On the surface, you probably don’t think that thongs have much to do with 4WDing, but dig a bit deeper, and you’ll see that a huge number of Australian’s wear them every day when camping, 4WDing, fishing and travelling in general. Now, I try to keep things pretty relevant on this blog, but today I want to take a little side step today to share with you an Archies Thongs review, because it deserves it.
This is not sponsored, or gifted
I’ll start this review like I always do, and let you know that this is not a sponsored or gifted arrangement, from Archies. We paid full retail price for these (actually my Mum did, for my birthday), and Archies have never approached us to do any review.
I’ve worn heaps of different types of thongs
Over the years, I must have been through about 30 different pairs of thongs. Many were just your generic surf thongs, with some being brand name and others just your cheapest Kmart or Big W option. When you are travelling around Australia, thongs are the staple attire for many, and if you are doing lots of walking or hiking with them they often fail, or wear out.
Most of the time my thongs go in the bin because the heel section gets so thin that you could stand on a pebble and feel it.
I damaged my feet when I was a teenager
I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared this story, but when I was about 16 we were on a family holiday down in Denmark, and we went for a trip out to Greens Pool, and Elephant Rocks.
Being a young teenager I was always keen to climb something, and I found an awesome looking rock on the beach at Elephant Rocks, and began to climb. I was nearly at the top (maybe around 5 – 6 metres) when it started to sprinkle, and with zero grip I slipped, and slid all the way to the bottom where the beach was like concrete.
It was so hard in fact, that you couldn’t see any feet marks where I’d landed, and despite using my knees to absorb a heap of energy I knew I had messed up, big time. I’d never experienced so much pain before, and lay there, screaming.
Long story short, a spotter plane flew past to see where I was, the ranger came out and an ambulance, and they gave me a green whistle to suck on, which immediately makes you feel on top of the world. I went to the Denmark hospital, covered in sand and they diagnosed me with two broken bones in my left foot, and a fractured heel on my right. Under normal circumstances they’d leave both injuries to heal on their own, but they sent me to Albany hospital to see a podiatrist.
He looked at the X-rays, and immediately said you need pins put in, which happened, and I was in a wheel chair for 6 weeks, with my life turned upside down.
Things healed really well, but I was told that the padding on my right foot under the heel would never recover, and that I’d suffer some pain going forward. In actual fact its almost perfect, except when I stand up for a really long time without moving around, and its worse with no footwear (or bad footwear).
Without cruise control I get a sore heel in the car, but largely it doesn’t affect me, and I tend to be a bit more careful on rocks these days.
I recently hurt my heel again
On my birthday, we camped at an amazing spot on the Yorke Peninsula, called Swincer Rocks. I was running down a small hill with no shoes on, and my heel landed square on a sharp rock, which sent some seriously nasty pain up my foot.
To make it worse, I hurt it even more a few hours later when I was hooking the Dmax back onto our Reconn R2, and needed to give the drawbar a bit of a jolt to make it drop down. I kicked it, and hit the corner of the steel in the already injured heel, and let out a yelp.
For a few days after, I was limping around, and even with brand new thongs any rock on the heel would send me yelping and hobbling off.
Getting the Archies thongs
When we arrived in Victor Harbour at a families house, we had some packages waiting (that we’d purchased whilst travelling). One was the Archies thongs, and after unpacking them, I put them on. They feel quite different to normal surf thongs, and whilst it was a bit strange, they felt really good.
However, what surprised me the most was that after about 2 hours of wearing them, all of my heel pain completely disappeared. Even walking on bare feet now, its far more comfortable, and I can only assume that the arch support helps your muscles, and takes some weight off the heel itself.
Why are Archies Thongs good?
Most thongs are flat, and if you have flat feet, its a weird feeling to put shoes or thongs on with arch support. Archies have a great arch in the middle, and make for a really, really comfortable thong.
Their thick and light
You don’t have to look too closely at the Archies Thongs to realise that the heel, and majority of the thong is much thicker than a normal surf thong. This is awesome as it allows for nice cushioning, and you don’t notice rocks that you stand on. Their also nice and light, which is always a good thing.
Tight straps and toe grip
I was surprised at how tight the straps are on the Archies Thongs, and to the point where when wet they actually stretch your toe hairs when you slide your feet in! They’ve also got a weird ridge that runs along the top, which helps keep the thong in place without curling your toes. The toe hair issue has resolved as they’ve sort of stretched, and they are super comfortable to wear now.
Have you ever had a plugger blow out? Thongs often fail when the strap pulls through the bottom, and in many cases its the end of the thong. Whilst I’ve seen some innovative repair options using bread clips, they’re destined for the bin. The Archies thongs are fully moulded, and one piece, which means they’re nice and durable.
Now, I will say that since writing this review my Mum’s Archies thongs actually snapped the main strap between the toes, after more than 12 months of use. They broke here, and didn’t pull through or anything.
No wear in phase
I reckon your favourite thongs are the ones that you’ve had for ages, and that are nicely moulded in. I’ve had some pairs that were absolutely feral to wear initially, and as they stretch and loosen up they get more comfortable. I was really surprised then, to find that I had no weird rub marks, or pains from wearing the Archies all day when I first got them.
They are super comfortable and durable
All of this boils down to the fact that they are just awesome quality thongs. I’ve done several kilometre hikes in these, and whilst you’re probably not meant to, they are easily comfortable, and grippy enough to do so. You’d never see me walking long distances in other thongs in the past, as I knew they’d give me blisters, or I’d slip and hurt myself.
What are the downsides?
Surely there’s no perfect thong, and I will say that it took a while to get used to my big toe hairs getting stretched and pulled when I slid my feet into the thongs (now resolved, as they stretched a bit) . They also have a fairly wide attachment at the front, which separates your big toe from the rest quite a bit, and I did get a few minor pains in my foot arche when I made it arch more than normal, which is probably because of being flat footed from so many years of bad arch support..
Overall, there’s really not much to complain about, which is good.
Small things make a big difference
For $40, I reckon this was a great buy; thanks Mum and Dad. I literally live in my thongs when its warm weather, and having something that is comfortable and probably much better for my feet is hugely appreciated.
If you are up for a new set of thongs, I’d highly recommend you give the Archies a try; they are fantastic.