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Hands-on Gear Review
Rainbow Single Layer Premier Review
Cons: Odd sizing, minimal support, narrow
Bottom line: The Single Layer Premier is a comfortable and attractive flip-flop that breaks in beautifully and dries quickly after getting wet.
The Rainbow Single Layer Premier is a simple but attractive flip-flop that's easy to fall for. Made with soft finished leather on top of a memory foam midsole, it breaks in gracefully and comfortably as the footbed molds to the contours of your feet. This is a flop that feels better the longer you wear it, so it's no wonder that some people are fiercely loyal to the Rainbow brand - if you keep your eyes peeled you will see many a deeply loved pair walking about. They are well made, durable, and dries quickly when wet, making it a great lightweight choice for a simple summer shoe that can handle a lot of scenarios.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Flip Flop Sandals For Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Rainbow was a flip-flop we found ourselves reaching for again and again. The soft finished leather is both attractive and comfortable, and the footbed provided enough cushion and decent arch support. Even after being completely soaking wet this sandal dried quickly and efficiently, and the more we wore it, the better it felt. An easy shoe to dress up or dress down, we think the Rainbow is a great addition for anyone that wants to add a lightweight and classic-looking flip-flop to their summer wardrobe.
The Rainbow Premier (shown below in blue) wasn't able to beat some of our more contoured and feature-heavy sandals, but it's a comfortable classic that we think almost anyone is bound to enjoy for many years.
The Rainbow Premier offers a classic shape and style that is easily comfortable for a wide spectrum of people. While overly contoured footbeds and wide straps can be very comfortable for many, there's something to be said for a well-made, simple design. This flip-flop has just enough cushion and arch support to appeal to a lot of foot shapes without running the risk of chaffing or hurting. Rainbow's sizing system is a bit strange though, so it's easy to end up with a shoe that's not the perfect length. For example, the Rainbow size for a woman's 8.5-9.5 foot is X-Large (yes, you read that right). Our main tester wore an 8.5, so we ordered the X-Large, and the footbed was a bit too long. This made for zero issues with breaking in though because no part of the sandal was tight or constricting. But if you prefer a snug fit and are on the low end of Rainbow's size brackets, we suggest sizing down. All in all, we found this flip to be soft, supple, super cozy, and an easy go-to.
For an even plusher and well-cushioned flip-flop, be sure to read about our most comfortable model, the OluKai Ohana. And if you're looking for more structure and contouring, both our Editors' Choice, the Birkenstock Gizeh, and the Vionic Tide II are stellar shoes. We also loved the wide, supple straps and smooth footbed of our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures, the OluKai Lala.
Support & Stability
As much as we enjoyed this shoe, we simply couldn't score it very high in this category because it has a relatively flat and minimal design. There's nothing wrong with this, as many people don't want a lot of contouring or structure with a flip-flop. If you prefer a moderate, non-aggressive arch support and an uncomplicated fit, this is a great choice. If you need more support and integrity, then you may want to look to a more heavily featured model like our Editors' Choice and most supportive shoe, the Birkenstock Gizeh. The Vionic Tide II was also highly supportive, having very pronounced arches thanks to built-in orthotics.
The Rainbow Premier is well-made and meant to last a good number of years. However it is made from foam and thin rubber, and has narrow straps; thus, it's certainly not like the thicker rubber and webbing straps of the Chaco Flip EcoTread, the thick leather and cork of the Gizeh, or the burlier and sportier design of the Ohana. If you plan to be walking for miles or scrambling around on rocks every day, then this maybe shouldn't be your number one choice. But if you plan just to be a normal person in warm weather shoes, then the Rainbow could be your best friend.
If you love the look of this sandal but are concerned with the minimal design, consider spending a mere $4 more and getting the double thick sole, or spending zero dollars more and choosing the wider straps. Both of these options will undoubtedly increase the lifespan of your flip.
This flip was one of our two top performers for this category. The Rainbow doesn't resist water so much as absorb it, but it still dried incredibly fast when put to the test of being fully submerged in a river. Within 20 minutes the whole shoe was dry; the only other sandal to perform this well was the Reef Leather Uptown, which also dried in 20 minutes after full submersion. The other component that made both of these shoes so successful with water was their ability to wick any present water away from the surface - even when the shoes were damp, they felt pleasant and secure to walk in. Some other models, though perhaps more resistant to the water, would feel slippery and slimy until the water evaporated. Other impressive performers for this metric were the Vionic Tide II, OluKai Lala, and Chaco EcoTread - all of which had footbeds that dried within minutes and straps that took around a half hour to dry.
Just like with the support and stability metric, the Rainbow performed well in this category for what it is, but couldn't out-compete beefier more featured models. It is what it is - this is a great flip-flop, but it's simply not made for super advanced terrain. And that's okay! If you plan to fjord rivers or free-solo boulders, you might want a sandal with a heel strap and toe coverage, or at least something more like our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the Merrell Around Town. The Vionic Tide II is also a viable option for burly traction in a flip-flop. However, with regular everyday use, we found both the bottom sole and footbed traction of the Rainbow Premier to be more than adequate.
We polled a group of women to help us rate our tested flips in this department, and the Rainbow Premier ended up in the bottom third. It's certainly not an unattractive shoe, but its simple and humble look just wasn't quite enough to pull it into the top. For a similar design that our style raters found a bit more fashionable, check out the Reef Leather Uptown. The hands-down winner in this category was the OluKai Lala, our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures. Other fashionista favorites were the Birkenstock Gizeh and our Best Buy winner, the Teva Olowahu.
This classic-looking flip-flop is best suited for casual summer adventures where comfort and the ability to deal with water are priorities, but that maybe don't require a ton of support or traction. The Rainbow has an understated style that can easily be dressed up or down, and it wears beautifully, becoming more comfortable and personalized the longer you wear it. For languid summer evenings, strolls on the beach, or a comfortable post-workout shoe, this is a solid choice.
This flip-flop sells for $52. If you want the double layered sole, it's $56. An investment to be sure, but a small and worthwhile one, depending on your needs. Rainbow makes high-quality shoes that are known to last, and though this particular model is thinner and daintier, it's still noticeably well made. For a no-nonsense sandal that you can love for many seasons, this is a great option.
We found the Rainbow Premier to be a comfortable and approachable sandal that wears well and dries quickly after being wet. It's not fancy or burly, but it's comfortable, relatively affordable, and provides decent traction for low-key everyday use. This is the kind of flip-flop you pick for easy walks and summer hangouts, and it's the kind of flip-flop that may very well become one of your most beloved warm weather accessories.
— Penney Garrett
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Most recent review: July 12, 2017