There was a time when ankle tattoos were seemingly the only show in town. In fact, when I was growing up, if a girl walked into a tattoo shop there was a fifty percent chance she was leaving with a tattoo on her ankle. As times have changed, ankle tattoos aren’t quite as popular as they once used to be, but they are still one of the most commonly inked locations among women. And every woman interested in getting a tattoo has, at one point in time or another, considered getting a tattoo in this lowly location. As you’ll soon discover, the ankle is still a very attractive place to put a tattoo. And the design choices that most of these women have made will definitely convince you of just that. Ahead, 80 of the most adorable ankle tattoos that are all worthy of Oscars.
A watercolor ankle tattoo
The watercolor style is a marvel of modern tattoo design. When it first started to circulate, people flocked to this radical new style like moths to a flame. For obvious reasons, women tend to appreciate this particular style more than men, and when you combine colors like this, it’s easy to see why.
A mermaid’s tail
If this isn’t your favorite design on the list, then you and I have very different tastes. I always try to place what I think are the best designs at the head of the list so that those who don’t have the patience or time to make it through the entire list are at least exposed to some of the better examples on the list. This mermaid tail is gorgeous in its own right, and utilizes that fun peeking-out-of-the-sock concept for novelty’s sake.
A pink rose
Just a heads up, there are multiple floral ankle tattoos on this list. And by “multiple,” I do mean many. The sheer disproportion of floral designs to virtually any other type of ankle tattoo makes it almost impossible not to overrepresent this particular niche. But with gorgeous designs like the one above, I don’t think you’ll mind.
Travel tattoos are super popular right now. And designs that consist of minimalistic compasses and colorful watercolor maps are among my favorites. This design stands out for its crisp lines and perfect font—enough to give anyone the travel bug.
A cherry blossom branch
Floral ankle bands, or “anklets” as they’re sometimes referred to, are beautiful concepts that never seem to get the ink time they deserve. Case in point, this wonderful branch of cherry blossoms that wraps around the ankle. The longer you look at this design, the more beautiful it becomes.
I don’t know what it is about these floral dreamcatchers, but if I had to pick a tattoo design that was “most likely to get inked,” this would definitely be it. This is one of those design concepts that everyone can’t seem to get enough of. I mean, yes they are beautiful and I do love them I’m just not in love with them if you know what I mean.
A floral clock
New and creative concepts are always welcome. This ankle piece was designed to look like a roman numeral clock but it does seem to be missing something. Humm I wonder. Oh, the hands of course! Not that it doesn’t look better without them though.
You don’t need me to tell you how cute baby pandas are. That Youtube video of a baby panda startling its mother with a sneeze probably did more for pandas than all the conservation efforts throughout history combined. Ok, maybe not, but the point is that baby pandas make for adorable little tattoo designs and, well, how cute this this little guy!?
Not all pansies are created equal. These edible flowers come in all sorts of colors and sizes and while the more brightly and lightly colored varieties look undeniably beautiful on the skin, this dark-rimmed design provides a bold and contrasting impact that instantly opens your eyes in amazement.
Baby deer are about as precious as precious gets. All baby dear belong in beds of flowers if you ask me. I can’t help but think how horrible having this design on my ankle would be for my friends and family however as I simply would not be able to stop flexing it wherever we went.
Not gonna lie, I plucked this piece from another list, which is something I absolutely never do. But, hey, things happen sometimes. Obviously the color has been stripped from the rest of the photo to highlight the colors of the koi, but I’m sure this design is just as beautiful in person.
Poppies are one of those flowers that are often seen in photos but rarely seen in real life. That is, unless you happen to be a poppy farmer but I doubt that includes any of our readers. This piece was designed by Con Ele, an amazing and highly underrated artist.
A monster under the bed
I know, you’re probably thinking “What in the world is this design doing on the list?” And while I will admit that it does seem out of place amongst the flowers and other tiny feminine designs, people do have different tastes and seriously this piece was just too cool to pass up. If you’ve ever been afraid of the monsters under your bed, owning this design is a great way to face those fears head on.
