The Rainbow Single Layer Premier is an attractive and straightforward 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. Well made, durable, and quick to dry when wet, these are an excellent lightweight choice for a simple summer shoe.
Rainbow Single Layer Premier Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, lightweight, dries quickly
Cons: Odd sizing, minimal support, narrow
Manufacturer: Rainbow Sandals
Compare to Similar Products
Rainbow Single Layer Premier
|Price||$54.00 at REI|
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|$58.09 at Amazon|
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|$60.08 at Amazon||$74.95 at Amazon||$63.94 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Comfortable, lightweight, dries quickly||Attractive, supportive, comfortable, adjustable strap||Excellent traction, built in orthotics, very stable||Ankle strap, water resistant, durable, lightweight||Comfortable, grippy footbed, stable|
|Cons||Odd sizing, minimal support, narrow||Stiff, breaking in takes time||Runs big, arch support can hurt||Contouring by toes is oddly placed, ankle strap can slip||Sportier look, runs a bit big|
|Bottom Line||The Single Layer Premier is a comfortable and attractive flip-flop that breaks in beautifully and dries quickly after getting wet.||The Gizeh is a beautifully unique sandal that provides amazing support and, after breaking in, some of the most personalized comfort a shoe can offer.||The Tide II is a seriously impressive flip-flop with pronounced arch support and excellent traction.||The Rosa is a fantastic choice for anyone that loves both flip-flops and sandals and wants everything together in one shoe.||If you're looking for a durable flip-flop that feels amazing, the Ohana is an all-around great shoe to own.|
|Rating Categories||Rainbow Single Layer Premier||Birkenstock Gizeh||Vionic Tide II||Astral Rosa||OluKai Ohana - Women's|
|Support & Stability (20%)|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Rainbow Single...||Birkenstock Gizeh||Vionic Tide II||Astral Rosa||OluKai Ohana -...|
|Sole material||Rubber clay mix||EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate)||TPR (thermoplastic rubber)||Granite Grip rubber||Non-marking rubber or gum rubber|
|Footbed material||Finished leather on top of foam||Cork lined with suede||EVA||Dual-density EVA||Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed|
|Strap Material||Finished leather||Birko-flor (PVC) lined with fleece||Woven textile fabric and leather with foam lining||Cushioned synthetic leather with knit liner, ankle strap: polyester webbing||Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit|
|Width of Strap (inches)||.5"||Varied: .75"-2" across top of foot, vertical strap starts at .75" and finishes at 1.5" over toe post||1"||Main: .625"-1", add-on webbing strap: .5"||1"|
|Length of size 9 (inches)||10.75" (size X Large)||10.625" (size 39)||10.25" (size 8)||10.5"||10.75"|
|Length of toe box (just above toe post) (inches)||1.625"||1.25"||2" (size 8)||1.75"||1.75"|
|Weight (pair) (ounces)||7.1 oz||13.5 oz||12.8 oz (size 8)||12.7 oz (11.8 oz w/o ankle straps)||13.7 oz|
|Dry time after being fully submerged||Entire shoe dry in 20 min||Damp but very wearable at 26 min, underside of strap over an hour to fully dry||Footbed 4 min, straps only slightly damp after 30 min||Footbed dry to touch at 7 min but damp with weight until 15 min, main straps dry in 22 min, webbing straps damp but good at 30 min||Feels damp but good by 11 min, fully dry in 40 min|
|Unique features||Memory foam footbed that molds to your feet over time||Adjustable strap, contoured footbed that molds to feet||Built-in orthotic||Extra strap converts flip flop into a hikable sandal||ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rainbow is 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 an excellent addition for anyone that wants to add a lightweight and classic-looking flip-flop to their summer wardrobe.
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 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.
Support & Stability
As much as we enjoyed this shoe, we 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 or our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the Astral Rosa. 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 help increase the lifespan of your flip, as well as the comfort factor.
This flip was one of our two top performers in 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 other component that made both of these shoes so successful with water was their ability to wick away all moisture 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, Astral Rosa, and Chaco EcoTread — all of these models have footbeds that dried within minutes and straps that took around a half hour to fully 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 something special like the Astral Rosa which converts from a basic flip to a sandal with an ankle strap. The Vionic Tide II is also a viable option for strong 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. The hands-down winner in this category was the OluKai Lala, our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures. Other fashionista favorites were the Birkenstock Gizeh, OluKai Paniolo, and our Best Stylish Buy on a Tight Budget, 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 $54. If you want the double layered sole, it's $58. An investment to be sure, but a small and worthwhile one, depending on your needs. Though this particular model is thin and dainty, it's still noticeably well made. Rainbow makes high-quality shoes that are known to last, and they offer repairs to help extend their life as long as possible. Your dollars are also going to a company with integrity: when your flips are past the point you enjoy wearing them but still have a bit of life, Rainbow will take them back, repair them, and then donate to the homeless, orphaned, and victims of natural disasters.
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 — it certainly did for us.
— Penney Garrett