Michael Sandler Visit and Workshop – Barefoot Walking Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
We're big fans of Michael Sandler at Soft Star. We met the barefoot guru and his wife, Jessica Lee, shortly after they released their first book, Barefoot Running, in 2011. Several members of our staff befriended the happy couple after attending one of their touring workshops, and they visited our Soft Star workshop the next day. Michael's interest in a running shoe with a flexible leather sole led him to become one of our shoe testers, which eventually resulted in the introduction of the tough leather sole we now offer for Design-Your-Own RunAmocs and Merry Jane Metros.
Michael and Jessica have stayed very busy since then. They continuously tour the country offering barefoot workshops and sharing their knowledge with the world. Last summer they released their first DVD, Barefoot Running, the Movie. Never ones to sit idly by, they have followed up the success of that movie with a new book titled Barefoot Walking, which became available for sale earlier this month.
Michael has hit the tour road again, this time teaching techniques for healthy walking that will strengthen your feet and connect you with the earth. When we learned that he had scheduled workshops in western Oregon, we called him up and asked if he could present his class to our staff at Soft Star. He happily obliged and met us earlier this week.
We have a lot of fun with Michael, and we always find something new to learn from him. This time was no exception. He had plenty of insight about the importance of staying connected to the earth and introduced us to fun exercises showing how much of a difference changing your footstrike can have on your whole body. He also demonstrated a variety of walking techniques for various needs and explained how conventional shoes with motion-control support can force feet into unnatural movement that welcomes a world of foot, leg and back injuries (at this point in his workshop, he usually looks for a conventional shoe from the audience to make fun of, but we're proud to say he couldn't find a good example from our staff).
We fit quite a bit into our one-hour class, but we still only scratched the surface of Michael's wealth of knowledge. Fortunately, he left us a couple copies of his book, which delves into great detail about all of the topics he discusses… and much more.
He also autographed one copy for a free GIVEAWAY! See below for details.
Barefoot Walking Book Review
Barefoot Walking is a very thorough, almost encyclopedic collection of stories, advice and exercises that goes well beyond Michael Sandler's previous publications. The book opens with Michael's argument for why natural foot function and connection to the earth will lead to improved health and movement for all bodies. Insightful images and diagrams show how unnatural footwear can maim feet and lead to a multitude of health issues, but a positive attitude asserts that there is hope for everyone because you already have what you need for strong feet and a strong body. One of my favorite chapters, titled "Excuses Be Gone!" confronts any excuse you may invent for thinking that going barefoot isn't for you. These range from "I have flat feed and need support" and "That looks painful" to "I'm too heavy" and "I'm pregnant."
From there, the book turns to the mechanics of walking barefoot. This involves evaluating your form, tips for good posture and a schedule for transitioning slowly without injury. Several walking methods are suggested, depending on your specific needs, and each is accompanied by detailed images of every movement involved. My personal favorite is the stealthy Ninja Step, because I've long been self-conscious about how much noise my steps make when I walk.
For anyone concerned about weak feet, the comprehensive exercises and relaxation techniques Michael offers will provide you with no shortage of options. There are stretches, massages, cross-training ideas, balancing techniques and even fun games to help you get into shape (playing hot potato with your feet looks fun, but slackline-walking looks awesome). Injury prevention and concern for aches and pains for all parts of the body are also addressed. Solutions are provided for just about any walking-related malady you can dream up, including stubbed toes, leg-length discrepancies and side stitches.
Michael's concern isn't just for athletes, but for all people and all ages. One chapter looks into the importance of healthy foot development for children, while another explains how seniors can also benefit from these techniques. When you're ready to take it up a notch, he gives his advice for dealing with extremes of heat, cold, trails and hills. And even though he spends more time walking barefoot than most people spend walking in shoes, he does admit that there are times when shoes are necessary, either because conditions are too extreme or because it is socially required. For those times, he has recommendations for qualities to look for in a shoe that will still allow healthy, natural foot function.
Like Michael's other book and the workshops he teaches, everything is presented in a simple and fun way. If you ever get the chance to meet him in person, you'll see right away that he keeps a light, positive attitude through thick and thin, and that attitude is conveyed through his writing. Chapters are short, but thorough and concise. Complex ideas are broken down and explained so that anyone can understand them with ease. And Michael speaks from the heart, adding a personal touch and stories of his own experiences so that you feel like he's talking to you one-on-one as you read.