For all nature lovers—big or small—this stag with decorative floral antlers is something to admire. This concept is one that I come across from time to time in a variety of different styles. The stag is a majestic and spiritual animal which many people find appealing as a design choice.
This mirror captures a beautiful night sky full of purples and pinks that illustrate Sol’s knack for combining complimentary colors. Ornate frames make for elegant designs when tattooed in stunning detail with a slim needle. As far as ankle tattoos go, it doesn’t get much more impressive than this.
Autumn has come and gone, but there’s always next year, right? Of course the beauty of a leaf changing color is something that transcends seasons, but people tend to get inspired by their surroundings and I’m sure these types of tattoos are mainly done during the fall and winter months. Autumn leaves always evoke an extra large dose of nostalgia for those who grew up in colder climates.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. That may be true. But it’s also true that words can be worth thousands of likes. Which is constantly being demonstrated by the popularity of designs like the one above on Instagram and Pinterest. Words aren’t photos, but they can be just as powerful.
A lotus flower
Whoa. So that’s what it feels like to fall in love. Mini Lau is comfortable in her style and rarely strays. When I visit her portfolio, I know exactly what I’m getting. And what’s so amazing to me is that while her style is somewhat predictable, she always manages to surprise me in the most wonderful of ways.
A tiny lightning bolt
Proof that lightning does come in small packages. Tiny ankle tattoos are something every girl can get behind. Maximum cool with minimum commitment. Hide it, laser it, love it, whatever you choose to do with it you almost certainly won’t regret it.
I’ve always had a fascination with the waves that Hongdam creates. His black and grey ink works of water have an artistic quality to them that make you want to frame and mount them on your wall. This design would be right at home on any woman’s ankle that appreciates fine art.
I love this design but was unable to get to the bottom of its meaning. From what I gather, it’s to honor the memory of someone that was special to the client. Any design that reminds us of someone we love is a good one.
A hand holding a rose
Now this is an interesting concept. The rose already looks three-dimensional on its own, but with the addition of a minimalistic hand it really jumps off the skin. Korean tattooists are well-known for their breathtaking floral tattoos and Silo is one of the best.
A watercolor feather
If you’re the type of girl that lives in her bare feet, take note—an ankle tattoo that spills onto the foot could just be your ticket to greatness. Oranges and pinks make for an attractive yet subtle combination of color that blends in with the neutral palette of the skin.
I don’t know what it is about this particular design but it reminds me of a neon sign just begging to be noticed. It seems as though a cactus would be the last thing in the world that you would want tattooed onto your ankle and yet, I come across them on what seems like a daily basis. Bottom line, cactus tattoos are cooler than you think.
A branch of cherry blossoms
No list would be complete without about a bazillon cherry blossom tattoos. Ya, I tend to get sick of them too, or at least I think I do, but it’s then that I see something as beautiful as the design above and then it’s love at first sight all over again.
The tattoo industry sure has come a long way in the past few decades. And it’s designs like this that we take for granted everyday yet when you think about the creative genius that it took to envision something like this it tends to put things into perspective. Thirty years ago tattoos like this were simply unheard of.
A floral whale design
It should come as no surprise that tattoo artists are great at staging photos. After all, they are artists. Maybe it’s just a case of the eye seeing what it wants to see, but I swear sometimes that wardrobes are selected to go with the designs on many occasions.
A gradient crescent moon
If you asked me what the trendiest, most in vogue tiny tattoo was right now, I’d tell you that it’s the crescent moon without hesitation. Is it any of these things to me? No. Is it one of my favorite designs? No. But that probably has something to do with its unrelenting presence in my everyday life because IT IS an undeniably beautiful design.
Okay, now this has to be the hippest ankle tattoo I’ve ever seen. Aside from the heavy haze of Photoshop magic (on the feet), just about every other aspect of this image is perfect. Minimalistic leaves sporting bold and beautiful lines are everything I never knew I needed.
