Throwback to the ’90s with These Ankle Tattoos for Women

In the 1990s, ankle tattoos were one of the tattoos for women to get. Placed well below human eye level, they were a subtle yet unhidden option, especially as a first tattoo. Like many ‘90s trends, ankle tattoos for women faded from popularity for a while. However, fads have a way of popping back up every 20 years or so, making the ankle tattoo’s recent return (along with bike shorts, slide sandals, and the TV show Friends) seem right on time.

Ankle Tattoos for Women
Photo by Rachel McDermott on Unsplash

Why Ankle Tattoos for Women are Awesome

In the late 1800s, showing any part of the leg in public – including the ankle – was considered scandalous. Thankfully, a lot has changed in fashion and propriety since then. But there’s still an aura of femininity and sensuality associated with the ankle, an otherwise unassuming body part possessed by all genders alike.
For those who want their ink visible but don’t want it to be the first thing people see, the ankle is a great location. It’s often exposed yet easily hidden under socks, tights, or a pair of trousers. It’s a perfect spot for a tiny tattoo or a larger one that spreads across the foot or leg.
Like a fierce pair of shoes, a strong ankle tattoo can make women feel powerful and sexy. In contrast, a soft, delicate design gives off a sweet and feminine vibe.

Two Things to Consider Before You Get an Ankle Tattoo

Before choosing the ankle for your next tattoo, there are a couple of things you might want to consider.

Ankle Tattoos Can Hurt. A Lot.

First, the honest truth: ankle tattoos hurt. The foot and ankle are considered some of the worst places to get a tattoo. It’s because the skin is thin, stretched over the foot and ankle bones. The good news is that your pain level depends on a few factors: your pain tolerance, exactly where you place your tattoo (the inside is fleshier and less painful), and the size and complexity of the design. Plus, a great tattoo just might be worth the pain.

Ankle Tattoos Might Fade

Tattoos are more likely to fade in spots with a lot of friction. This includes hands, along the bra line, and, yes, ankles and feet. Every time you put on shoes or socks or even a pair of jeans, you’ll rub the tattoo. You can always get a faded tattoo touched up down the road. Just make sure you’re okay with the possibility of fading before you commit.

Ankle Tattoos to Inspire You

Ready for some ankle inspiration? Here are some of the best ankle tattoos we’ve seen that take this 90s trend into the 21st century!

Celebrity Ankle Tattoos

Singer Halsey is always ready for the fight with this blade strapped to her ankle.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by halsey (@iamhalsey)

American actress Ronni Hawk has a tiny Queen of Hearts inked in the spot.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by winterstone (@winterstone)

Always ahead of the trend, Rihanna got 1988, her birth year, inked in 2015.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri)

When their daughter was born, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott got matching butterfly tattoos to mark the occasion.

Actress Busy Phillips got this illustration from her book inked on her ankle in 2019.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Busy Philipps (@busyphilipps)

Billie Lourd, daughter of Carrie Fisher and an actress in her own right, got this galaxy tattoo in memory of her late mom, who also had her own space-themed tattoo.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Billie Lourd (@praisethelourd)

Ankle Tattoos for Women Who Rock

The addition of long black nails takes this rock-inspired tattoo to the next level.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kota Williams (@tattoosbykota)

And this one is a perfect combination of sweet and macabre, with flowers and bones.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dani Rae Suiter (@danidanimals)

Botanical Tattoos

Botanical tattoos are super popular, and they can fit anywhere on the body – including the ankle, like this beautiful floral piece.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Molly Garnham (@mollypaigetattoos)

And how cute are these mushrooms?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by April Julia (

If black and grey isn’t your thing, you can always add color to your botanical tattoos for a totally different effect.

Lavender symbolizes serenity and calmness, and we’re feeling it in this soothing crystal and lavender tattoo.

What, you don’t pair your flowers with dinosaurs? After seeing this cute ink, we’re wondering why not.

Anklet Tattoos

Why fiddle with a real anklet when you can have one permanently inked? This one shows off a love of music.

And we love the subtle blue and white inks used in this delicate version.

Snake and Butterfly Tattoos for the Ankle

We’re mesmerized by this bold snake tattoo that wraps around the ankle.

This traditional-style butterfly tattoo is a coverup, but you’d never know it. It’s perfect on the ankle.

Another butterfly, but this one offers a fresh take on the ankle band.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Beckss_tattooer (@beckss_tattooer)

Word Tattoos

We’re all about inked reminders, like to enjoy life and strive for balance.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by vibe tattoo studio (@vibetattoo.ut)

It seems like the 90s were on to something with the ankle tattoo trend! And, as with any tattoo location, the possibilities are endless. For more inspiration, be sure to check out the Tattooed Women Gallery. You can even submit photos of your ink to share with others!