Barefoot Walking covers every concern or question a barefoot skeptic can raise, but it also gives valuable information that barefoot enthusiasts have never come across in books that focus on running. Even if you aren't interested in going barefoot all the time, Michael's advice will provide simple solutions for preventing and treating the pain that so many people suffer from walking with poor form. There is truly something for everyone, and I'm happy to recommend it to anyone looking to improve the level of heath and happiness to be found in life.
For more information on Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee, or to see when their workshops are coming to your town, check out Runbare.com.
Win a Free Autographed Copy of Barefoot Walking!
We have one copy of Barefoot Walking that we're ready to give away. And as a special treat, this copy was autographed by Michael Sandler when he visited our workshop. Enter below for a chance to win!
- ►September 2015 (3)
- ►August 2015 (5)
- ►July 2015 (5)
- Top 10 Balance Games for Kids... of All Ages!
- Time to Play! Elves Have Fun and Get Creative at Spring 2015 Playday
- Snazzy New Colors for Buttercups and Ballerines
- GIVEAWAY: Diapers, Blocks and Shoes... Oh My! Enter to Win Our New Baby Prize Package
- Soft Star Style Bulletin: Chukkas Are Coming!
- We're Staging a Flip-Flop Intervention!
- ►May 2015 (4)
- Work Hard, Play Harder…Run Hardest?
- Transitioning to Barefoot Health PLUS RunAmoc Giveaway!
- UFC Champion Carlos Condit Tries Soft Star Shoes
- Mom and Career Elf
- Earth Day Giveaway: Celebrate Your Favorite Planet with Sustainable Goodies!
- Every Day is Bike-to-Work Day
- Happy National Pet Day! Can You Guess Which Pets Belong to Our Elves?
- ►March 2015 (6)
- ►February 2015 (2)
- ►January 2015 (5)
- ►December 2014 (5)
- Introducing One of a Kind Shoes - Same Day Shipping with No Design-Your-Own Fees
- More Than Meets the Eye: Tim's Handmade Transformers Shoes
- Help Families in Need by Sharing What Makes you Thankful!
- Travel GIVEAWAY: Win a Free Pair of Rogue Shoes + a Travel Bag from RAGGEDedge Gear!
- Shopping Online? Finding Your Shoe Size Just Got Faster, Easier and More Accurate!
- 22-Year-Old Leather Moccasins Still Looking Good!
- Show Us Your BEST Soft Star Halloween Costume!
- Mindful Running Interview with Barefoot Guru Michael Sandler
- Show Your Team Colors! Tim's Special OSU Beaver Football Shoes
- Treatment and Removal of Plantar Warts - Kids' Foot Health
- Introducing SUPER SWATCHES for Local Soft Star Customers
- The History of Tassels—Fitting Tassels Now Available on the Soft Star Website
- Time for Our HALLOWEEN CONTEST: Win Handmade Shoes to Match Your Costume!
- BIG NEWS: Soft Star's New Website and New Shoe Visualizer
- "Boss of the Moss" Mick Dodge Wears Soft Star Shoes on National Geographic Series
- Need Spectacular Shoes for Fall? Introducing Autumn Moccasins!
- BATTLE FOR THE INTERNET: Help Small Businesses by Speaking Up for Net Neutrality
- ►August 2014 (3)
- ►July 2014 (4)
- ►June 2014 (3)
- ►May 2014 (5)
- ►April 2014 (3)
- ►March 2014 (3)
- ►February 2014 (3)
- ►January 2014 (2)
- ►December 2013 (6)
- Happy Thanksgiving! Holiday Shopping Tips and Ideas from the Elves
- GIVEAWAY! One-of-a-Kind Green Merry Mocs
- 2013 Holiday Shipping for Soft Star Shoes
- Tips for Choosing Minimalist Boots and Winter Shoes
- GIVEAWAY: Win a Free Pair of Very Unique Merry Mocs!
- We Have a Winner for Our Halloween Costume Contest!
- Help Us Pick a New Leather Color
- Shoe Artisans Share New Ideas at the Soft Star Workshop
- Heartfelt Obituary for Red Dash
- Monkeys and Elves Unite! Soft Star Teams Up with Luna Sandals
- Soft Star Halloween Costume Photo Contest… and a Secret from the Elves
- Knee Arthritis? Change Your Shoes for Prevention and Treatment
- We Have a Sweepstakes Winner! And More to Come...