A watercolor fox
Some artists remove all the color from their photos to really make their designs pop. It’s a practice that I don’t love or hate, it’s just different. However, I do enjoy the way natural skin tones fill a composition with warmth, which seems to be missing here.
I included this design simply because it looked cool but I could not for the life of me figure out what it’s supposed to represent. If anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you. I’m sure it’s right out there within arms reach but my Googling skills aren’t what they should be.
A micro peony bouquet
I see a lot of peony tattoos but they always seem to be of the larger variety. Which is why seeing this ever-so-tiny and super adorable design is a breath of fresh air. When it comes to miniature floral designs, Sol Studio is absolutely killing it.
The only thing that’s more impressive than this little ladybug tattoo is perhaps the photo of the design itself. A tattoo artist’s second most important piece of kit is his or her camera. That’s why I always have a personal facepalm moment when I see a blurry photo of a design.
A mile high view
This design appears to have a subtle concave trait to it which leads me to believe that it’s supposed to have a rounded appearance to it like a smooth stone. I’ve seen a fair amount of airplane window designs over the past few months but this is a pleasant and creative surprise.
A betta fish
I always feel bad for those betta fish at the store that have been confined to a life of captivity and claustrophobia. But then I read somewhere that fish only have a three second memory or something, which makes me feel a little better. But like, how do they determine the memory span of a fish?
If you’re looking for something tiny yet still drop dead gorgeous then I’d be willing to bet that a tiny blossom like the one pictured above would accomplish both of those things and more. This is a pretty close up shot but I still feel that there’s more detail to be discovered in this design. Mini Lau does cute like no one else.
A couple curious critters
Now if you’re looking for something small and super cute that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but, these adorable little creatures will definitely accomplish just that. Some designs were just made for Instagram and yes, I couldn’t be happier about it.
A crescent moon
Here we have another crescent moon design, and I have to say, it sure is beautiful. There are a few artists that have really got this particular design down to a science, and Doy is definitely one of them. Mini Lau also happens to love incorporating these less-than-full moons into her designs and the world is undoubtedly a better place for it.
A cool floral wrap
There are a lot of floral ankle tattoos on this list but most of them are realistic in nature. This example is a breath of fresh air and an amazing example of just how interesting other styles can be. And those shoes!
A tiny watercolor wing that makes the rounded bottom of your fibula fly! Wing tattoos have always been a favorite of mine—especially when paired with a pair of furry slides.
Because why the heck not? I mean, who doesn’t like cupcakes? Tattoos should be fun. And when you’re getting a design as small as the cupcake above, the subject matter really isn’t as important as you would imagine. A vice, a trinket, an everyday obsession. These are just the kind of things that make for meaningful tattoo designs.
If you’re looking to keep things simple yet fascinating and beautiful at the same time, then this is your design. This sunflower appears ordinary and orderly from a distance and boasts a pleasant symmetrical shape, but upon closer inspection you start to notice the wonderful amount of detail that gives this seemingly simple design tons of depth and dimension.
This is another one of those designs that you would never guess how wildly popular it is. I looked at what may have been 30 or 40 of these leaf designs and ended up including a few out of pure pressure it seemed. Take a close look. The detail that went into this design is nothing short of extraordinary.
For me, it’s the life-like texture of the feathers that brings me into this design. But that doesn’t mean I’m unable to recognize and appreciate the beauty of the watercolor whale which serves as the focal point of this design. Maybe some day I’ll dedicate an entire list to dreamcatcher ankle tattoos, I know there’s enough of them.
So simple yet so much more than your run of the mill rose tattoo. This goes to show just how much seven little letters can do for a design no matter how big or how small it may be. Roses are red, that much is true, but black and grey ink designs are beautiful too.
An abstract watercolor design
Many artists make a living solely on their ability to combine colors in just the right way. And while there’s obviously so much more to Cynthia’s work than just color, her understanding of which colors look good together is something that’s always stood out to me.
A blue and purple rose
Using a combination of blue and purple inks, Korean tattoo artist Greem was able to turn an otherwise empty outline into something you can get lost in for hours. Okay, maybe not hours but you could definitely burn through a few songs on your playlist lost in the beauty of this design.
