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The Lightfooted

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Yes, she's on a glass railing. On an outdoor balcony. On the top floor of a hotel.

"But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf, or over snow—an Elf."

This character stands out for being physically graceful, agile, and light on their feet. Sometimes it seems like they could take off into the air at a moment's notice, and indeed, these characters are frequently associated with Flight or air elemental powers. As they walk, these characters could be prone to perching on things like trees or walking along narrow fences to show off their agility. Some might elevate this to supernatural levels by gliding over surfaces that shouldn't be able to support them at all.

A sister trope to the Lightfooted is the Noiseless Walker. Contrast The Klutz, The Big Guy, and people who move With Catlike Tread.

The Lightfooted is often a Fragile Speedster, although speed isn't necessary to qualify. This is also a necessary feature of Ballet. See also the Phantom Thief, who usually has to be silent and quick in order to be successful. May overlap with the Dance Battler and forms of Waif-Fu. See also Combat Parkour.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Despite using ridiculous numbers of guns in combat, Mami is an elegant individual who never loses her poise, up to and including curtsying at the start of a battle.
  • Ranma : Ranma Saotome is light enough on his feet to walk across the edge of a katana blade. He also can run along the narrow edge of a fence.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake tries to paint himself as such in comparison to Conner Kent when he has Conner dress as Robin to try and convince a villain that the "former" Robin (himself) that she's been sent to kill is dead. Conner later claims Tim was mistaken as Robin is only graceful and handsome when he's playing him.
  • Spider-Man: Every member of the Spider-Man Family is a master acrobat capable of performing every acrobatic feat imaginable, including ones beyond the capabilities of an Olympic-level acrobat. They tend to use this in combination with their reflexes to dodge gunfire and dance around opponents.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians fits this trope and uses his agility for many things, like walking along power lines. Later turns out to be ironic due to his origin story, where he died by cracking the ice and falling into a frozen lake while saving his little sister from the same fate.
  • Aisling from The Secret of Kells always retains her grace, even when she goes down on all fours to move quicker.
  • Inside Out: Joy often skips or bounces around without making a sound. A scene of note is the one where she imitates Riley's ice skating.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In The Hunger Games, Rue is described as a bird on her toes about to take flight. She's also lightweight and able to quickly jump and climb around through the treetops.
    [Rue] stands tilted up on her toes with her arms slightly extended to her sides, as if ready to take wing at the slightest sound. It's impossible not to think of a bird.
  • There is a character in The Unicorn Chronicles who is literally named Lightfoot. Like all unicorns, he's so graceful that he barely makes a sound and leaves next to no hoofprints.
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy novel The Fellowship Of The Ring. When the Fellowship is trapped by a blizzard while trying to go through the Redhorn Gate, Legolas is able to run lightly on top of the snow without making much of an imprint on it.
    "But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf or over snow-an Elf."
    With that he sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow.
    "Farewell!" he said to Gandalf. "I go to find the Sun!" Then swift as a runner over firm sand he shot away, and quickly overtaking the toiling men, with a wave of his hand he passed them, and sped into the distance, and vanished round the rocky turn.
  • Chloe King from The Nine Lives of Chloe King is a Cat Girl, so she naturally has this as one of her powers.
  • Wax and Wayne: Wax uses his Feruchemy to make himself lighter, generally going around at 75% of his normal weight, as he finds it gives him an edge in combat. He can also invert it by discharging all the stored-up weight.
  • In the Island in the Sea of Time (Series), Swindapa Alston-Kurlelo is known for being extremely graceful. Fittingly, her name translates to "deer dancer".
  • Implied Trope in The Crocodile God. Haik is the title's Filipino crocodile-god, and when helping a transgender woman and her family escape the Spanish, he tries to scale a tree with one of their children to cross a river—but being a gigantic Maori-descended sailor, the branches can't support his weight. His demigod son Banog, however, takes BOTH children and jumps clear to the other side. Banog takes a lot from Haik's bird-shifter cousin Lumawig, since they have similar eagle-tattoos, and Banog's name is a Tagalog nickname for the Philippine eagle.
  • Sunshine: Vampires move silently, subtly, and very quickly in ways that the human eye can't even follow. Part of the effect comes from being able to shift partly or wholly into an extradimensional "Other-space" as they go.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Seen in Game of Thrones (and the book it's based on) because many characters are trained to be agile instead of being true fighters.
    • Syrio Forel's combat technique is named "Water Dance" and is only focused on dance-like movement patterns. He claims, however, to be the best fighter of Braavos.
    • Bron is considered a deadly fighter because he prefers to stay mobile and dodge attacks, instead of blocking with a shield, as Westerosi knights do.
    • Oberyn is, during his duel with Gregor Clegane, revealed to be very agile, being able to perform flips and stunts to entertain the crowd.
  • As a child, Kwai Chang Caine of Kung Fu (1972) was asked to approach his mentor without damaging large sheets of delicate rice paper draped upon the temple floor. Despite his small size and body weight, Caine left a trail of footsteps in the rice paper. Much later, after years of studying and training to be a Shaolin monk, young adult Caine was presented with this same challenge. Despite his now much greater size and body weight, Caine traversed the rice paper sheets with zero damage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Changeling: The Lost, the Contracts of Separation allow a Changeling to walk across any surface, from snow to mud or even tissue paper without leaving any trace. They're a favourite of the Fairest, who cultivate grace and poise. Amusingly, one of them can be cast for free On One Condition - that you're wearing very fancy shoes which would be ruined if you didn't use it.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Some vampires with the discipline Celerity possess unearthly grace and can effortlessly balance and run even on wires or any surface that supports their weight.
  • In Pathfinder, the Ninja class learns to walk across any surface without difficulty or disturbance: rough terrain, ice, the thinnest tree branches, Booby Trap triggers, caltrops, water, lava...

