Walking the runaway isn’t just a regular stroll around the block—it’s a fine-tuned art. Perfecting your model strut takes practice, but with the right strides you can make a major impression. Put your best foot forward and learn how to walk like a model with these straightforward steps.
1. Think face-first
Before you move a muscle, set the mood with your face. While your walk should be purposeful and powerful, your face should be composed and relaxed. Choose a point in the distance to focus on as you stride—think of it like “spotting” in ballet, where a dancer fixes their gaze on a single location to control their balance and direction.
It’s good practice to perfect a composed, relaxed expression, but some jobs may give you a specific mood to embody down the runway—so it doesn’t hurt to work on a few looks that you can use if the job calls for it.
2. Keep your head up
Keep your gaze forward, with your head up and a slight downward tilt to your chin. All of this will evoke confidence and make it a bit easier for the audience to see your facial features. While it’s tempting to glance down to watch your steps, don’t do this. Professional runway walkers aren’t staring at their feet—and you shouldn't either. Take a page from the old Miss Manners training manual and act like you’re balancing a book atop your head as you practice to keep your gaze straight ahead.
3. Pull your shoulders back
Create an elegant line by pulling your shoulders slightly back and down. Practice this in front of a mirror; you may find that you’re pulling back and down too aggressively, which leaves you with an unnaturally puffed-up chest. Instead, think about pulling your shoulders up to your ears and then quickly dropping them down into a natural spot. Then gently roll them back a few times to find a spot that feels—and looks—elegant and natural.
4. Stand up straight
It sounds simple enough, but standing up straight can be a game-changer. By elongating and straightening your spine, you also lengthen your entire body, and the result is a strong, clean line that makes for a powerful visual (and the ideal clothing hanger). You’ll want to balance this with an easy stance so that you don’t look stiff and uncomfortable—think long, strong core with relaxed limbs.
5. Walk in strides to a smooth rhythm
With a long—but not comically so—stride, place one foot in front of the other, almost as if you’re walking along a thin, invisible line. Walking at a natural, medium pace with a consistent rhythm will give your hips a slight sway and personality, as well as control over the glide of your feet and legs. Remember that it’s not a race to the end of the runway, but it’s also not a slow crawl. Practice your walk to songs with different tempos to get a feel for what it’s like with a variety of music.
6. Keep your arms relaxed by your side
It may be tempting to swing your arms, but try to keep them controlled. Again, ease and fluidity are the keys here: Stiff arms and hands look robotic, while naturally hanging arms look poised and collected.
7. Pivot with ease
Remember that when you reach the end of the catwalk, you’ll have to turn and come back the way you came. But you don’t want to abruptly stop and turn your back on the audience—this will look awkward and it’ll throw off the pace of your walk. Instead, slow down a bit before you reach the end and then glide into your turn so it’s fluid and doesn’t break the cadence of your stride. You may be told to pose at the end of the runway to showcase the garments. If that’s the case, don’t stand totally still: Gently plant your feet and sway your hips from side to side once, shifting your weight from one leg to the other, to give photographers and viewers a chance to take in the ensemble. Count out a few seconds before fluidly turning into your return walk.
8. Remember to relax and keep it natural
You’ll feel a lot more confident when you relax into your walk and stop overthinking. The more you practice, the easier and more natural it’ll become.
A strong and confident walk that looks easy is a necessity for landing that first high-fashion runway gig—and getting rebooked. Since runway models need to take exaggerated strides while maintaining a natural rhythm, it’s all about making an impact with smooth movements that showcase the garments.
You can stand out by making your own mark with your personal walking style. If you need a bit of inspiration, look at the runway walks of famous supermodels. You’ll find a range of different styles of walks, from sultry predatory stalks and spotlight-stealing struts to powerful marches. Take notice of how far they bring up their knees, how much they move their heads, and how much their bodies bounce. We recommend studying these supermodels:
- Babacar N’doye
- Coco Rocha
- Gigi Hadid
- Gisele Bündchen
- Karlie Kloss
- Kate Moss
- Leon Dame
- Naomi Campbell
- Tyson Beckford