In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim what are the various factors affecting movement speed? And to what degree?

Note: Without cheating. And I'm on the Xbox 360, so no hacking.

Various factors I can think of are:

  • walking vs running vs sneaking
  • weapon or spells: drawn vs holstered
    • and type of weapon or spell (specifically two-handed vs single-hand vs dagger vs fists)
  • armor: heavy vs light vs none
    • also what % of body covered effects this (specifically just what you wear on your feet vs full body)
  • direction of travel: forwards vs backwards

I'm also interested in some of the combinations of this, especially:

  • walking with weapon or spell drawn vs holstered
  • running with weapon or spell drawn vs holstered

When I run, I always put my weapon away because I think I run faster, but it might just be the change in the field of view. I also have the perk where healing restores stamina, so I run, equip healing spell, cast spell, sheath spells and repeat. It's a little tedious to always ready and relax my spells. I'd rather run with the spells equipped and just pull the cast trigger. I'll endure it until I believe it doesn't help. :)

  • 10
    This isn't a full answer, but fun fact: when overencumbered, if you take out a bow and hold down the mouse button as if to shoot, you'll walk slightly faster. The overweight speed penalty is not applied. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 22:00
  • 3
    I know one of the loading screen tips specifically says that you will move slower when you have your weapon drawn.
    – bwarner
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 23:06
  • 3
    It worked for me at 1200 pounds after... ahem procuring the contents of a Dwemer ruin for proper preservation in the archives. Yes. That. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 23:32
  • 1
    Running in heavy armor depletes stamina faster than running in no armor. I haven't tested run speed, but with just the quicker stamina consumption, average speed will be lower.
    – Arkive
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 23:54
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    I've noticed the fastest movement I can generate is when swapping spells in and out (with hands ready to cast) while moving. For some reason the animation when swapping spells gives your character a speed boost. So when running around, I alternate spells (use hot keys) to move faster. I'll have to measure it one day to see if its really true or simply because I'm playing too much skyrim and went crazy.
    – l I
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 12:05

2 Answers 2


Clothing is much faster than any armor. Weapons sheathed makes you run faster, and sneak rolling is actually slower than sprinting in light armor. I'm not sure about heavy armor, but I believe rolling is always the same speed. I believe carry weight has a small effect on move speed, so it might be fastest after selling off... I mean DONATING your Dwemer artifacts to a... ahem... MUSEUM.

  • Clothing is a just a little faster than light armor, but both are a lot faster than heavy armor(unless you have the steed stone or Conditioning. Then it's like being in your undies).
    – Jtenorj3
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 18:37

I think the best movement speed I have come across personally is:

  1. Wearing light armour (can use more stamina that way and I think it's generally a bit faster)
  2. Having my bow or two weapons out (only if in sneak mode)
  3. In sneak and rolling (with weapons out, you can roll continually until stamina depletes)

I generally believe rolling in sneak mode does go faster than running; I seem to travel faster. It's up to you whether you want to try those combinations out.

Maybe instead of light armour, try mage clothes, that's no armour, but somewhat lighter.

I think the best way for you is to create a route to go from one city to the next, once via rolling, and then via running, leaving on the hour and seeing how long it takes you to find which is faster.

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