    Video Games 
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, characters with the Light Foot perk, an intermediate Sneak ability, don't set off pressure plates.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Doman and Hingan ninja are trained to be able to move quickly and silently across nearly any surface. In one quest, the Warrior is tasked with hopping onto the rooftops of Kugane and waiting on a rope only designed to support the weight of a paper lantern to lean over and drop dye on a mark's head. All of this without making a sound and vanishing before anyone can even think to look up.
    • In the throne room of Dohn Mheg, Aenc Thon creates the illusion of a Bottomless Pit with only a thin, jagged tightrope providing passage across. While Alphinaud and Ryne express alarm and concern, Thancred remarks that this wouldn't fool a child and dashes across in a full sprint before jumping across the final length of the crevasse. He even remarks how good it is that he's light on his feet. Similarly, if G'raha Tia is brought as part of a Trust run, he'll declare that he's not afraid of heights and runs the whole length of the tightrope without slowing down.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang's lightness has been commented on several times, so much that he's been given the name "Twinkletoes" by Toph. He's able to float down gently from ten feet in the air.
    • While not an airbender, Ty Lee the acrobat qualifies as well. She is capable of running across a gondola line over a lake of boiling water, without hesitation or difficulty.
  • Pearl from Steven Universe: in this solo song, she sings while dancing atop a glass balcony railing on the top floor of a hotel. She's just as agile in combat, where she's highly mobile and effortlessly dodges incoming strikes.

    Real Life 
  • Trapeze artists, gymnasts, ballerinas, and other people with jobs that exhibit grace and flexibility.
  • Even among figure skaters, who require a lot of grace for their artistic components, Yuzuru Hanyu stands out. He's short, slim, lithe, light on his feet, and some of his signature moves (hydroblading, Bielmann spin, etc.) are more often seen in ladies' skating than men's (because a lot of men simply don't have the required flexibility). His costumes often emphasize gracefulness. At least two have been bird-themed (Origin 1.0 and Notte Stellata, with black and white feathers respectively. The latter has been nicknamed "Swanyu"). Google included a shot of Hanyu jumping in one of their ads with the caption "superheroes who can fly". It's not much of an exaggeration, since Hanyu is capable of covering incredible distances and heights with his jumps.
  • Cats, of course. There's a reason a whole class of burglars are named after them.
  • Deer and other similar animals, like gazelles, are known to be incredibly graceful.
  • Basilisk lizards and a few others are a subversion; they can run over the surface of water without sinking, but this is because the extremely large surface areas of their feet function like snowshoes, and they have to keep moving at high speed, and can only sustain it for a few metres. Also, unlike the poise and precision usually associated with this trope, they move with all the grace of... well, a lizard frantically running on its hindlegs fast enough to avoid sinking.