Rainbow Sandals has a customer-centered ethos with products designed with comfort, durability and reliability at the forefront. I was impressed by their community involvement as well as their circularity in the Repair, Reuse and Recycling program. They are made to last and prevent the customer from having to regularly replace, as is the case with foam or rubber sandals. However, I believe that the company lacks crucial transparency in their supply chain and reporting that causes skepticism behind the true environmental impact of their products. I question whether Rainbow Sandals has considered non-animal, “vegan” leather alternatives to help make the product more sustainable. Overall, I would recommend Rainbows as a more sustainable alternative to the classic flimsy flip flops.
- Rainbow sandals are primary composed of *nubuck leather* for the straps and top sole, *closed cell memory foam* for the arch support and *synthetic rubber* for the non-slip bottom sole.
- Nubuck leather comes from deer or elk, with the process of raising livestock requiring a lot of energy (food, water & land) and producing significant waste and emissions (methane & manure).
- The leather is treated with dye, which prevents it from being able to naturally biodegrade.
- Rainbow Sandals has a Repair, Reuse, Recycle program that allows customers to return their worn out sandals and receive a 10% discount. This encourages customers to extend the life of their sandals and can create a “closed loop” if returned to the store.
- Sandals are handmade and come in minimalist packaging (only a cardboard hanger), which I appreciate. I never know what to do with the bulky cardboard boxes I get with most shoes.
- The unique extra-strong glue Rainbow uses to cement the sandal components together compromises local air quality and poses a significant public health risk, resulting in outsourcing the majority of sandal production to China and the installation of a scrubbing filter at the US-San Clemente location. I found this particularly concerning, but on the other hand, understand that the glue extends the life of the sandal which makes it a tricky trade-off.
- Rainbow Sandals is a California based footwear and apparel company known for their comfortable and high quality sandals that are made to mold to individual's' feet. The company's goal is the make sandals “for the long ride.”
- Rainbow Sandals have a lifetime warranty for their products. If the sandals are damaged or defective due to manufacturing defects, Rainbow Sandals will repair or replace the product.
- The company regularly donates fresh produce, hot meals and sandals to schools and organizations within Orange County and nationally. The flagship store in San Clemente has a free electric vehicle charging station for customers as well as solar panels at the Corporate Headquarters.
- There is no publicly available information or report regarding their environmental impact. For a company whose founding is eco-centric (to eliminate the broken sandal tragedy) I was disappointed that transparency is not present.
- The company has no sustainability or environmental certifications