Stilts Use and Maint FAQs
Read PegStilts.com's most frequently asked questions about how to place a Peg Stilt order, peg stilt maintenance information, and how to use your Peg Stilts below:
There are downloadable instructions for a number of topics below, please click on the topic of interest:
Stilts Use & Maintenance FAQs (click here)
Stilt Walking and Falling Information (click here)
Stilt Walking Levels Sheet (click here)
Shoe Attachment Instructions (click here)
Rubber Tip Replacement Instructions (click here)
Tire Tread Replacement Instructions (click here)
Friction Kit Installation Instructions (click here)
Fire Dancing on Stilts Safety Information (click here)
*The 1 foot height is available in kids size only.
Strap-on stilts are generally okay for coordinated kids age 8+ when provided with appropriate guidance and spotting.
It is important to choose a height that one can learn on and not have fear be prohibitive to the learning process.
You will find that if you start on lower stilts and work up to taller that the learning curve will be much faster and less full of anxiety or fear.
You can always work up to a taller pair of stilts later when you are more comfortable.
Things to think about when selecting the height:
Have you ever tried walking on stilts?
What is the maximum height of stilts that you've walked on?
How comfortable were you?
How are you going to be using the stilts?
Where are you going to be using the stilts (what environment and surface)?
How high are the ceilings/trees in the spaces where you will be stilt walking?
Are there lights, ventilation ducts, or ceiling fans that you need to avoid?
Will there be other people around (audience or performers)?
Will you need to interact with the public?
Will you be able to reach the people you are interacting with for high fives, photos, and/or promotional material distribution?
The taller you are, the more space you will need.
You will need to maneuver around door jams, lights, ceiling fans, ventilation ducts, trees, signs, wires, etc
The taller you are, the harder it is to interact with people on the ground (like passing out fliers, or playing with little kids).
The taller you are, the harder you hit and the more potential you have for injury.
If you're working on a stage, around other performers or props stilt height will need to be considered and spacial awareness observed.
You'll generally need to upgrade to way more expensive metal stilts in order to get height adjustable stilts, however even most metal peg stilts are not height adjustable.
Deconstruction or alteration of peg stilts can result in a compromise in their stability, structural integrity, and strength.
Any deconstruction or alterations void any warranty or guarantee of craftsmanship.
I would be happy to build you custom stilts for an additional cost.
If you're interested in further information about custom stilt options, please use the Contact Page.
If the primary user is over 5'3" tall, then the Adult sized stilts are recommended.
NOTE: If you are right at 5'3" feet in height, measure your leg from the bottom of your foot to the bottom of your kneecap.
People often have different leg versus torso ratios.
PegStilts.com stilts are built to fit many people of various sizes, where the straps hit on the leg will vary based on the height of the user.
Getting your stilts on, strapped tightly, and with correct foot placement might take you a couple of tries, even if you have stilt walked before.
Each person has a different body, each body is a different size and has a different center of balance, also each manufacturer of stilts has a different design.
PUTTING ON YOUR STILTS:
You'll want the wood leg brace to be lined up with the outside of your legs.
Line up the front of the leg brace with the front of your low leg/shin (just above the bend for your foot).
You do not need to weave the straps back and forth through the strap hardware.
Instead put the strap in empty hole of the plastic hardware and then velcro the strap back to itself (the stilts are shipped with straps set this way)
Tighten the knee and toe straps as tight as you can tolerate.
The straps need to be tight in order for the stilts to integrate to your body alignment and to feel secure to your body.
You do NOT want your ankle strap too tight or it will pull your heel and leg out sideways and may give you unnecessary cramping and pain.
If you feel like you're walking a lot in your knees (they want to bend) then try sliding your foot forward on the foot plate (the part you stand on).
You could also buy/make a Shoe Friction Kit if you don't want to or can't attach your shoes to your stilts.
Most shoes/feet work fine in the straps that come on the stilts, while others don't.
If you're teaching a workshop, constantly fixing straps is distracting.
PROS OF ATTACHING SHOES:
Security and Stability - You will notice a huge difference in the amount of physical work you need to do when you attach your shoes, you'll feel like you can lift more with your whole foot and leg, also any drops to the ground would not require re-placement of the foot or any toe strap adjustments.
CONS OF ATTACHING SHOES:
Can't share your stilts with your friends unless they have the same size feet.
When you put your stilts on you'll need a place to leave your street shoes, so that later when you take your stilts off you can put them back on.
This can be an issue in parades and marches, where you don't always end up circling back to where you started.
It is just something to think about ahead of time, you will either need to go back to get them (barefooted or go back on your stilts), have carried them with you during the parade, or have arranged transport for them to arrive at the end.
If you ARE going to attach your shoes:
Wear your stilts around a bit making sure you are comfortable with your foot placement.
Some people balance more in the front of their bodies, some more in the back, so moving your foot forward or backward as little as a 1/4" can make a big difference in your balance point and how stable you feel on the stilts, especially tall ones.
