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Rainbow Premier Leather Review

After break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic styling
Rainbow Premier Leather
Photo: Rainbow
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Price:  $54 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Attractive, comfortable, affordable
Cons:  Breaking in takes time, poor traction
Manufacturer:   Rainbow
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 9, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 8
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Style - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Rainbow Premium Leather are fantastic flip flops and truly only get better with age. That's not to say these aren't comfortable out of the box, but they truly shine a few months in. If you've been sucked into the Rainbow cult vortex, you're likely interested in these flips for more than just the comfort; they have a unique but familiar style. They seem unique but also remind us of simpler times with their sandwiched layers of EVA foam and soft leather footbed. If you're on the hunt for a stylish, comfortable, and long-lasting flip flop but don't want to drop a car payment on your footwear, these are a truly great option.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
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$55 List
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$21.99 at Amazon
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Pros Attractive, comfortable, affordableComfortable, durable, good in waterComfortable, versatile, stylish, great arch supportDurable, good arch support, comfortable straps, excellent traction, affordableBargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditions
Cons Breaking in takes time, poor tractionHeavy, a bit priceyHeavy, expensiveHeavy, not stylishLow arch, not suitable for hiking
Bottom Line After break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic stylingThese flip flops are made for the ocean but are capable in any environmentThese versatile flops are so comfortable they feel as if they were tailor-made for our feetWhile these aren't the most stylish, they are durable, comfortable, and affordableThese offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flops
Rating Categories Rainbow Premier Lea... Olukai Hokua Olukai Ohana Teva Katavi 2 Thong NeedBo NDB
Comfort (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Support (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Style (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Specs Rainbow Premier Lea... Olukai Hokua Olukai Ohana Teva Katavi 2 Thong NeedBo NDB
Sole Material Non-slip rainbow bottom Gum rubber Gum rubber Durabrasion Rubber Rubber
Footbed Material Nubuck leather ICEVA ICEVA EVA EVA
Strap Material Nubuck leather Leather Synthetic Suede EVA
Weight (per pair) 13.1 oz 19 oz 17 oz 20 oz 10.5 oz
Available Sizes Small - XXXL 7 - 15 7 - 18 7 - 14 6.5-17
Animal Products? Yes Yes No Yes No

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 are stylish and comfortable after the break-in period, and the fact that many people wear them for decades speaks to their excellent durability.

Performance Comparison


Comfortable, good-looking, and versatile enough to go from the...
Comfortable, good-looking, and versatile enough to go from the backyard party to your next beach vacay. Just go ahead and get a pair or read on if you need more convincing.
Photo: Brian Martin

Comfort


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, like a Highschool couple at their first dance attempting to look normal dancing to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Your feet, much like those Highschool Sweethearts, will develop a symbiotic relationship that will last a lifetime if you're willing to give it a chance.

The comfort after break-in can't really be understated. These flip flops are excellently 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 leave our feet. The leather footbed is ultra-smooth and supportive. Our feet practically cry for the smooth, cool footbed surface when we're limping home after a long day of work.

Enough support and structure to shield your feet from below and an...
Enough support and structure to shield your feet from below and an ultra-comfortable footbed make the Rainbow a very comfortable flip flop (once they're broken in).
Photo: Brian Martin

Support


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 foot is significantly different. We would say, if you require substantial arch support or feel that is something you want out of the box, the 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, though he might have some pretty flat feet.

Out of the box, they're fairly rigid but once they have molded to...
Out of the box, they're fairly rigid but once they have molded to your feet they offer excellent arch support.
Photo: Brian Martin

Traction


Traction is a metric where the Rainbow takes a big hit. Its lightly treaded sole wears quickly and doesn't perform in the mountains 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 being said, these flip flops are perfectly adequate for the everyday beachgoer and offer some decent wet surface traction to boot.

If you are looking for a flip flop that has solid trail hiking...
If you are looking for a flip flop that has solid trail hiking capability, the Rainbow might not be the best choice. That being said, the traction is perfectly adequate for most flip-flop-appropriate activities.
Photo: Brian Martin

Versatility


The Rainbow earns an average score for versatility due to their 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. 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.

Aside from our traction gripes, the overall versatility is quite...
Aside from our traction gripes, the overall versatility is quite good. From chilling by the river to your next backyard wedding, these will get you through in style and comfort.
Photo: Brian Martin

Style


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. We can't really recommend these flip flops enough, and the styling is just icing on the beautifully sandwiched EVA foam cake.

A picture is worth at least several hundred words. These flip flops...
A picture is worth at least several hundred words. These flip flops look good even on our model, sasquatch.
Photo: Brian Martin

Value


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. What else do you need to know?

Conclusion


The Rainbow Premium Leather flips are stylish as heck, pairing classic sandwiched foam with a beautiful leather footbed and thong. There is truly no wonder why they have such a cult following.

While you would probably struggle to find traction heading up the...
While you would probably struggle to find traction heading up the slopes of Mt. Doom, you would look pretty dang good while doing it, even with those hairy Hobbit feet.
Photo: Brian Martin

Brian Martin