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Kallie Szczepanski

Ninja Water-Walking Shoes on Mythbusters

By February 28, 2010

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I've been catching up on some old episodes of the Discovery Channel's show "Mythbusters," and ran across one with a definite Asian historical flair.

In Episode 78, which was all about ninja myths, Mythbuster Adam Savage tried to build a pair of mizugumo - water-walking shoes. The shoes, which work on a similar principal to snowshoes, are made of circles of laced-together wood, and are meant to distribute the wearer's body-weight across a wider surface area. They are named for the insects we call "water-striders" in English.

Mr. Savage took his mizugumo to a pool, took one step, and sank like a stone. As it turns out, this particular design was intended more for crossing muddy paddy fields than for actually walking on water. Some ninja reported also used air-filled bladders as flotation devices. They certainly didn't use Styrofoam pontoons, which was the Mythbuster's second idea.

It seems to me, though, that the easiest way to cross a Japanese castle moat would be to swim.

Photo of Adam Savage by John G. Heller / Getty Images.


March 9, 2010 at 3:02 am
(1) Shane says:

Yes, swimming would be a good plan, unless the moat is dry. I think the bigger problem would be scaling the cobbled castle walls without being seen…

March 10, 2010 at 8:35 am
(2) Kallie says:

Their use of modified farming tools as grappling hooks, etc. was really creative! I guess where there is a will, there’s a way – although of course we don’t have any kind of statistics on how successful ninja attacks were. Maybe it didn’t work particularly well in reality; just well enough to leave this incredible legend behind.

March 28, 2012 at 2:18 am
(3) Zack says:

But legends were born from truth so i reckon that its all true and i would REALLY like to see it!

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