Be sure to use tie on or velcro shoes/sneakers (shoes that won't slide off your feet, are closed toe, and have a heel cup.
You want to choose shoes that is gonna stay on your feet and not allow them to slide out or move around!
HOW TO ATTACH YOUR SHOES:
You can find downloadable instructions for Attaching your shoes to the stilts here:
Even if you've been walking on stilts for 10 years or can do incredibly amazing things.
Additional safety equipment that you might find useful are:
Wrist guards, elbow pads, bike helmet, and a gymnastics mat for practicing falling down properly.
See this FAQ for How to fall down on Peg Stilts and other Safety related information:
Just unscrew it to remove it and be sure to keep the parts in case you change your mind!
PegStilts.com stilts are built to fit many people of varying sizes.
Where the straps hit on the leg will vary based on the height of the user.
DO NOT STORE YOUR STILTS IN THE DIRECT SUN OR IN WET/MOIST CONDITIONS
Check your tread on the bottom of the stilt peg every couple of months. Your tread should last a good couple of years depending on your frequency of use, what surfaces you walk on, and what types of "tricks" you do while your stilt walking.
Example: If you walk regularly on hot asphalt and spend lots of time spinning then you will need to change your tread out more often.
Store the stilts indoors in a cool, dry environment, away from heat sources, furnaces, and fireplaces. Direct heat can cause the wood to dry out and crack. Do not expose to wet weather conditions.
Inspect the stilts regularly, especially the peg bottoms. If the tire tread wears down enough to expose the wood then the tread needs to be replaced immediately.
You can find information about replacing the tread in this list of FAQs.
Avoid water at all cost!
Water is worse than banana peels to stilt walkers (really!), especially on smooth or polished surfaces!
Other surfaces to be aware of are:
gravel or small pebbles
extra tall grass
gopher/mole holes in fields/yards
squishy surfaces like mats
Basically water is not your friend, neither are pebbles or holes, and bubbles on smooth surfaces will take you out in a heartbeat.
DANGER: If you notice that your stilt tread is wearing down, it should be replaced ASAP
You should NEVER walk on bare wood stilts, especially on hard smooth surfaces.
How long will the Stilt tread last?
Your tread should last you 6 months to a year depending on how often you stilt walk, what kind of surfaces you walk on, and what tricks you do while you are stilt walking.
For example: Turning pirouettes (spinning) on hot asphalt everyday is going to wear down your stilt tread faster than walking in grass occasionally would.
Also the tread on the stilts doesn't like sharp loose gravel, not many stilt walkers walk on this anyway because it's like walking on marbles, but none the less, the loose sharp gravel tears up the tread/tips so keep some replacement tips on hand.
What do I do if my Stilt tread is worn down?
You can order some from PegStilts.com
You can go to any local bike repair shop and they will often give you an old mountain bike tire, usually for FREE
You can find downloadable instructions for installing the tire tread here:
(Unfortunately you'll have to copy/paste the link from here as links are not allowed in the FAQs)
It is common to get fatigued and have some pain in your legs after performing and stilt walking, unfortunately it is the nature of walking on stilts, they are heavy and reduce circulation in your legs, and they use different muscles in your legs and hips than what you usually use.
It takes a while for your body to get used to it (depending on how active you are and how often you use your stilts) but over time you will notice that it is not so hard on your body or as tiring, and that you can do it for longer and longer periods of time.
Do not remove the straps from the stilts, this may compromise the integrity and security of the design if not put back together properly, and this could be dangerous.
I've seen some people decorate their stilts with duct tape or electrical tape, it does look great and is really easy to do however, if you're stilts were to ever be damaged in any way, it would be harder to see the damage if it were covered by tape and you could miss a crack or a compromise in the structure.
Also duct tape gets really sticky in heat and over time.
Are you going to be doing Fire Dancing on Stilts OR be on stilts near others with fire???
Have you heard of a term called "Stove Piping"?
There may be another name for it but that is what I know it as.
It happens with stilts and fire....The fire goes into the stilt pants leg and catches you on fire from the inside of the pants where no one can see it including fire safeties! You often don't know you're on fire until its hot enough that its already burning you.
I would encourage you to cinch the bottom of your stilt pants if you do fire and stilts so that it doesn't happen.
For Peg Stilts, a rubber band is an easy solution (but you have to have a friend help you since you don't have go go gadget extendo arms LOL) Adding a button or velcro at the bottom could also work.
It happens because of the air/fumes can get trapped inside the pants and because of all the little threads, and of course depending on the fabrics in your costumes as well.
Always try to use natural fiber clothing when fire dancing, otherwise your costumes could melt to your skin! If you "have" to wear non natural fiber costumes, then try to wear a base layer of natural fibers and that can help protect you.
IF one were to catch on fire from the inside of the pants, it is IMPERATIVE that the safeties extinguish the flames starting at the top of the leg and pushing air/flames out of pants by going down the leg, otherwise the fire goes up into the shirt/torso/face!
Remember "Stop Drop and Roll" as well as it may be needed!