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Barefoot and loving it
Michael Sandler was told he would never walk again, but he proved his doctors wrong.
Typically when thinking about going for a run, putting shoes on comes to mind, but for Michael Sandler, he simply walks out his front door barefoot.
“I started barefoot running after a life threatening injury about three and a half years ago, where I had shattered my femur,” Michael, a former speed skater and professional cyclist explained.
A day where Michael thought he was simply going to give his son a speed skating lesson, left him wobbling in crutches being told he was lucky he would be able to keep his leg and would most likely never walk alone again.
But Michael didn’t take this news sitting down. Instead he decided to try despite doctors orders.
“One day watching the future marathon champion come running by me in the other direction… out of frustration I said I you know I want to run like her someday… I took off my shoes and just walked home… and I survived.”
This determination led Michael to research the benefits of barefoot running and came to find that this type of running helps teach people to balance correctly and how to stride more accurately than if they were in sneakers.
Michael even believes he is “healthier, fitter, faster” than he has ever been in his life.
While Michael is convinced barefoot running makes him a stronger and healthier person, Aaron Anderson, a Pedorthist in Boulder believes otherwise. “I don’t agree with it. Do whatever you want. Try and see but I’d suspect a lot of bruising and stress fractures."
Despite what some may believe, Michael decided he would spread the word and created a barefoot running club. Michael recruited a friend, Jessica Lee, to help him start up and organize the club.
“I started barefoot running about three months ago after meeting Michael Sandler and hearing his story of inspiration and healing,” Jessica Lee said.
This club started in July 2009 and has about 150 members. Every Saturday morning these shoeless runners meet at a local park and run through the wilderness feeling like little kids again.
“What’s most enjoyable to me is when people come out here and act like kids again,” Michael said.
Michael has also written a book about his experience with barefoot running and details some of the supposed benefits as well as a how-to guide when getting started. Jessica Lee also has a voice in this book in that they both review the different types of barefoot foot wear that have started to become popular. This book will be in stores early summer 2010.
While the issue on whether or not running without foot wear on is still up for debate, one thing is sure in Michael’s mind, “It’s only because I am running barefoot that I am going to run for the rest of my life.”
• Interested in Joining Michael and Jessica on a Barefoot Run? Go to: Barefoot Running Meetup for locations and times of when they meet to run shoe-less.
• For More Information about Michael and Jessica’s Book, Go to: Runbare.com