Can We Finally Talk About Rainbows Again?

Is it me, or did Rainbows fall out of favor about five (or so) years ago?  I can count three pairs that I owned between 2001 and 2010, but didn’t re-up when that third pair needed to be retired.  I moved on to Havaianas, and even bought a pair of Chacos.  Sure, you still saw Rainbows around, but they just weren’t as prevalent as they once were.  There was a short stint where ‘fancy’ sandals became a thing, which has thankfully backed off.

Anyway, the other day I saw a guy walking into High Country wearing a pair of Rainbows.  They were the acceptable single layer Sienna Brown style, and they looked GREAT.  They had just hit that good, broken-in look…the sole probably had about a year’s worth of wear and had darkened significantly, and the straps had a good case of fade out.

That got me thinking…why did Rainbows essentially disappear from the #menswear ethos?  They hadn’t done anything wrong…  My thought is that they were a little too much of the ‘frat’ culture, and hit too fast.  And with most things in that cycle, once everyone has a pair, they move on to the next thing.

They are comfortable, they have a good value proposition, and they patina as good as anything out there.  Some excellent examples:

And don’t forget: they start out like this:

Here’s the thing: I am back on board with Rainbow.  Maybe I’ve come full circle, whatever, but I’m ready to pull the trigger again.  I really dig the American made thing, especially the Birdwell-esque, old school California surf vibe.  After doing a tidbit of research, I found out that they make 2,000,000 pairs of sandals a year.  That is nuts.  Here’s a little history and the back story on the Rainbow Sandals:

Hard not to be a fan after that, right?  And here are some more technical details from Rainbow:

I don’t have any skin in the game with these guys, but I wanted to plant my stake in the ground.  Consider my pair of Sierra Brown single-layers ordered.

Images: Google Image Search



  1. 06/22/2016 / 8:19 AM

    Right there with ya! I started rocking my rainbows again about 6 months ago. Even got a compliment on them last weekend.

  2. William
    06/22/2016 / 8:31 AM

    Coincidentally, I ordered a pair last week. Odd.

  3. Lee
    06/22/2016 / 8:49 AM

    I started wearing my first pair in about 2001. I’ve had 3 pairs since and still have all of them! I love them, I never got into all the other kinds of sandals. They are a great value, look great at the beach, pool or my favorite with jeans. I’m of the mind set that why mess or change a great thing!!!

  4. Nolan
    06/22/2016 / 8:57 AM

    I have some Hari Mari sandals that are amazing! The “Lakes” collection is better than anything Rainbow has made. I do dig the hemp Rainbow’s with the double soul.

  5. Seminole Wind
    06/22/2016 / 9:10 AM

    Had several pair which I haven’t worn as frequently over the past few years. Only after losing my well worn in sierra browns at SGI last month did I realize how much I missed them for walking the dog and running errands during the summer. Picked up a dark brown pair last week. Interested to see how this darker color ages

  6. Fink
    06/22/2016 / 10:24 AM

    I’m a double guy myself. Three pairs. One being reclamation of my dad’s after he passed. Never stopped rocking my ‘Bows!

  7. Seth Tapp
    06/22/2016 / 10:26 AM

    Just recently picked up a new pair, got them home and wore them 2 days straight. Glad to see a post on them from you!

  8. Trip
    06/22/2016 / 10:55 AM

    I’ve had the same pair since senior year of high school (14 years ago now…) and I still wear them. The soles are getting pretty slick, but otherwise they’re in pretty respectable shape. I should probably break down and get another pair, though.

  9. Matt
    06/22/2016 / 3:58 PM

    Loved my RB’s, but they just didn’t support my foot. I’m Sperry flip flops now. Life is slightly tougher for us flat footed folks, but I think we’ll live.

  10. Patrick
    06/22/2016 / 7:29 PM

    Got my first pair back in 99 and I’ve stuck with Rainbows ever since. I’ve tried a few other brands, but have never gotten the same satisfaction as a pair of well worm Rainbows. I literally long for warmer days during the winter so I can or them back into my regular rotation.

  11. kps
    06/23/2016 / 7:00 PM

    Rather than buying new – you can get ’em resoled at your local cobbler…

  12. Gary
    02/28/2019 / 12:17 PM

    I have 3 pairs of rainbows and 4 pairs of Hari Mari. I really wanna like the Hari Maris but there’s just something that’s missing. I have scouts and dunes that have a canvas strap and they stretched way to fast and are unwearable. I also have a pair of lakes that are ok, have a leather strap but the soles are to thick for me. The fields are as close to a rainbow as you can get. I always seem to comeback to my trusty old friends in the end.  Maybe if I would have tried Hari Mari first it would be the other way around. 

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