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What are Foot Tattoos?

By J. Beam
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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Tattoos placed on the feet are an increasingly popular choice for people who want some type of permanent body art, especially if they prefer the ability to make it inconspicuous for work or other settings. Common locations of foot tattoos include the toes, top of the foot, and the sides of the foot up to the ankle. The sizes of foot tattoos tend to be small and the designs minimally intricate because of the limited amount of skin area, but there are still a wide variety of artistic designs that work.

Popular foot tattoos include toe rings, ankle bands, and small designs that fit well on the center top of the foot. When choosing designs for foot tattoos, consult a professional tattoo artist. Many will advise their clients to stay away from selecting thin and delicately outlined designs on the feet because of the likelihood of spreading and blurring over time. A professional can help you choose a design that will look good now and for years to come.

Finding artists that do foot tattoos may be more difficult than finding an artist to do other parts of the body. Some artists simply won’t do foot tattoos because of the increased likelihood of spreading, blurring, and fading from rub. Most artists who do foot tattoos will advise you of the possible complications and the artwork itself may not be guaranteed. However, just because you may have to talk to several artists before finding one to tattoo your foot does not mean you should settle for someone less than professional. There are plenty of professionals who will perform the work.

Some of the considerations that should be taken into account before getting a foot tattoo involve the healing process. After a tattoo is applied, the area should be kept clean and uncovered for up to a week for proper healing. Foot tattoos are no exception and it would be difficult for many people to go without shoes for that length of time. Unless you can go to work or school in flip-flops or another type of shoe that will leave the area exposed and unaggravated, you might want to wait for a vacation.

Also keep in mind that foot tattoos can be more painful to receive than tattoos in other locations and they also tend to produce more blood than fattier, more muscular parts of the body. After receiving a foot tattoo, use caution during the healing process to keep the area clean. Feet and hands come into more contact with germs than most other parts of the body, so remain conscious of your healing tattoo and follow all after-care instructions provided by your artist.

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Discussion Comments
By umbra21 — On Sep 14, 2014

@MrsPramm - Usually if a tattoo isn't going to work, and you go to a reputable artist, they will straight up tell you that it won't work and it's just a matter of believing them. But you'd be surprised where people have tattoos. I've seen photos of them on the inside of the lips, or even on the eyeball. And parts of the sole of the foot aren't as bad as others. I could see a small, plain tattoo being successfully done on the arch.

By MrsPramm — On Sep 14, 2014

@irontoenail - It's not too bad if you get it on the top of your foot and you are able to wear shoes that aren't going to be rubbing against it. If anything, it's probably the easiest place to get a tattoo that will be covered normally, but doesn't look too strange if you don't cover it while the tattoo is healing.

One of my friends told me once he wanted to get a tattoo on the sole of his foot though and that would really be a mistake. I had to talk him out of it. He liked the idea that it would be completely secret unless he chose to show someone, but the sole of the foot is subject to so much wear and tear and has such thick skin that I can't imagine a tattoo would be very successful there and unless you were willing to stay in bed for a week at least, it would be almost impossible to heal well.

By irontoenail — On Sep 14, 2014

I've heard that getting a foot or ankle tattoo is much more painful than getting one in most other places because there is very little between the skin and bone. So you would have to be happy to deal with the pain if you really wanted one, because even the least painful place to get a tattoo is still pretty painful.

And I think it probably takes a lot longer to heal as well, considering the fact that feet aren't exactly treated delicately most of the time.

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