Although a species' locomotor capacity is suggestive of its ability to escape global climate change, such a suggestion is not necessarily straightforward. Species vary substantially in locomotor capacity, both ontogenetically and within/among populations, and much of this variation has a genetic basis. Accordingly, locomotor capacity can and does evolve rapidly, as selection experiments demonstrate. Importantly, even though this evolution of locomotor capacity may be rapid enough to escape changing climate, genetic correlations among traits (often due to pleiotropy) are such that successful or rapid dispersers are often limited in colonization or reproductive ability, which may be viewed as a trade-off. The nuanced assessment of this variation and evolution is reviewed for well-studied models: salmon, flying versus flightless insects, rodents undergoing experimental evolution, and metapopulations of butterflies. This work reveals how integration of physiology with population biology and functional genomics can be especially informative.