The sewing machine shank is the ankle that connects your sewing foot to the sewing machine. There are 4 types of shanks:

  • Low shanks
  • Snap on
  • High Shanks
  • Slant Shanks

When purchasing feet for your sewing machine be mindful of the type of shank that your machine has, to ensure that you buy the right foot. For instance: Most presser feet that come with your machine are fairly flat and just snap on to the shank. Walking feet or darning feet are screw on. 

How to measure your shank height

Here is how to figure out if your machine is a Low Shank or a High Shank. With the presser foot in the down position, measure from the flat bed to the thumb screw.

  • Low Shank machine measures about 12 to 13 mm (1/2 inch).
  • High Shank machine measures 25mm (1 inch).
  • Slant Shank machine are fairly rare and usually found on Singer sewing machines.

Most modern machines have Low Shanks.