- ►September 2013 (5)
- ►August 2013 (5)
- ►July 2013 (5)
- ►June 2013 (4)
- Should Trail Shoes Be Thicker Than Street Shoes? Maybe Not...
- Soft Star Survey: Receive a Free $5 Gift Card and a Chance to Win $100 Cash!
- Elves Getting Dirty! Soft Star Volunteers at SAGE Community Gardens
- First Sneak Peek at the New Soft Star Ballet Flat!
- Maker's Wild Documentary: Go Behind the Scenes at Soft Star Shoes
- Are High Heels Giving You Hammer Toes? Tips for Prevention and Treatment
- Intrigued by Barefoot Running? Start this Weekend with International Barefoot Running Day!
- Are Those Shoes Made of Wood?
- Wikler's Quest for Healthy Children's Feet
- Michael Sandler Visit and Workshop – Barefoot Walking Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
- Thinking of Boston
- How Fast Do Children's Feet Grow?
- Barefoot Pioneers: the People Who Taught Us "Barefoot is Best"
- Caballo Blanco's Legacy Lives On: Tom Norwood Returns from Copper Canyon
- Book Review: Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau
- Reinventing the Hammer: OSU Students Bring Their Skills to Soft Star
- An Olympic Thank You! Help Missy Franklin Swim for MS
- The Mighty Arch, Part 2: Strengthen Your Arches to Treat and Prevent Foot Pain
- Running Green: Soft Star Shoes at the Portland Shamrock Run
- Winter Playday at the Soft Star Workshop
- The Mighty Arch, Part 1: A Natural Cure for Plantar Fasciitis?
- ►February 2013 (4)
- ►January 2013 (1)
- ►December 2012 (5)
- A Barefoot Running Book for Kids (Includes Free Lesson in Consumerism) + GIVEAWAY!
- Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey Shoes and Small Business
- Infographic: How to Choose Barefoot Shoes
- Rally 4 Jillie!
- Gifts for Her this Holiday Season - Fitting Tassels
- Sneak Peek at New Shoes for Women and Men - Vote for a Name!
- ►October 2012 (6)
- ►September 2012 (3)
- ►August 2012 (3)
- ►June 2012 (3)
- ►May 2012 (2)
- ►April 2012 (2)
- ►March 2012 (1)
- ►February 2012 (3)
- ►January 2012 (2)
- ►December 2011 (4)
- ►November 2011 (3)
- ►October 2011 (3)
- ►September 2011 (4)
- ►August 2011 (4)
- ►July 2011 (5)
- ►June 2011 (3)
- ►May 2011 (5)
- ►April 2011 (3)
- ►March 2011 (2)
- ►February 2011 (4)
- ►January 2011 (3)
- ►November 2010 (4)
- ►October 2010 (2)
- ►August 2010 (2)
- ►July 2010 (1)
- ►May 2010 (3)
- ►April 2010 (4)
- ►March 2010 (3)
- ►February 2010 (9)
- ►January 2010 (1)
- ►December 2009 (3)
- ►November 2009 (2)
- ►October 2009 (5)
- ►September 2009 (3)
- ►August 2009 (3)
- ►July 2009 (2)
- ►June 2009 (3)
- ►May 2009 (3)
- ►April 2009 (2)
- ►March 2009 (6)
- ►February 2009 (2)
- ►January 2009 (4)
- ►December 2008 (3)
- ►November 2008 (4)
- ►October 2008 (4)
- ►August 2008 (4)
- ►July 2008 (2)
- ►June 2008 (4)
- ►May 2008 (4)
- ►April 2008 (7)
- ►March 2008 (2)
- ►February 2008 (2)
- ►January 2008 (4)
- ►November 2007 (2)
- ►October 2007 (5)
- ►September 2007 (2)
- ►August 2007 (2)
- ►July 2007 (3)
- ►June 2007 (2)
- ►May 2007 (2)
- ►April 2007 (2)
- ►March 2007 (4)
- ►February 2007 (2)
- ►January 2007 (2)
- ►December 2006 (1)
- ►November 2006 (4)
- ►October 2006 (3)
- ►September 2006 (4)
- ►August 2006 (5)
- ►July 2006 (4)
- ►June 2006 (5)