Can Humans Run on Water?


Science time!

How fast would a human have to go to run on water?

This was clearly a burning question for us nerds, so in 1996 Harvard researchers calculated the answer.

First they studied the basilisk lizard and found that it generates upward force via 2 mechanisms. One is the initial slap of the foot against the surface tension of the water, but more actually comes from the downward stroking motion of the foot through the water. THe downstroke? Let’s make that an olympic event.

Next up: Humans. Sorry KFergy but with great size comes greater required downslaps.

They calculated that a 176lb pound runner’s legs would need to hit the water at 67 miles per hour, requiring an average power output of 15 times what most athletes are capable of.

But all is not lost! a later italian study did show that it WOULD be possible for humans wearing flippers to run on water in the moon’s gravity. But it might look ridiculous.


Humans Running in Place on Water at Simulated Reduced Gravity - 2012

A hydrodynamic model of locomotion in the Basilisk Lizard - 1996