KENNEWICK -- Best-selling author Michael Sandler will be at REI in Kennewick on Wednesday to promote the healing benefits of running without shoes.
Barefoot Running has sold more than 10,000 copies nationwide, and Sandler is wrapping up his yearlong tour this week.
"Things have gone fantastically well, to where we're having standing room only at our talks," he said. "Everybody knows somebody now who is giving this a try, or has gotten exited about this."
The event begins at 7:15 p.m. and is free. Space in the store is limited, and REI is asking attendees to register online at www.rei.com/stores/75.
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Sandler hopes to release his new book, Barefoot Walking this fall.
The barefoot trend has been talked about for 25 years, but Sandler said he tried it himself as a way to heal from a skating injury.
In 2006, he fell while trying to dodge a toddler and broke his leg, arm and hip. Doctors told Sandler he never would walk again, much less run.
Despite the odds, he recovered and began exercising again, seeing improvement only when his shoes were off. His website says the act of running barefoot helped him better feel the ground and connect with his own natural form.
He prefers to be barefoot most of the time, even when he is not running. And he carries moccasins with him for situations when shoes are required.
"If I'm going into a restaurant or into a grocery store, I'm not trying to make a statement," he said. "I'm very polite. I'll have a shoe on at that point."
Sandler runs barefoot through snow and mud, but he swears his feet don't look like a hobbit's.
And he doesn't worry about stepping on sharp objects.
"Glass, after the first few weeks, becomes nothing more than a colored pebble," he said. "If we didn't have feet that were able to adapt and become super strong, then we wouldn't survive. We wouldn't be here as a human species."