A sperm whale
Sperm whales are by far the best looking whales. 99 out of 100 whale tattoos are modeled after humpback whales but isn’t this Moby Dick-esque whale so much more interesting to look at? I mean, these are the whales from storybooks, no?
Unicorn tattoos sure have come a long ways in the last 40 years. Well, I guess that could be said about each and every tattoo design, but when you look back and remember the days of the My Little Pony-esque unicorn tattoos, you can’t help but notice how developed and polished today’s designs have become.
A small bouquet
Nemo is another artist I only recently had the pleasure of discovering on Instagram. Nemo’s style is similar to that of many other Korean artist’s, which tends to favor smaller and more intricate designs. This bouquet has a great representation of color and is everything you could possible hope for in a tiny floral ankle tattoo.
Like I mentioned before, every artist has their own unique style and you can always tell by the way they create flowers. This gorgeous pink peony has a “painted” look to it and reminds you of a still life by one of the Old Masters.
An ice cream cone
A floral ice cream cone is something you never would have imagined before walking into a studio. But if you left with one, and it looked liked this, I don’t think you would have any grounds for complaint. Flower, keep tatting those ice cream cones ’cause they’re friggin’ beautiful.
A floral wreath
Adding a little elegance and sophistication to your ankle is never a bad idea. Baby blue and light pink have always been one of my favorite color combinations and this charming floral design does an amazing job of representing both colors.
Look familiar? Yes, this is the second fawn to appear on the list so please forgive me as it seems I got a little carried away. Sometimes the subject and composition of an image is just too good to pass up. But of course I’m sure that none of you will notice let alone mind.
An ornamental design
Since the whole tattoo industry went and got itself in a big dang hurry, many of the traditional designs, which were once a common sight, aren’t as popular as they used to. Simple, ornamental patterns as seen in the example above, are beautiful works of art which will never go out of style.
If you’re a die-hard nature lover, then flora and fauna designs may not cut it. Baby deer and tiny clusters of wildflowers are beautiful, but mountain peaks are majestic and awe-inspiring. Hongdam’s waves and mountain tattoos are expertly illustrated with his signature dotwork texture.
A small feather
Small feathers are one of the most commonly inked tiny tattoos I come across. The whole slim needle movement has given artists the ability to capture the random nature of the details that make feathers so unique. Feathers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and this small black ink feather looks just as beautiful as its more colorful counterparts.
People love their pets. And love has always been a motivating factor when it comes to getting a tattoo—which is why cat and dog tattoos are a common sight across social media. I’ve seen a lot of cat tattoos, and I have to say, this design is as unique as it is special.
A purple rose
Roses have long been among the most popular ankle tattoos. In fact, if you told me that roses were the most popular ankle tattoos of all time, I would believe you. And as far as rose tattoos go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Tiny bee tattoos are anything but common. So if you’re looking for a small and cute design that’s surprisingly original, one of nature’s best matchmakers may just be the perfect design for you. Bees are black and yellow, but most of the tattoos I come across are done solely in black and grey ink.
Dolphins, roses, butterflies, these are the designs that first come to mind when someone puts the words “ankle” and “tattoo” together. Yes, butterfly ankle tattoos are almost as cliche as dolphins, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful—especially when you have someone as talented as Mini Lau working the needle.
A watercolor poppy
Georgia Grey is one of my favorite watercolor artists. And when I say artist, I do mean artist. Each of her pieces look as if they should be hanging in a gallery somewhere. She’s known for her abstract watercolor strokes which are always done in the most tasteful way imaginable.
If you love your dog as much as I do, then getting his or her paw prints tattooed on your ankle is a touching tribute which I can guarantee you’ll never regret. The only thing that stops me from getting some sort of tattoo in memory of my dogs is that I get way too emotional when I think of them.
A beautiful floral piece
Apparently, floral tattoos aren’t simply beautiful decorations for your ankle—they’re also the bane of every sock manufacturer’s existence. That’s right, there’s nothing Fruit of the Loom hates more than a gorgeous floral ankle tattoo that just begs to be displayed.
