Celeb Tattoo Artist Reveals How To Flatter Your Feet & Shoes Like Chic Stars

Sure, sheer ankle socks or bracelets make fine companion pieces to a new pair of shoes — but an edgier way to complement your footwear is with a striking tattoo design.

Rihanna, Nicole Richie and Lea Michele are among a boldface roster of red carpet stunners who have flattered their feet with trendy style statements in ink.

Anouk pumps, jimmy choo, tattoo, feet, charlize theron, bra, dior
Charlize Theron wears a Dior bralette with Jimmy Choo’s Anouk pumps, which highlighted tattoos around her foot.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

When Charlize Theron stepped out to promote her action flick “Atomic Blonde” on July 17, the Oscar winner wore a minimalist head-to-toe white ensemble that included Jimmy Choo’s Anouk pumps — a silhouette that revealed a fish around the back of her ankle and a flower close to the topline.

Charlize Theron showcases a floral tattoo design around her toes, at left, and Jimmy Choo sandals that flaunt a fish tattoo.


Theron’s tattoo style — small and linear-flowing — aligns with the curves of the foot and ankle.

Such strategic placements and designs can yield plenty of slick style moments that can make your shoes more noticeable, explained celebrity tattoo artist Zoey Taylor of The Warren, who counts Sofia Vergara and Rumer Willis among her clients.

rihanna, christian louboutin, tattoos
Rihanna highlights tattoos around her foot in Christian Louboutin pumps.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

“I like something that curves and plays with the ankle and then sweeps down into the foot, or something that draws the eye along the outside edge of the foot and across — above the toes,” Taylor said of flattering areas of the foot to highlight with smart shoe silhouettes. “Tiny symbols between the ankle and Achilles are always cute, too. I like tattoos to fit the area well rather than looking stuck on.”

Of course, sandals and many pump styles can work harmoniously with tattoo designs, and for ink around the ankle, some low-top athletic shoes won’t cover up the artwork. “Delicate lettering is always one of my favorites on the foot and ankle, and drippy chandelier anklets — small symbols tucked in behind the ankle bone.”

Baby2Baby gala, christian louboutin, nicole richie, tattoo, foot
Nicole Richie wears a white dress with cape and matching Christian Louboutin pumps at the 2014 Baby2Baby gala in L.A.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock
Baby2Baby gala, christian louboutin, nicole richie, tattoo, foot
Detail of Nicole Richie’s ankle tattoo that complements her Christian Louboutin pumps.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

However, Taylor warns that most areas covered by a ballet flat are “not ideal for tattooing.”

When it comes to color, Taylor said black will stay bold longer than other hues, and designs that incorporate many colors will have a “softer appearance.”

“That’s exactly what you want if you’re going for a Hindi or henna look,” Taylor added. “Just be wary of the parts of your foot with tougher skin, such as near the heel, because it won’t hold ink well.”

Click through the gallery to see how other celebs complemented their foot and ankle tattoos with shoes.

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