Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | Sunday, 11 June 2017

11 Non-Ironic Ankle Tattoos That Will Make You Want To Be Bare Leg Always

11 Non-Ironic Ankle Tattoos That Will Make You Want To Be Bare Leg Always

The Debrief: Small, but perfectly formed

Whether you’re new to the tattoo game or an old timer, a perfectly placed ankle inking is nine minutes of pain worth bearing. Back in the 1990s, every celebrity had a lower-leg ‘tatt, but the trend seemingly dropped off. Now everyone and their mum have a teeny weeny, ultra-delicate inner bicep ink-job, it’s worth thinking below the calf. Consider this: the ankle is rarely seen, never the focal point of attention (unless you want to make it) and yet the skin doesn’t age and sag there when you get older i.e. it’s ideal. Lucky for us bare-ankled fools, Instagram is awash with inspiration, like actual tidal waves of cool girls with ace inkings. Just be warned, you’ll want to be bare legged from here on out. 

1. Inspiration For: A Small Ankle Tattoo


fly @bellahadid #jonboytattoo

A post shared by c/s ∴jon✞boy∴ p/v (@jonboytattoo) on Jan 15, 2017 at 4:00pm PST

What could be more fly than Bella Hadid’s itty biddy Hermes wings on each foot by tattooist to the stars Jon Boy Tattoo?

2. Inspiration For: An Ankle Tattoo That’s More Leg Than Ankle


By @emilymalice #intoyoutattoolondon

A post shared by intoyoulondon (@intoyoutattoolondon) on Jul 16, 2016 at 9:53am PDT

The only problem with an ankle tattoo is that there isn’t much creative space for pinprick artists to be let loose on. So consider, moving the canvas ever so slightly above the ankle, so there’s more room achieve the dream effect.

3. Inspiration For: A Wordy Ankle Tattoo


#internettrouble #kovacsofficial just a SUGAR PILL // very cool little project with @kovacsofficial

A post shared by tattooing your beautiful kids (@ripmaison) on May 6, 2017 at 4:07am PDT

A word to the wise, a tattoo is obviously for life, so make sure you’ve triple-checked for typos and spelling errors. As silly as it sounds, a stray misspelling is more common that you’d think. Also consider font, placement and size. We’re particularly keen on this back of the ankle ink-job as it makes a strong impact. 

4. Inspiration For: An Ankle Tattoo With Flowers That Aren’t Chintzy

Chelsea Flower Show can keep its bouquets; we’re stanning for wreaths only from now on. 

5. Inspiration For: An Ankle Tattoo Bracelet That’s Not So ‘90s It Hurts



A post shared by c/s ∴jon✞boy∴ p/v (@jonboytattoo) on Apr 26, 2017 at 12:58pm PDT

Proving it’s possible to both have a bracelet and words on one tasteful inking. Thinking of dedicating a ‘tatt to someone? You could try integrating a phrase that means something to both of you into a delicately designed anklet. 

6. Inspiration For: An Ankle Tattoo With Meaning Everyone Will Relate To


A post shared by naomi shimada (@naomishimada) on Dec 26, 2016 at 3:35pm PST

If you zoom in (a lot) you’ll see Naomi Shimada has a teeny tiny tattoo of two side-by-side female sex signs. While we don’t know exactly what was running through her mind when she got inked, it sends a powerful pro-female message. 

7. Inspiration For: An Actually Unique Ankle Tattoo Of Stars

From intergalactic constellations to anarchic and colourful, there are so many different types of star tattoo designs out there. This little cluster of celestial objects stands out because of its simplicity. 

8. Inspiration For: A Guys Ankle Tattoo Girls Will Want


Handpoked today at @loveletters_tattoo □

A post shared by Grace Neutral (@graceneutral) on Mar 10, 2017 at 6:35pm PST

Gender divisions are just an abstract concept, so don’t let it stop you from getting the inking you want. If you want a hand-poke tattoo of a knife by Grace Neutral, go ahead and get it!

9. Inspiration For: A Butterfly Ankle Tattoo That Won’t Make You Cringe

There are so many different varieties of butterflies out fluttering their wings in this big wide world, so make sure yours is as unique as this little creature is. Consider integrating it into a floral design, or having its complex anatomy carefully annotated for a unique spin.

10. Inspiration For: An Arty Ankle Tattoo

Professional ink-er Gabby Colledge does a mean line in Matisse silhouettes if you’re in the market for a Tate-worthy ‘tatt. 

11. Inspiration For: A Sentimental Ankle Tattoo



A post shared by Bang Bang Tattoo (@bangbangnyc) on Jan 13, 2017 at 2:08pm PST

Always have your pets running by your side with a sweet micro-portrait of your favourite pup on your ankle. 

We caught up with the master pinprick-ers at famed Frith Street Tattoo in London to get the low-down on everything you KTW about ankle tattoos:

How painful are ankle tattoos?

Ankle tattoos aren't especially more painful that anywhere else on the body. The sensation is best described as a sharp scratch. 

Can you use an ankle tattoo to cover a scar?

As with anywhere else on the body tattoos on the ankle can cover scars but its best to seek advice from your tattooist. Scars must be completely healed and settled which in some cases may take a year or more as-as the scar changes it will change any tattoo over it. Scar tissue is more delicate than the rest of your skin so must be treated with care, and a design that bears this in mind is best. The line quality over the scar may differ from the rest of the tattoo, so something a little bolder often works better. 

What do you do when your ankle tattoo starts scabbing?

All tattoos must be kept clean and dry. We advise customers to wash them twice a day with hot water and a plain soap for the first few days and then once a day when you shower. Washing them is good, but you want to avoid soaking healing tattoos as this can cause the scab to soften and lift off before it is ready. Don't pick the scab as this can cause a delay in healing and cause patchy colour and be sure not to wear clothing or shoes that rub on the tattoo. You don't need any fancy creams or tattoo aftercare; the body heals the tattoo, not creams. If you keep it clean and dry, you allow your body to heal         

Any ankle can tattoo tips for a pinprick newbie?

Take your time and find a tattooer with a strong portfolio and then listen to their advice. The skin on the heel and towards the sole of the foot is hard and tough and doesn't hold a clean line so well, so listen to your tattooers advice about the best placement and size. Simple designs work best if you want something small as tattoos soften as they get older so how they age needs to be considered in the initial application.

Say I hate it, how hard is it to remove an ankle tattoo?

If you aren't 100% sure about getting a tattoo or your design, then don't do it! Tattoos aren't for everyone, and that's ok. But if you want it and have found a good tattooer and taken their advice go for it. Laser removal is pretty good these days but will always leave some kind of mark even if faint, so it's best used to lighten a design to cover it up more easily. 

Ok, so my pain threshold isn’t that high, can I get my ankle tattoo covered up with a new design?

Cover ups can be done dependent on the original design, but it's a small space which can make it very tricky. So if in doubt hold off getting something. A tattoo is for life, that's part of the appeal.

Liked this? You might also be interested in:

Apparently Talking Tattoos Are Now A Thing

The Politics Of Getting A Matching Tattoo With Your Mate

We Found Some Really Cute Hand Tattoo Ideas For You

Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

Tags: Tattoos