A Hokusai wave
The Hokusai wave (as seen above) is from a famous Japanese painting. You’ve probably seen this design around from time to time and it continues to grow in popularity as a tattoo design.
A pink flower
Amanda Wachob creates some of the most extraordinary floral designs you will ever see. Amanda’s work has always been realistic and unique, but this is the first time I’ve seen a design that she created possess such depth and dimension. The shadows present illustrate a three-dimensional effect that makes the flower look as if its resting peacefully on the skin.
A world map
Ensure that your passion for travel is always on display with the quintessential travel tattoo. Maps and compasses go together—there’s no denying that. And with the whole social media travel boom still in full effect, tattoos like the one above are constantly popping up which just goes to show how intoxicating the urge to travel can be.
A whale’s tail
This protruding whale tail is a wonderful example of impressionism. Most landscape tattoos are realistic in nature, but in time, lines start to soften and everything develops an impressionistic vibe. However, this particular design was given its artistic characteristics right from the get go.
A koi constellation
A Pisces tat to be more specific. Although astrology symbols aren’t as popular as they was were, having your sign on your ankle is still as cool as ever in my book. A bold Pisces constellation is set amongst a few delicately drawn fish.
A black and grey ink lotus
The lotus flower is symbolic of purity of the body. And if you’ve ever seen a lotus flower in its natural habitat, you’ll instantly recognize why. It’s surprising how such a beautiful flower can be born in such an ugly environment. Okay, maybe ugly is too strong of a word, but the dingy ponds where lotus flowers are found are always in stark contrast with their vibrant color and beautiful form.
Here’s to that family member that’s just so special you had to immortalize in ink forever. They don’t hold grudges, and they’ll never betray you. Stricter animal rights laws is something our society desperately needs.
A balloon & moon
In case you didn’t know, Mini Lau creates these beautiful balloons that somehow incorporate what seems like every color under the rainbow. If you’re not sure what type of design you want, a quick look through your artist’s portfolio is usually inspiring. Each artist has their own strengths, and using this to your advantage tends to go a long way as far as your overall satisfaction is concerned when everything is said and done.
That rounded bone in your ankle is actually the bottom of your fibula. Incorporating this bone into your design is something many people choose to do. This lavender sprig appears as if it’s draped over the bone, which adds a little creativity to the mix.
A playful watercolor flower
Many artists who favor the watercolor style go out of their way to illustrate the more obvious watercolor traits such as droplets of water and less-than-precise filling techniques. But tattoo artist Arar uses the style to expertly fill her pieces in a tidy and precise manner, focusing her efforts fading and transition.
A galaxy peach
Take a close look. This peach features a galaxy full of stars and demonstrates how a little creativity can be added to an otherwise ordinary design. You wouldn’t think that peaches would be popular ankle tattoos. Yet I came across about 10 different examples while putting this list together.
Imagine how cool you would be sunbathing on a beach in Saint-Tropez with this cute little ankle tattoo. Anklets are one of the most iconic ankle tattoos and they’re definitely overdue for a big comeback.
A tiny red heart
Kids in the car? Dinner on the stove? If you want to be in and out in under a minute, then this little red heart is the perfect ankle tattoo for you. I’m just kidding of course. I don’t condone leaving your kids in the car under any circumstances unless they’re 40 and still living in your basement.
A palm leaf
This delicate leaf almost looks like a feather. Now that I think of it, upon closer inspection, it might just be a feather. Either way, I think we can agree that it’s a pretty powerful design all things considered.
A small blue rose
Again, thank the slim needle movement for making designs like this possible. My mother has a rose tattoo. And as far as quality is concerned, well, let’s just say that her design occupies a place on the complete opposite end of the quality spectrum.
Watercolor cherry blossoms
No two cherry blossom tattoos are alike. And you can believe me when I say that, because trust me, I’ve seen them all. If a cherry blossom is something you’re seriously considering, please do us all a favor and get something original like the beautiful example above.