Foot Tattoos: A Complete Guide for 2023

Foot tattoos have boomed in popularity over recent years because of their unique aesthetic.

Although they’re another fantastic piece of real estate for fabulous artwork, they require a little more care than other tattoos.

This guide can assist with knowing how to prepare for an upcoming foot tattoo session and how to ensure it heals adequately.

foot tattoos

History of Foot Tattoos

Some sources suggest that tattoos began around 12,000 BC, but their origin is heavily debated.

Foot tattoos cannot be traced to a specific origin, as they have been used by ancient civilizations worldwide.

In some cultures, tattoos can show skill as a warrior, while others use tattoos to sign marriage preparedness.

Today, tattoos are often looked at as a creative outlet for artists and patrons alike.

Should I Get a Foot Tattoo?

There’s plenty of speculation about foot tattoos, with some circles suggesting they fade quickly and are painful.

A professional piece can be a formidable addition to an existing tattoo collection when cared for properly.

It’s also important to note that placement has a significant bearing on the longevity of foot tattoos.

All About Getting a Foot Tattoo

If you’re thinking of getting one, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Does Getting a Foot Tattoo Hurt?

As with any tattoo, there’s going to be discomfort.

Certain areas of the body are more painful, especially bony areas with little flesh, like the top of the foot.

It’s essential to prepare for a significant amount of discomfort when getting tattooed to make the process more comfortable.

There are about 7,000 nerve endings in the foot, which are likely to pick up on the feeling of pain.

Along with the armpits, elbow, and ribs, the feet are considered more painful to get tattooed.

Then again, each person has a different pain threshold that should be considered.

foot tattoos

How Do I Care for My New Foot Tattoo?

Tattoo aftercare is essential for any tattoo, but especially so for foot tattoos due to their placement.

The feet encounter a lot of wear and tear from walking, sleeping, or even just sitting.

As such, it’s important to expect a moderate amount of swelling and discomfort while it’s still healing.

Cleaning and Moisturizing

After a tattoo, be sure to invest in a high-quality moisturizer and cleaner.

Not only will these products ensure the area is properly sanitized to prevent infection, but it also prolongs the appearance of the tattoo.

Using cheap products can lead to significant fading and longer healing times. Instead, try to use moisturizers with natural ingredients, such as grape seed oil, to rejuvenate the skin after cleaning. And always choose products that are dermatologist-tested and approved for tattoos to prevent irritation!

For cleaners, soaps that are moisturizing and fragrance-free are good bets.

It’s essential to avoid alcohol, parabens, and colorants, as these ingredients can damage the tattoo.

Choose a soap that has antibacterial properties to ward off harmful infection-causing bacteria.

How to Clean Foot Tattoos

My artist always suggests avoiding applying ointments on the first day to give the skin time to calm down.

When I’m finished with my appointment, the artist cleans and moisturizes the area for me before I leave.

Then, I gently use the cleanser with my hands for the second day, working it into the skin without scrubbing.

Once I rinse the area with cool water, I rub the soap away in circular motions.

When it’s cleaned, I apply the soothing lotion or ointment to the tattoo and avoid using wraps to allow it to breathe.

foot tattoos

What To Bring To a Foot Tattoo Appointment

There are a few items to consider bringing to a tattoo appointment to help the time pass quickly.

Aside from ensuring my foot has been thoroughly cleaned, I also like to bring these items:

  • Headphones and music
  • A snack to eat on the way
  • Water
  • A pair of discreet sandals
  • My wallet with ID

A tattoo artist or his assistant will shave the area before tattooing unless instructed otherwise.

They will also require ID to ensure each patron is of legal age to get tattooed.

How To Prep for a Foot Tattoo

Fortunately, there’s not much to do to prepare for most tattoos.

The most crucial step is to make sure the area has been cleaned thoroughly before the appointment.

It’s also recommended to wear a pair of shoes that won’t rub against the tattooed area once it’s finished.

I strongly advise against wearing clothing that cannot be moved a significant distance away from the tattoo.

For example, I always wear shorts to my appointments so that the artist can have full access to my leg area.

When the appointment is finished, I won’t have to worry about the material touching my sensitive skin.

How Much Do Foot Tattoos Cost?

The cost of a foot tattoo varies from artist to artist. Some can charge upwards of $300, while others charge less.

The size, placement, and skill of the artist always play into the final costs.

Opting to get tattooed by apprentice artists can be less expensive and can give them a great experience.

For a smaller budget, always choose a small design, but be aware that most tattoo shops have a minimum per piece.

I prefer to discuss pricing with artists via social media before booking an appointment.


Can a Diabetic Get a Foot Tattoo?

Although the feet are a concern for diabetics, it doesn’t always mean that tattoos are no longer an option.

