People who aren’t from California might not understand our obsession with flip flops. We love our flip flops. We wear them everywhere and devote ourselves to our favorite brands with fervor other parts of the country save for Nascar or, I don’t know, reading books.
Our family’s flip flop is the Rainbow Sandal, and if you haven’t made the trip with your kids to the outlet, you are missing out on a slice of Orange County history and 25% off all sandals in stock. Simple and comfortable; these sandals last…and last…and last.
Rainbows have been around since 1974 when a surfer named “Sparky” started making them out of his garage in Laguna. I’m sure no one really took “Sparky” and his whole “Flip Flop business idea” seriously back in ’74. But, now they make over 1,000 Rainbows a day behind their San Clemente Outlet and the brand is recognized as one of the leading manufactures of the flip flop.
A trip to the outlet is an annual activity for my family. Each kid gets to pick out two pair of Rainbows–which will be worn almost exclusively all summer. “Where are my Rainbows?” is a question I hear at LEAST three or four times a day in the summer–and to which I always reply, “Exactly where you left them.” A mandatory deep sigh follows with optional eye roll.
Spending time at the outlet is just as much an event as getting the flip flops. They offer free popcorn and stickers to the kids and have three ginormous Rainbow Sandals in front for the kids to sign and make jokes about the size of their Dad’s feet (but maybe that’s just our family since Larry sports a size 16).
One of my favorite things about the outlet is the old, thrashed flip flops they’ve displayed on the beach-shack-like walls; most with handwritten letters detailing where those sandals have been in their lives. It’s like a flip flop museum really, and, again, that is something maybe only a Californian can appreciate.
Rainbow Outlet is open to the public during the summer M-F 8-5 and Sat 10-4:30.
It’s located 326 Calle de los Molinos in San Clemente (at the Denny’s exit).
If you are one of my out-of-state readers, I will take you here when you come visit.
This was written for my blog MomCrush at the OC Register.