Erika Olson's team designed shoes made out of Styrofoam with a piece of plywood extending from the back, wrapped up "with a lot of duct tape."
"We had a trial so I knew it was going to be challenging," she said. "But today it was a lot worse. I had to wait for other people to go and it was a lot of work."
Some students tried to keep their balance as the shoes wobbled on the surface of the water. One design came apart during the race.
Carolina Rivera chose to be the "walker" for her team because she thought "it would be a cool project. But it's so much harder than it looks." Her team also created a boat shape for shoes, but this design had flaps in the back to serve as a flipper.
"Some people glided through, but it just took so long with the shoes we had. My legs are killing me."
Others gave up after an exhausting push.
"I had no more muscle left to keep it together," said Matt Wasala, who swam the last portion of the race while holding onto his oversized boat shoes. "I thought the design was going to work a little bit better than it did."
Image: Oscar Valdez falls into the water during a 'Walk on Water' event at Florida International University in Miami, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Students at FIU walked on water wearing water shoes they built as part of a class assignment on Thursday.