Before booking an appointment, the condition will have to be well-controlled. You should always check with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you.

Also, blood pressure must be within the target range, and blood sugar levels should be maintained to promote better healing.

Foot Tattoo Ideas and Placement

Possibly the most important part of getting a tattoo is choosing the design.

Best Designs for Foot Tattoos

The best designs for foot tattoos are based on personal preference and should be chosen with care.

Every patron should draw or find a design that the artist can customize to make it unique and appealing.

I like to work with my tattoo artist to come up with concepts before my appointments.

With that said, several designs seem to be favorites, including:

  • Arrows
  • Flora drawings
  • Scripture
  • Foot chandeliers
  • Tribal tattoos
  • Powerful and inspiring messages
  • Birds
  • Nautical designs
  • Mandalas
foot tattoos

Cute Foot Tattoos for Women

When looking for inspiration, consider these cute foot tattoo ideas for women.

  • Mountain Ranges

Perfect for those with wanderlust, mountain ranges require minimal shading and can be sized down.

  • Birds

Another option for travelers, birds can signify the desire to be on the move continually.

  • Flowers/Flora

A flower foot tattoo is a quintessential staple for anyone who wants to add a little femininity to tattoos.

  • Palm Trees

Perfect for beach lovers, palm trees are a simple foot tattoo.

  • Song Lyrics

Choosing a favorite verse for a foot tattoo is a great way to show style.

Matching Foot Tattoo Ideas

Whether it be with a friend or family member, matching tattoos can look great when done professionally.

It’s not necessary to get two of the same tattoo; often, designs can be worked to have an underlying connection.

A few examples of excellent matching foot tattoos include:

  • Plants and Succulents

Each person can choose a plant or succulent in the same family for a connected design.

  • Last Names

For family members, getting foot tattoos with the same last name is a great way to show family pride.

  • Half and Half

When the perfect image is chosen, each person can get half of the tattoo, so when the feet are together, the whole picture is made.

  • Sun and Moon

Signifying both light and darkness, sun and moons are great for two people with different personalities.

Side Foot Tattoo

Side foot tattoos can be gorgeous, especially if a hidden placement is preferred.

As the foot’s side is elongated, it is the perfect place for scripture, lyrics, and other written words. However, keep in mind that it’s one of the more sensitive areas of the foot.

Tattooing the Bottom of the Foot

Getting a tattoo on the bottom of the foot might sound like a good idea, but it can be a poor investment.

As you walk, the more the skin rubs against shoes and socks. This results in the tattoo fading faster.

During the healing process, it can also be challenging to avoid using the bottom of the foot until the tattoo is fully healed.

With that said, it can be a highly unique area for placement.

You Just Got a Foot Tattoo, Now What?

There’s nothing quite like the look of a fresh tattoo, and now that it’s finished, aftercare is imperative.

To maintain the pristine appeal, it must be cared for using a skin-safe cleanser and a moisturizer.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of it throughout the healing process to know what to expect next time.

leg tats

How Long Will My Foot Tattoo Last?

Foot tattoos can last an eternity, depending on where they are placed.

Specific spots like the sides and bottom of the feet are likely to fade faster, especially the sole.

Tattoos on the bottom of the feet can fade in just two months, if not sooner.

It’s a good idea to choose an area of the foot that won’t get rubbed as often. For example, the top of the foot or lower portion of the ankle can be a good option.

Will My Foot Tattoo Fade?

It’s important to note that all tattoos will fade eventually, but it doesn’t mean they disappear entirely.

Some of my tattoos have lasted several years without significant fading, while others have gotten lighter over time.

With proper aftercare, the pigment can last significantly longer.

What’s more, getting professional tattoos ensures long-lasting quality.

On average, some fading signs can be expected after eight to 12 months, again depending on the placement.

How Do I Know if My Foot Tattoo Is Infected?

It’s easy to tell whether a tattoo is infected or not, which is a huge benefit.

Typically, the area will become more swollen as time progresses. Also, pus and red lesions could begin to appear around the tattooed area.

Many infected tattoos have raised tissue that has hardened, and the overall look of the tattoo will deteriorate quickly.

Fevers are another significant problem, as well as abnormal shivering.

If any of these symptoms appear, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Can I Shower With a Foot Tattoo?

Showering with a foot tattoo is fine, although it’s essential to clean the area thoroughly after showering.

As the dirt from the body travels down the legs and to the feet, it can affect the healing process.

My tattoo artist suggests cleaning the tattoo after showering and following up with a moisturizer to ensure the area is sanitized.

leg tattoos

When Can I Wear Shoes After a Foot Tattoo?

Shoes should be avoided until after the healing process is complete to prevent irritation and infection.

