Stilts are poles, posts or pillars used to allow a person or structure to stand at a height above
Walking stilts are poles equipped with steps for the feet to stand on, and straps to attach
them to the legs, for the purpose of walking while elevated above a normal height. In flood
plains, and on beaches or unstable ground, buildings are often constructed on stilts to protect
them from damage by water, waves or shifting soil or sand. Stilts have been used for many
hundreds of years.
Hand-held stilts are common childhood toys that typically come in two varieties: string and
pole. Unlike other forms of stilts, hand-held stilts are not tied or strapped to the wearer.
Hand-held pole stilts consist of two long poles, each with a foot support. The stilter holds on
to the upper end of the pole and rests his feet on the foot plates.
Hand-held string stilts (also known as tin can stilts) are platforms with strings attached to
them. The platforms, most commonly made of tin cans, hold the stilter's weight while the
strings are used to pull the cans to the feet as the stilter takes a step.
Peg stilts, also known as Chinese stilts, are the most common stilts used by professional
performers. These stilts strap on at the foot, ankle, and knee and give the walker great
versatility. These lightweight stilts allow one to walk quickly, to turn suddenly, and even to
jump rope or dance. The walker must keep moving at all times to keep himself from falling
Drywall stilts allow the possibility of standing still or walking. They take their name from
their use in drywall construction, but they are also used by painters, actors, and magicians.
Drywall stilts are heavier than peg stilts and made for slower but safer walking and working.
They are the safest of all stilts.
Spring stilts are spring-loaded stilts that allow the user to run, jump and perform various
acrobatics. Spring stilts using fiberglass leaf springs were introduced in 2004 under the
trademark "Poweriser", marketed for recreational and extreme sports use. Using these stilts
is also called Powerbocking. Spring stilts using steel coil springs, an antecedent of the pogo
stick, were attempted in the 19th century.
History of stiltwalking
Archaeological ruins and texts show that stiltwalking was practised in ancient Greece as far
back as the 6th century BC. The ancient Greek word for a stilwalker was κωλοβαθριστής
(kōlobathristēs), from κωλόβαθρον (kōlobathron), "stilt",a compound of κῶλον
(kōlon), "limb" + βάθρον (bathron), "base, pedestal".
Sylvain Dornon, the stilt walker of Landes, started from Paris on the 12th of March 1891 for
Moscow, which he reached after a journey of fifty-eight days. Although this long journey
upon stilts was a curiosity, not only to the Russians, to whom this sort of locomotion was
unknown, but also to many Frenchmen, walking on stilts was common before the 1870s in
parts of France.
Today, stilt walking tends to be undertaken often but not solely as an entertainment for