A Real Spider-Man Could Never Exist, According to Science

Man clinging to the wall like a spider.
Science says a real spider man cannot exist. OrangeDukeProductions / Getty Images

Who hasn’t dreamt of doing everything a spider can? Well, sorry to be bearer of bad news, but it turns out that it’s scientifically impossible for someone to be Spider-Man…and it has everything to do with our stupid bodies.

As everyone knows, Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man is able to leap and bound up walls much like a spider can. It may not be quite as cool as being able to fly, but it’s pretty close. Unfortunately, debbie-downer science has reared its well-informed head and confirmed that climbing a wall like Spider-Man does would be impossible.


A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called “Extreme positive allometry of animal adhesive pads and the size limits of adhesion-based climbing,” (we guess “is it possible to be freaking Spider-Man” wasn’t official-sounding enough) has come to the conclusion that human bodies are simply too big to able to climb walls like Spider-Man. Here’s a quote from the study:

“We’d need about 40 percent of our total body surface, or roughly 80 percent of our front, to be covered in sticky footpads if we wanted to do a convincing Spider-Man impression.” [via: ComicBookResources]

What that means in practical terms is that actual wall-crawling would require either significantly smaller bodies (you know, like a spider’s) or ridiculously large hands and feet. Just how big, you might ask? Our hands would have to be at least 43 inches across (almost 4 feet) and we’d also to have a size 114 shoe for our oversized feet that would make even elephants feel inadequate.

Well gee…that sucks. Guess we can stop trying to force funky-looking spiders to bite us now, huh?