AXO Decend

Bike Setup:   Vertex team, XTR, Sid Race, Crossmax

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ed Francis a Cross Country Rider from Palmdale California USA

Date Reviewed: April 14, 2003

Strengths:    Killer stylish looks, and excellent materials and construction. Truly a very striking design job.

Weaknesses:    Just a tad on the narrow side.....but they do break in after a short time. People with wide feet, however, will never fit into them.

Bottom Line:   
I have read the poor reviews from alot of the people who have the Nike Cairns, and totally do not understand why they could fault this shoe. The workmanship and quality of materials that went into these shoes are FIRST RATE. They fit my feet like a GLOVE, and are extremely comfortable (after a short break in period). I'm almost thinking that the rival shoes companies hired a few people to post negative reviews about this shoe....in order to damage it's reputation. I have not used the shoe long enough, however, to be able to comment on the alleged issue of the soles breaking in two.I purchased my shoes on Ebay.... and paid only $59.00 for them......so I consider that an extremely good deal for shoes of this quality. Back on the subject of the alleged breaking of soles at point where cleats attach: Perhaps laminating( bonding using epoxy or similar adhesive) a thin square piece of steel in the cleat area, would eliminate the stresses caused by the cleats biting into the plastic/ fiber sole material. I'm sure that would lessen the chances of the shoes cracking in that area.
In any event...... so far, I find the Nike Cairns to be an excellent shoe in all regards..... so much so, that I'm purchasing a second pair of them from Ebay, to keep as a spare.I'm giving the shoes 5 flaming tamales for the craftsmanship that went into them......and will leave another review later on..... as to their durability.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any and all

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $59.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized team shoes

Bike Setup:   EPX Terrashark carbon fiber full suspension bike.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by []D[][]v[][]D a Cross Country Rider from Norwalk, CT

Date Reviewed: April 11, 2003

Strengths:    fit, durability

Weaknesses:    the run narrow...not for the fat footed

Bottom Line:   
I'm going on my third season with these shoes and no complaints....durable, fit well, buckled have lasted. I bought another pair cheap on ebay last summer and I am waiting for my current pair to crap out so i can use the new pair, BUT THEY JUST WON'T QUIT!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $99.00

Similar Products Used:   Nike Yuha, specialized

Bike Setup:   Intense Tracer fully loaded

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian a Racer from Ann Arbor, MI

Date Reviewed: April 10, 2003

Strengths:    Mine have been bulletproof.

Weaknesses:    heavy

Bottom Line:   
I couldn't pass up the deal on these shoes. They were sitting in the clearance section of our local sporting goods store with a $19.99 price tag on them. I bought two pair and have been riding the first ones 4 times a week for two years. The only problems I've had was blowing out one buckle in a crash, and the occasional loosening of the cleat screws on one shoe.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Potawatomi

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   Dunham's

Similar Products Used:   Specialized

Bike Setup:   Specialized Stumpjumper Comp FSRXC

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Ol' Dirty Baxter a Cross Country Rider from Portland OR

Date Reviewed: July 17, 2002

Strengths:    Rigid platform

Weaknesses:    Buckle spontaneously releases & warranty folks won't work with me.

Bottom Line:   
I called Nike and the store I bought these at. All I wanted was a new buckle. No one wanted to stand behind the product. I'd rather have a crappy shoe that delaminates, as long as the company will repair it or replace it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Slickrock, Moab UT

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Sidi Dominators

Bike Setup:   Hardtail & Boinger, both with Time ATACs

Reviews 1 - 15 (109 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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