What is a Walking Foot Machine?

Walking Foot Machine vs Walking Foot Accessory

Best Walking Foot Sewing MachinesA walking foot machine “walks” with the material so that the top material does not stretch out as much where a regular machine would slightly pull the top material making your sewing uneven. And the main difference with the foot accessory is that the whole sewing system is helping the foot walk over the material. Some machines work with two feet whereas others can have three. 

Now, a walking foot accessory is an extra foot that has a double foot to hold the leather against the sewing machine with one of its two pieces. The other piece walks over it to move it backward and stitch again.

Honestly, whenever we want to sew heavy materials, we need to be using a walking foot. The main reason is that it will stop slippering away and you’ll be able to actually achieve stitches of equal length.

Also, when working with other materials, if you’re going for quality of stitch and therefore of the final product a double footed machine makes all the difference. But what if you don’t want to invest in a walking foot machine? Well, you can easily convert any sewing machine by adding an actual walking foot to your accessories collection.

Top 7 Best Walking Foot Sewing Machines

7. Reliable 4000SW Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Medium to Thick Leather. Medium to Heavy Materials.

Budget: $$$
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star-o


      • Machine Type: Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 2000 spm

The Reliable 4000SW is a basic industrial sewing machine that performs best when used at moderate speed with the included servo motor, exactly what is required when working with leather.

Personally, I would spend a little more money on a Consew or a Juki, but if you have a lower budget or deal with heavy materials on a non-professional basis, and not quite as much on leather, this might be a great heavy duty model. And it’s all due to the high foot clearance that enables you to work with medium to heavy fabrics.

However, if you’re an experienced leather artisan, and you need a reliable machine, I would suggest that you invest in a better quality leather machine. That way, you’ll save time and get rid of potential problems on a machine that, even though it’s fully capable of sewing leather, hasn’t been primarily designed for such a job.

What you’ll like:
  • Affordable price
To take into Account:
  • Professional leather crafters should go for brands like Consew or Juki

6. REX 607 Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thin to Medium Leather. Medium Weight Materials.

Budget: $
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star-halficon-star-o


      • Machine Type: Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 800 spm

I would suggest Rex 607 only for advanced users who want an inexpensive alternative that works at 800 speeds per minute. Otherwise, beginners who are not mechanically handy may struggle when trying to fix the potential problems this portable walking foot sewing machine may have.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking to sew on boat canvas, vinyl seats, or upholstery with just some spare leatherwork, Rex 607 is a nice, inexpensive option.

Moreover, a sewn leather sample is given to show consumers just how ready the machine is to use, as well as how well the machine performs on leather. However, some users have claimed that the sampler might not have been stitched with it since it would have scratches from the foot.

And that’s going to take us to the second disadvantage.

Some units come with a foot that needs to be sanded before using it on leather and other materials, otherwise, you’re taking the risk of marking your job. And that’s another explanation why this machine isn’t ideal for non-mechanically inclined users. Or you could simply buy an additional foot to skip this minor problem.

I think it’s worth looking at it as a good alternative since for a couple of hundred dollars you get a sturdy sewing machine. Just be sure to be handy and prepared to grind the grooves before stitching on leather.

What you’ll like:
  • Heavy duty capabilities at a very affordable price
To take into Account:
  • Potential mechanic issues
  • Need sanding to avoid scratching the leather
  • Professional leather crafters should go for brands like Consew or Juki

5. Consew CP206RL Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thin to Thick Leather. Medium Light to Heavy Materials.

Budget: $
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star-o


      • Machine Type: Portable Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 800 spm

This model is a great portable industrial sewing machine to handle heavy materials thanks to its triple feed and adjustable lift inside the foot. This sews all kinds of leather weights without cutting a stitch, from thin to thick, with the aid of a servo motor.

Once sanded, the Consew CP206RL can go through leather, like butter, without having any marks on it, since it’s been built to sew items such as timber, sailing, tents, and accessories for traveling.

Compared to the Consew 206RB – see next reviewed model -, the main differences are lower maximum speed and shorter stitch length. Since you don’t need high speed to specifically sew on leather, its low price could be your chance to get hold of a heavy-duty sewing machine for your leather projects.

What you’ll like:
  • Portable
To take into Account:
  • You should oil it well before the first use.
  • A speed reducer is recommended to work on leather
  • Foot might need sanding to avoid scratching the leather

4. Consew P1206RB Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thick Leather. Heavy Materials.

Consew P1206RB Industrial Walking Foot Sewing Machine Review

Budget: $$$
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star-half


      • Machine Type: Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 3000 spm

This portable walking foot machine comes with an extended surface that you can fold up as soon as you're finished sewing helping you save space. Besides, thanks to its carrying case, you can easily take it to your sewing lessons if you want to.

Additionally, Consew P1206RB is a straight stitch workhorse that delivers a maximum speed of 800 per minute, perfectly suitable for working on leather and specially designed for tough work.

Each detail in this machine has been engineered so that thicker fabrics are easy to handle: from the stitch length controller, the bottom dual feed, and the height under the foot.

What you’ll like:
  • Portable
  • Carrying Case
  • Included Servo Motor & Table
To take into Account:
  • Teeth might mark the leather if not sanded first

3. Juki DNU-1541S Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thin to Thick Leather. Heavy Weight Materials.

Budget: $$$$
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star


      • Machine Type: Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 2500 spm

This model is sold as a complete unit and includes all the necessary elements to start stitching leather right away: the machine head, the industrial table with a drawer, a stand, a servo motor, a sewing light, etc.

