Since George Romero first introduced the modern zombie in 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, pop culture depictions of the undead have continued to evolve and change with the times. And no zombie iteration has ever caused such heated debate as Danny Boyle’s running hordes in 28 Days Later. It’s success led to the inclusion of fast zombies in the remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in 2004.

Most zombie fans have a strong opinion about whether zombies should be fast or slow. But when the dead actually do rise, will they be shambling like Romero, or sprinting like Boyle?

Our answer is: We’ll never know and it doesn’t really matter.

New theories about zombie physiology are developed every day, but the fact remains that until a zombie shows up at your front door, there is no way to definitively determine how much of its former human potential it will be utilizing. However, we do know that other people will pose a very real threat in a zombie catastrophe. And we know that people can be fast, smart and deadly.

In developing your zombie survival strategy, think in terms of a human aggressor. Any zombie defense plan that doesn’t stack up to this test is worthless, as the first group of desperate survivors to cross your path will simply rob you of everything you have and leave you to die.

So stop asking yourself if you think zombies will be slow or fast, and start asking how you’re going to keep from being killed by your neighbor when the water runs out and his kids are dying of thirst.


  1. They would sprint

  2. Zombies wouldn’t be able to run. They may be able to sprint, but I can either compare them to animals or corpses. You would need working lungs to survive, and well, they’re corpses. If I compare them to an animal, since animals, like corpses, can’t sweat (as sweat regulates body temperature and allows us endurance when running), they might be able to sprint, but only for a short time compared to humans.

  3. ok, if zombies were ever to exist, they would most likely be fast. but fast zombies are still weaker, so if you shoot their vital organs, the zombie dies. if youve seen the walking dead, zombies are missing legs, arms, organs, etc. a fast zombie would never be able to have those features because they would either die of blood loss, or again, as i said, loss of vital organs. and knowing zombies, they dont usually just bite you and leave you alone, they try to eat you. so if my arm got bitten off by a fast zombie, and i somehow managed to get away, i would never be able to be a zombie, or at least not a zombie for long because i would die of blood loss. slow zombies would be a different case, if my arm got bitten off by a slow zombie, i would collapse into a coma then become a zombie. because slow zombies only die from headshots. fast zombies are cool, but they just dont make much sense

  4. This is Stupid! zombies can’t possibly exist. All you nerds just think so!

  5. This thread may need some revival…it definitely covers preparedness which is paramount in any situation, however it really doesn’t cover answering the question…it certainly matters whether the hordes to come will be fast moving or mere shamblers…consider human physiology. Upon death the body is still limber and easily movable, rigor mortis begins setting in within 3 hours…so consider this. For the first three hours of a newly reanimated body with the most primal of urges running through its brain, having no hindrances to feel fatigue, fear, or reason….that is what we face. A machine purely meant to feed with the ability to run at top speed (providing it has its legs intact) for approximately three hours. And as this thing catches prey the cycle goes on and on. So I would say for the first two months of any outbreak find a place to hole up, and stay undetected from both humans and zombies…but always have an escape plan.the first weeks will be hell on earth.

  6. I agree with you EricJ but I wouldn’t discount the threat that a slow persistent zombie horde could be. In the graphic novels of “The Walking Dead” the zombies could follow a humans trail for days, long after you might think you are free and clear. I think the moral of the tortoise and the hare will be an important factor in a zombie reality, but may need to be rewritten slightly.
    “Slow of (un)stead wins the race”

    If this is a true virus it will be subject to evolution just like any other virus. Given that I think it’s more likely we will end up with different classes of zombie more akin to say Left 4 Dead…

  7. I find it curious that the ZRS would say it doesn’t matter when the same could be said about a great deal of the content on this blog. Articles that pertain to the zombie virus or zombie physiology and behavior are based completely on speculation because we have not encountered zombies and thus, cannot study them. But, as the ZRS reminds us, it doesn’t hurt to discuss these topics in the interest of being prepared.

    I think whether zombies can run, jump or move quickly in general will change the playing field a great deal. If we’re dealing with fast zombies, I believe humans will no longer be the most direct threat. Still a threat, to be sure, but second to that of running zombies. Slow zombies would be relatively easy to avoid. Even after being spotted by a horde, chances are you could outmaneuver them and get away. This makes humans more of a threat because getting around on the street would be easier, especially for a well-armed group of raiders. They could take their time, snoop around, find you and find a way to rob you. But if the streets are infested with fast zombies, it would be extremely difficult to get around, even for a well armed, well prepared group. With less raiders roaming around, there will be significantly less chances of being discovered. Zombies will be your primary concern, and different tactics will have go be employed to stay alive. Fast zombies will probably not be like humans. Humans can run, yes, but tire quickly. Zombies may not get tired of running, they could potentially chase you for days.

    As the ZRS has said many times, don’t just have one plan, have many. You could formulate a different plan for each letter in the alphabet and still not have a plan to perfectly suit the real outbreak. Fact is there’s no way to be completely prepared because we’ll never know what the future has in store, but it doesn’t hurt to discuss different possibilities and strategies for survival.

    • Eric – well said, and we completely agree. The writer was trying to make a point about the importance of preparing for the greatest possible threat (from a personal survival perspective), but certainly it makes a difference if zombies are fast or slow. In fact our future as a civilization may depend on it.

      Great comment.

    • i also agree with u eric j

  8. Yeah, I completely agree that it really doesn’t matter how fast the undead will be since other people are going to be the biggest threat. Arm appropriately.

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