August 21, 2020
Rainbow Sandals Last (Relatively Speaking) Forever
This pair of Rainbow sandals is 11 years old. I know that because I bought them at a surf shop in Pacifica, California, shortly after I moved to San Francisco. I wore them at least 3-5 times per week for more than a decade. On three continents, in, sheesh, ten different countries. They’ve been casual around town shoes. They’ve been bike riding shoes. They’ve been work shoes. They’ve been camp shoes.
I’ve worn Rainbow sandals for about 20 years now. I just replaced the pair you see above with my third ever pair of Rainbows. 20 years, two pairs of sandals. I paid about $50 for the old pair, and just paid about $50 for my new pair. This pair is still somewhat functional, but the soles are worn through. Time for new ones, but I’d say 10 years is pretty dang good.
They’re as simple as it gets. A bit of rubber, some nylon stitching, and leather uppers and straps. Each pair is handmade in California, and they haven’t changed a whole heck of a lot in the decades they’ve been made.
Sure, they’re just sandals. They are far from technical. You can’t climb much in them. I wouldn’t run very far in them. But they’ve been a part of every single warm weather adventure I’ve had for more than two decades. I could be misrembering this, perhaps I coined it myself and I’ve forgotten, but I believe Rainbow used to have a slogan that was: “Workboots for watermen.” Let’s change that to workbooks for waterpeople, but keep the shoes just as they are.
I can’t recommend these highly enough. More brands should be like this. Simple, make one thing, make it very, very well.
• BUY $54
– Justin Housman, Online Editor