The S from Juki DNU-1541S stands for Safety Motor which means that the engine will automatically stop in the event of sewing issues to prevent damage to the machine. If you find it unnecessary and want to save some money, just go for Juki DNU-1541.

Juki DNU-1541S is probably the best industrial walking foot machine that you can install at home. Without a problem, it sews through six layers of leather and does it smoothly. To work on leather, you may want to slow down the speed when working on corners or tricky areas by releasing pressure off its sensitive pedal.

If you've ever had trouble gathering stitches, you must know that the rectangular feed motion of the Juki DNU-1541 prevents the needle from fraying, which ensures a continuous feeding of materials of all thicknesses. The double-tension mechanism also provides great responsiveness.

Know also that it can only perform straight and reverse stitching, just like the other machines in this list. This machine is not characterized by the decorative features, but by the performance it delivers, no matter how heavy your fabric is.

What you’ll like:
  • Rectangular feeding.
  • Double-tension Mechanism.
  • Outstanding performance.
To take into Account:
  • Higher budget.

2. Juki LU-1508NS Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thin to Thick Leather. Heavy Weight Materials.

Juki LU1508NS Industrial Walking Foot Sewing Machine Review

Budget: $$$$$$
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star


      • Machine Type:  Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 2500 spm

At a cost of a few thousand, the Juki LU-1508NS has many great features, such as a safety clutch to avoid hook breakage, a knee raise mechanism to help you while your hands are busy sewing, or a dual- mechanism to assist high-tension sewing with a thick thread and to help you achieve the same quality stitch with all kinds of materials.

Another amazing feature that is unique to some Juki machines is the rectangular feed system, which replaces the elliptical feed. Basically, this system is designed to allow accurate feed of extra heavy materials while avoiding stitch gathering.

And let's not forget to talk about the automatic bobbin winder to increase your productivity or the 6.5 mm maximum alternating vertical movement of your foot and presser foot to minimize bobbin switching and boost productivity even more.

It doesn't matter how tough the industrial materials you want to stitch are, this machine will handle them without effort: from cargo handling belts to leather car seats to all sorts of synthetic fabrics, leather weights, and laminated items.

Juki LU-1508NS is supplied with a sewing table and a servo motor included and fully mounted on a pallet at no additional cost, saving you some decent money in mechanical assistance.

Funnily, you might have to employ a mover since the head weighs more than 42 kilos.

What you’ll like:
  • Includes Servo Motor & Table
  • Accurate stitches on heavy materials
  • Fully assembled
To take into Account:
  • Higher price

#1. Consew 206RB-5 Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Ideal for: Thin to Thick Leather. Heavy Materials.

Budget: $$$
Our rating:  icon-staricon-staricon-staricon-staricon-star


      • Machine Type: Walking Foot
      • Speed per minute: 3300 spm

With a clearance of 14 mm below the presser foot and a stitch length of up to 10 mm you already sense that this machine is going to work pretty well with heavy-duty materials like medium, and thick leather.

Consew 206RB-5 is a super complete walking foot machine that can be your perfect choice if you deal on a daily basis with heavy to medium weight projects. From marine vinyl, leather repairs, canvas work, or upholstery to apparel garments. Simply change the needle, modify the tension and stitch length, and start sewing.

Be certain that the strength of this industrial machine will pull the material through despite its weight and without breaking needles.

You might be thinking that such a workhorse must be noise, but you'll be surprised by how quiet it actually is for what it does. Perfect for installing it at home and not worrying about bothering neighbors.

A few more interesting facts? It has a lever to automatically reverse the stitches while you're sewing, and you can leave whatever project you're working on untouched under the presser foot while you change the bobbin which is super useful and time-saving.

Honestly, the best choice you could ever make.

What you’ll like:
  • Triple or Compound Feed provides excellent stitch and smooth sewing
  • Great if you want to use it on leather, denim and vinyl
  • Bobbin type M to hold loads of thread
  • Centralized Lubrication System
To take into Account:
  • A bit rough for light clothing
  • Use the motor belt to wind the bobbin on a separate tool

Walking Foot Sewing Machines Comparison Chart

Let's compare some of the best walking foot sewing machines on the market right now, Consew 206-RB-5 vs Consew P-1206-RB vs Consew CP-206-RL vs Juki LU-1508 vs Juki DNU-1541-S vs Reliable 4000-SW vs Rex 607.

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*You will need a Speed Reducer or a Servo Motor in order to sew on Leather.
**Speed Per Minute: referring to the number of stitches a machine can perform in a minute.

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Some other articles you may want to read


What is the best industrial sewing machine for leather and other heavy-weight materials?

The ideal industrial sewing machine would be a walking foot or triple feed compound model but it all depends on several factors like the leather thickness you will be sewing or your budget. Read full article.

Do I need a special sewing machine for heavy-weight materials like leather?

As a professional leather crafter, yes, you do. However, if you're an amateur it may be enough with adding a walking foot accessory to any industrial machine that you own or to your home model if you will use it sparingly.

Which is the best sewing machine to sew thick material and leather?

Our number 1 choice would be a Juki 1541 with a servo motor for accuracy and to reduce speed as desired. Nevertheless, there isn't only one option as there are different needs and budgets for every buyer. To see what machine best suits you, read our article on the best sewing machines for leather.