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Previous research has shown that exercise interventions requiring increased activation of the tibialis anterior (TA), the primary ankle dorsiflexor, can improve walking performance in individuals with foot drop. Correspondingly, heightened drag forces experienced during walking performed in water may augment TA activation during the swing phase of gait, potentially leading to improved walking gait on land. Therefore, this study aimed to compare surface electromyographic (sEMG) activation in the TA and medial gastrocnemius (GM) during gait performed in water versus on land. Thirty-eight healthy, recreationally active young adults, comprising 18 females and 20 males, participated in the study. Each participant completed 2 min walking trials under five conditions: land 2.5 mph, land 3.5 mph, water 2.5 mph, water 3.5 mph, and water 3.5 mph with added jet resistance. Stride kinematics were collected using 2-dimensional underwater motion capture. TA and GM, muscle activation magnitudes, were quantified using sEMG root-mean-square (RMS) amplitudes for both the swing and stance phases of walking. Additionally, TA and GM co-activation (Co-A) indices were estimated. Two-way within-subjects repeated measures analyses of variance were used to evaluate the main effects of and interactions between the environment and walking speed. Additionally, paired sample t-tests were conducted as a secondary analysis to investigate differences between walking in water at 3.5 mph with and without added jet resistance. Main effects and interactions were observed across various stride kinematics and sEMG measures. Notably, TA sEMG RMS during the swing phase of walking gait performed at 2.5 mph was 15% greater in water than on land (p < 0.001). This effect increased when walking gait was performed at 3.5 mph (94%; p < 0.001) and when jet resistance was added to the 3.5 mph condition (52%; p < 0.001). Furthermore, TA Co-A was increased during the stance phase of gait in water compared to on land (p < 0.001), while GM Co-A was reduced during the swing phase (p < 0.001). The findings of this study offer compelling evidence supporting the efficacy of aquatic treadmill walking as a potential treatment for individuals suffering from foot drop. However, further research is needed to evaluate whether a causal relationship exists between heightened TA activation observed during aquatic treadmill walking and improvements in voluntary dorsiflexion during gait.