Lucky for you, five researchers in Italy wondered the same thing. According to their 2012 study published in the scientific journal PLoS One, yes, humans can run on water—but only under specific conditions.
The Basilisk lizard aka the Jesus Christ lizard is one of the only animals on Earth that run on water. These lizards slap their feet against the water hard enough to create a small air pocket that can keep them afloat for distance of about 15 feet. The Italian researchers figured out how a 5-foot-7, 145 pound human could run on water just like that lizard.
On Earth, the human's legs would have to press down against the water at more than 67 miles per hour which, the researchers explain, is 15 times the force our legs are capable of producing. But if gravity were reduced, and we had bigger feet, we could pull off the Jesus lizard run for seven to eight seconds.
Twenty-two percent of the earth’s gravity is "the maximum gravity at which humans can run on water, when assisted by a small rigid fin,” the researchers wrote. To achieve the same foot-size to leg-length ratio as the Basilisk lizard’s, the fins would have to make a person’s feet about 18 inches long and 6.5 inches wide.
On the Moon
On the moon, where gravity is about 16 percent of the earth’s gravity, wrote the researchers, humans up to 160 pounds could run on water wearing fins.
In a Viral Video
So unless you hitch a ride to the moon, or build an exoskeleton that can whack the water at 67 miles per hour without ripping off your legs, your chances of mimicking the Jesus Christ lizard are small. But that didn’t stop these “Liquid Mountaineers” from trying:
THE BOTTOM LINE: At 22 percent of the earth’s gravity, and on the moon (16 percent of the earth's gravity), humans can run on water with the help of small fins.