Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book review: Barefoot Running: How To Run Light And Free By Getting In Touch With The Earth

In 2006, author Michael Sandler, a former speed skater and cyclist was training for an attempt at the world record for in line skating. According to, he was trying to raise awareness of ADD/ADHD when he was seriously injured in an accident that would change his life forever. He sustained a broken arm, broken hip and shattered femur. Doctors told him we would never be able to walk let alone run again and he defied all the odds. He now runs miles upon miles barefoot.

Sandler along with help from his wife, Jessica Lee provide a comprehensive and valuable guide for readers who are getting started barefoot running in their book: Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth. The beginning of book Sandler tells the story of his accident and how he found barefoot running. He details the differences between running barefoot versus running running in shoes and the history of barefoot running.

Apparently those expensive shoes that all runners pine for aren't as good for their bodies as they claim to be. Sandler explains, "What's seldom mentioned is that these increasingly expensive shoes have done nothing to reduce runner injuries. On the contrary, injuries-to Achilles tendons, tibias, knees and other essential body parts-have been going up over the years along with shoe prices. Just as surprising was a study that showed runners using shoes costing $95 and up had more than twice as many injuries as those wearing shoes costing $40 or less."

Sandler goes onto explain later in the book the specific technique involved with barefoot running. I got a great deal out of the pictures and explanations in this section. I hope they make a DVD, I would buy it in a heart beat. I like how detailed this chapter was in explaining and showing the proper form for the feet as well as the rest of the body. I also liked the section on drills readers can do with their feet. I didn't realize how a simple thing such as picking up items off the floor with your toes/feet can be so beneficial!

The other chapter that was helpful to me was, "Weather or Not, Here I Come." There are specific things you need to do to run in different types of weather. It is best to slowly transition to hot/cold weather. I wish I would have read this before I started trying to run barefoot last fall. I bet I could have avoided the awful blisters and infection in my foot by taking the precautions he suggests for different types of weather.

The rest of the book focuses on everything from tips on running on different types of terrain, injury treatment/prevention and barefoot advice for children and seniors. They also conclude the book discussing minimalist footwear and advice on how to transition into them.

If you are interested in barefoot running you need to buy this book before you get started. It will help those first barefoot steps be great ones! For more on barefoot running check out Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee's website:

1 comment:

  1. Love this. I just finished Born To Run!