The first two weeks are critical to the healing process, but shoes can be worn when needed into the third week.

Ideally, making sure the tattoo can breathe for up to four weeks is ideal. Also, when wearing shoes, be sure to clean the tattoo afterward.

Can I Wear Socks After I Get My Foot Tattoo?

The same rules for wearing shoes apply to socks after getting a foot tattoo.

If possible, avoiding them at all costs can ensure the tattoo heals to the best of its ability.

As socks are often tighter than shoes, they can rub against the affected area and disrupt healing.

Also, the discomfort from wearing socks after getting a foot tattoo is enough not to wear them.

Opting for sandals and breathable shoes without socks is a better alternative.

Foot Tattoo Aftercare Socks

The best advice for foot tattoo aftercare is to avoid wearing socks, regardless of their material.

It’s also important to avoid using cling wrap after the first day, as it can suffocate the tattoo and lead to infection.

This is why foot tattoos are incredibly popular during summer, as patrons can wear sandals if needed.

Can I Walk With a Foot Tattoo?

Walking with a foot tattoo can be necessary for many instances, but it will feel uncomfortable at first.

After the first few days, when the swelling subsides, walking will become more comfortable.

Moving with a tattoo should be avoided when it’s on the bottom of the foot.

New tattoos shouldn’t be exposed to a marathon a couple of days after the appointment.

Limiting movement is a great way to promote healthier healing.

How To Cover a Foot Tattoo

Once healed, covering a foot tattoo is exceptionally easy by wearing socks.

Also, there are many makeup options for covering tattoos.

Another option is to choose footwear that covers the tattoo so that it can be kept secret.

Celebrities With Foot Tattoos

Some of the most popular celebrities with foot tattoos include:

  • Ariana Grande: Matching “hi” tattoos with Ricky Alvarez
  • Lea Michele: Blue butterflies
  • Alycia Tyre: Rose tattoo
  • Sophie Turner: Her brother’s initials
  • Mandy Moore: Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Margot Robbie: Happy face
  • Rihanna: Music notes
  • Demi Lovato: “Buddy was here”
  • Selena Gomez: “Sunshine”

Tattoo Maintenance Products

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm helps to promote faster healing by offering a moisturizing treatment.

The formula is said to help brighten old tattoos and maintain the pigment of new tattoos.

The chemical-free balm is ideal for use before, during, and after getting a tattoo to ensure the skin is soothed.

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm for Before, During & Post Tattoo – Safe, Natural Tattoo Aftercare Cream – Moisturizing Lotion to Promote Skin Healing (1 Pack)

Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Balm

Instead of applying tattoo balm with the hands, Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Balm is a roll-on product. It glides along the skin to provide hydrating and healing benefits.

In the formula, there’s sea buckthorn oil and natural emollients with a coconut oil base. 

The intense moisturizing benefits of this balm assist with a speedier recovery. Also, it is eco-friendly, making it safe for tattoo aftercare.

Sanibalm PLUS 2 Oz Tattoo Aftercare Non-Petroleum Roll On Balm By Saniderm | Use instead of Lotion Butter Healing Salve Ointment Cream Product

Hustle Butter Deluxe

Another excellent option for tattoo balm before, during, and after tattoos is Hustle Butter Deluxe.

It’s a fantastic vegan alternative for petroleum products and offers many of the same benefits.

Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter for Before, During, & After The Tattoo Process – Lubricates & Moisturizes – 100% Vegan Replacement for Petroleum-Based Products – 5 oz

The formula is easily buildable to optimal hydration and doesn’t clog tubes or remove stencils while tattooing.

For aftercare, the skin will feel more supple and smooth.

A few of the most notable ingredients include aloe butter, coconut, sunflower, rice bran oil, rosemary, vitamin E, and more.

Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage

Instead of using traditional clingfilm, Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage is a safer alternative.

The bandages are made from medical-grade adhesive to help tattoos heal faster without germ exposure.

Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage | 10.2 in x 2 yd Roll | Clear Adhesive Antibacterial Wrap

It also helps to make dark ink set in and assists brighter colors with maintaining their pigment.

The material is thoroughly water-resistant yet still breathable so that the skin can heal quickly.

Also, it’s eco-friendly and vegan without any latex.

Nexcare Tegaderm Waterproof Dressing

For smaller tattoos, Nexcare Tegaderm Waterproof Dressing can be more efficient than clingfilm.

It’s traditionally used in hospitals to offer protection for cuts, blisters, abrasions, and burns.

Nexcare Tegaderm Waterproof Transparent Dressing, The #1 Hospital Brand, 10 Ct, Assorted Sizes

For tattoos, the bandage sticks comfortably to the skin without any irritation.

Clients will love how the bandage stays on while showering, swimming, and other water activities.