Foothill Technology High School

Rainbow vs. Birkenstock sandals: Sweeping Foothill’s campus

Birkenstocks. Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Birkenstock sandals strive to create “quality products that are comfortable, unique, timeless and respectful of the world around us.” Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to put away your Uggs and umbrellas and break out your warm-weather sandals. Sandals are the essence of summer and when you think of the season, there is nothing that welcomes summer more than a killer pair of sandals. The competition is on between the two most popular sandals that have swept Foothill’s campus. Just this year, the amount of students wearing Rainbow and Birkenstock sandals have increased among Foothill’s students.

Rainbows are cool. Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
Rainbows sandals offer a unique “Rainbow Guarantee,” a warranty for the lifetime of the shoe.  Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Rainbows were officially established in 1974 in San Clemente, but were originally contemplated when Jay “Sparky” Longley experimented with making sandals in his Laguna Beach garage.

“Sparky” was determined to fulfill his dream of creating the world’s best sandal. After years of trial, error, and dedication, he was able to produce a sandal that “looked good, felt great, and didn’t wear out.”

Rainbows are unlike your typical flip-flops whose strap break after a couple wears. Each pair of Rainbows is created by hand and made with specially formulated glue that keeps the various layers of the shoe intact and the straps in place.Their memory sponge rubber is incredible because it molds to your feet.

Rainbows are also unique because when you buy a pair, you can get the Rainbow Guarantee, which is for the lifetime of the sole.

“The sandals will forever be under warranty until you have worn through anywhere on the top or bottom layer of the sole,” according to the website.

Today, Rainbow sandals make 2,000,000 pairs of sandals per year.

Junior Chloe Yahner prefers Rainbows due to their long-lasting ability and warranty. “I really like Rainbow sandals because they are good quality and I’ve had the same pair for over a year and a half, and they still work great,” Yahner said.

“They are pretty expensive because the warranty pretty much covers mostly everything, so they range anywhere between $45-$55, but it all depends on the models since there are different types of colors and padding you can get under the shoe for more support.”



On the other hand, Birkenstock USA began over 40 years ago when founder Margot Fraser dreamt of “sharing the comfort and health benefits of Birkenstock footwear.”

However, the original Birkenstock contoured footbed was invented and manufactured in 1897 by Konrad Birkenstock in Germany. Today, Birkenstock strives to create products that reflect the core values of the company: “quality products that are comfortable, unique, timeless and respectful of the world around us.”

Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
Birkenstock sandals are made from genuine components: high quality leather, suede and nubuck. Credit: Julie Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Not only does Birkenstock create one of a kind sandals, but all of their products, including sandals, shoes and clogs, come with foot health benefits.

The company starts with the highest-grade leather, suede and nubuck, and the company dyes their materials all the way through for a lasting look.

Birkenstock footwear includes a “contoured footbed, shock-absorbing soles and specially designed buckles for years of comfort and durability.”

Birkenstock claims that almost every component of their shoes can be repaired or replaced, making it a long-lasting investment in the health of buyer’s feet.

Junior Evan Barker describes how Birkenstock shape to his so-called “odd feet,” and unlike other sandals, Birkenstock don’t cause arch pain since they are extremely comfortable and cushiony, and “walking in them feels lovely.”

Barker definitely agrees with the phrase “you get what you pay for.” Birkenstock sandals are pricy, but are made from genuine components, unlike other shoes.

“I don’t think they’re necessarily overpriced because they are quality shoes that are long-lasting,” Barker said.

In a random survey of 45 Foothill students who were asked if they preferred Rainbow or Birkenstock sandals, 28 of those surveyed chose Rainbows, while 17 chose Birkenstock’s. What makes Rainbow and Birkenstock sandals different from other sandal manufacturing companies is that they appeal to both genders, offering a wide variety for each group.



Additionally, they don’t draw a distinct line in saying what is specifically for females or males, although their websites set it up this way for organization purposes and easier access. The next time you’re looking for long-lasting, comfortable sandals, check out Rainbows or Birkenstocks and you’re sure to be satisfied and find a pair that works for you.

-Brooklyne Shepherd