Rainbow Premier Leather Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Attractive, comfortable, affordable
Cons: Breaking in takes time, poor traction
Compare to Similar Products
Rainbow Premier Leather
|Price||$55.99 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$75.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$75.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
$74.95 at Amazon
$19.54 at Amazon
|Pros||Attractive, comfortable, affordable||Comfortable, durable, good in water||Comfortable, versatile, stylish, great arch support||Lightweight, great for hiking||Bargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditions|
|Cons||Breaking in takes time, poor traction||Heavy, a bit pricey||Heavy, expensive||Extra straps can get in the way, pricey||Low arch, not suitable for hiking|
|Bottom Line||After break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic styling||These flip flops are made for the ocean but are capable in any environment||These versatile flops are so comfortable they feel as if they were tailor-made for our feet||Strap these to your feet and forget about them, these have serious staying power||These offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flops|
|Rating Categories||Rainbow Premier Lea...||Olukai Hokua||Olukai Ohana||Astral Filipe||NeedBo NDB|
|Specs||Rainbow Premier Lea...||Olukai Hokua||Olukai Ohana||Astral Filipe||NeedBo NDB|
|Sole Material||Non-slip rainbow bottom||Gum rubber||Gum rubber||Rubber||Rubber|
|Footbed Material||Nubuck leather||ICEVA||ICEVA||EVA||EVA|
|Strap Material||Nubuck leather||Leather||Synthetic||Polyester webbing||EVA|
|Weight (per pair)||13.1 oz||19 oz||17 oz||14 oz||10.5 oz|
|Available Sizes||Small - XXXL||7 - 15||7 - 18||8-13||6.5-17|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Rainbow is a company based in Southern California, and its signature flop is designed mainly for the beachgoer and surfer types among us. People that love these sandals really love them, and many refuse to branch out to any other brand. They feature a classic finished leather footbed, a comfy, unobtrusive nylon toe piece, and a double-stitched leather strap. They are stylish and comfortable after the break-in period, and the fact that many people wear them for decades speaks to their excellent durability.
The Rainbow flops are notorious for their break-in period, and our experience was no different. Straight out of the box, they aren't uncomfortable, though they are just a bit awkward. The footbed is completely flat, and the straps tend to lay flat, too, so you can't just slide your feet in right away. It's worth noting that you should pay careful attention to Rainbow's fit guide, as they are available in size ranges rather than individual sizes. For reference, a men's medium (8.5-9.5) fit our size 9.5 tester perfectly. They don't feel too small on the upper end of the range, but we suggest trying on multiple sizes if you're a size 10 or an 8.5 and you have the opportunity.
The comfort after break-in can't be overstated. These flip flops are supremely comfortable, and that initial awkwardness is necessary to let your foot do the work of molding them to what you specifically need. A few months of testing in, and these rarely left our feet. The leather footbed is ultra-smooth and perfectly shapes to the foot. Our feet practically cry for the smooth, cool footbed surface when we're limping home after a long day of work or a big hike in stuffy boots.
While a few of our testers find the ergonomics of the Rainbow to be perfectly adequate, some feel that the arch support is a bit lacking. Objectively, when compared to some other flip flops in this review, the arch support is quite a bit less substantial and pliable. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering everyone's feet are significantly different. We would say, if you require substantial arch support or feel that is something you want out of the box, then Rainbow might not be the best choice.
The arch does develop over time as the pressure points break-in, and our main tester found these to be among the most comfortable he has tested. However, these may leave you feeling sore after a long day standing on a concrete floor, so if your job allows you the luxury of wearing flip flops or you find yourself wandering the streets of some foreign city for miles, seeking out a more supportive model is advisable. Rainbow does also offer a double-thick sole if you know you want more cushion underfoot.
Traction is a metric where the Rainbow takes a big hit. Its lightly treaded sole wears quickly and doesn't perform on steeper, loose terrain as well as some of the others in our fleet.
We slid around on steep dirt trails, and the tread material did not want to stick to the bare granite slabs that many of us, as outdoor adventure-lovers, find ourselves walking around on. That said, these flip flops are perfectly adequate for the everyday beachgoer and offer some decent wet surface traction to boot.
The Rainbow doesn't earn the highest score for versatility due to its lack of performance on rocky trails and bare rock. That aside, they perform well in most other situations, such as trips to the beach and the bar, barbeques, and social occasions. However, they may not be the best option for dressing up and pushing the social acceptance of flip flops at high-brow occasions, as they ooze a casual, relaxing vibe.
Despite being a leather sandal, these flops also do just fine in the water, and because you won't need to sell a kidney on the black market to afford them, you can really put them through their paces and just replace them a few years down the road. The comfort, style, and durability are all factors that boost the overall versatility of these flip flops as they are just as home at a social gathering as they are standing around the bike shop talking about biking. Additionally, they're fairly lightweight and less noticeable when stuffed inside a backpack or suitcase than heavier, more supportive models.
One thing that keeps people coming back to the Rainbow pair after pair is their signature style. Like a classic car restored with modern conveniences, Rainbow's pair old guard styling with new-age comfort and design know-how. The result is a uniquely stylish flip flop that actually retains a lot of comfort and versatility.
These flips reflect the cool and casual vibe of the surf culture from which they originate. We can't really recommend them enough, and the styling is just icing on the beautifully sandwiched EVA foam cake.
These flops aren't the cheapest in our review, but they are far from the most expensive. They seem to last forever for the modest price point and truly only become more comfortable and form-fitted over time. Indeed, we've had a hard time conjuring up reasons as to why the Rainbow wouldn't be a good value. Style, durability, and comfort in an affordable package. They are significantly more expensive than a pair of cheapo flops you'd buy to keep from getting foot fungus at a public shower, but their overall quality reflects this. Thow in the durability factor and these comfy kicks are an easy choice for one of our coveted awards.
The Rainbow Premier Leather flips are stylish as heck, pairing classic sandwiched foam with a beautiful leather footbed and thong. It's truly no wonder why they have such a cult following, and the price of admission to the Rainbow cult is fairly palatable. If you're tired of cheap flip flops that keep falling apart but don't want to shell out a ton of money for humanity's oldest and most basic type of footwear, we encourage you to grab a pair of these.
— Brian Martin and Matt Bento
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