What Is A Walking Foot Sewing Machine? Find Out Here!

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Last Updated on 19 February, 2021 by Shine

Walking Foot Sewing Machines - Our Best Guide

You may have come across the walking foot term a few times within the sewing industry, making it confusing to understand what the difference is between a walking foot and a walking foot machine.

Well, a walking foot sewing machine is different from a walking foot attachment and tends to be used only for industrial purposes. A walking foot sewing machine is a straight stitch machine which ensures even stitches and feeds while you sew.

Walking foot sewing machines have high accuracy and are used in factories because of this, allowing you to sew multiple pieces of fabric together quickly and with care, unlike a domestic sewing machine with an attachment.

Walking Foot Sewing Machines & How They Work

So as we mentioned above, walking foot sewing machines are industrial type models which replicated a walking motion when sewing, hence why they are called a walking foot.

The feet of these sewing machines around the needle have two pieces which move in separate motions from each other ensuring an even feed.

These sewing machines have a price point of up to £1000-£5000 and above for an industrial model. They tend to have a high price point due to the fact they can sew multiple fabrics together, making them perfect for upholstery purposes.

Why Do I Need a Walking Foot Sewing Machine VS Attachment?

You might be wondering, surely I can just buy a £100 walking foot sewing machine attachment for my regular model and achieve the same results?

Well, no, not exactly, if your looking for great accuracy, industrial capabilities and want to be able to sew thick fabrics without the effort of having to pin them together for your machine to get stuck, then you will need to invest in a walking foot sewing machine rather than an attachment.

Benefits Of a Walking Foot Machine

  • Better accuracy.
  • Eliminates the need for pinning.
  • Can sew thick fabrics.
  • Ensures an even stitch.
  • Best for industrial work and upholstery.

However, on the other hand, if you already have a great sewing machine and you need a walking foot for less professional purposes, an attachment might suit you fine and can save you a lot of money.

A walking foot attachment will enable you to perform plaid stitches with ease and help you sew slippery fabrics by sewing the top layer and bottom layer of your fabric at a similar pace, meaning there is much less chance of any stitches becoming misaligned.

What Do I Need To Look For In a Walking Foot Sewing Machine?

If you've decided you are interested in a walking foot sewing machine rather than a walking foot attachment then you likely need to know the most essential features you should be looking for in an expensive model like this.

  • Make sure your machine has a reverse option.
  • Ensure that you are buying a real compound machine rather than one with an attachment.
  • Check how heavy your machine is before purchasing.

Are There Any Disadvantages To a Walking Foot Sewing Machine?

As with all different kinds of sewing machines, they do come with a range of advantages and disadvantages.

The main drawbacks of a walking foot sewing machine have to be -

  • They're a very expensive price.
  • In need of a lot of maintenance.
  • Heavy.
  • Not suited for beginners.

These are minor drawbacks however if you are looking for an industrial-grade sewing machine that can help get the job done.

When Would I Need To Use a Walking Foot Sewing Machine/Attachment?

If you are new to sewing, then you probably interested in the types of fabrics and situations where a walking foot machine or attachment will come in handy, bear in mind, a machine will always produce better and quicker results than an attachment.

The walking foot stitch is always known best for upholstery purposes like quilting difficult fabrics or knits, however, you can also use it for other purposes.

We have listed out when to use a walking foot in other scenarios below.

Topstitch & Hems

Draglines can occur easily in the hem you have topstitched down, this can be an annoying problem to fix and tends to occur because of how normal a presser foot operates.

A regular presser foot tends to scoot the top layer of fabric faster than the bottom, resulting in those drag lines, so this is where a walking foot can come in handy as it keeps both layers even and will help to avoid draglines in your stitching.


As you probably already know, walking foot sewing machines and feet are great for quilting, the nature of how a walking foot operates allows you to keep quilting layers together and get an even professional stitch.

Matching Plaids

If you come across a time where you need to match patterns or seams on a fabric such as with stripes and plaids then a walking foot or machine can come in handy.

A walking foot will allow you to sew pinned down and cut pieces easily on to your work without the material shifting or getting ruched up.

For Slippery Fabric

If you have ever had to sew slippery fabrics before then you will know the process can be difficult and can involve lots of time-consuming pinning, these walking feet can help stabilise the slippery fabric and avoid rips in fabric such as satin.

Sewing Knits

Knits can easily stretch under a regular presser foot due to there nature, making it difficult to sew hems on knits or sew stretchy material in general.

Walking feet on the other hand allow you to sew knitted fabric without the material becoming stretched and out of shape while stitching.

What Is a Walking Foot Machine/Attachment Bad For?

Now you know you can use a walking foot for a variety of stitching, there's a couple of situations where you should never use one of these feet when stitching.

  • During free motion quilting, it does not allow for free movement.
  • Decorative stitching for the same reasons above.
  • Reverse stitching which does not work due to the way the stitch operates, however you may be able to find some industrial-grade walking foot sewing machines come with a reverse stitch which can be useful.

Frequently Asked Questions About Walking Foot Sewing Machines

What is the difference between a classic and open toe walking foot?

If you are after a walking foot attachment rather than a machine then you will likely be faced between the choice of an open toe or classic version.

The classic walking foot attachment gives better stability to your material and tends to be cheaper, the open toe model, on the other hand, has better visibility which is perfect for quilting when you need an extra vision of the needle.

Why should I buy a walking foot machine?

You should buy a walking foot machine if you are looking for a machine that can handle industrial tasks and produces highly accurate results with even stitches.

How much does a walking foot attachment usually cost?

This depends on the model you buy, but typically they tend to cost between £20-£100.

What is the price range for a walking foot machine?

A walking foot sewing machine is very expensive due to its industrial capabilities and can cost up to £5000.

Why do I need a walking foot?

If your looking to sew quilts or upholstery and want a foot that can sew accurate and even stitches without the material getting stuck, a walking foot is needed for your machine.

Final Words

Overall, a walking foot sewing machine is great for sewing thick fabrics with accuracy and perfect for industrial/professional use if your budget allows, if not it could be worth checking out a walking foot presser attachment for your current sewing machine instead.

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Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.
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