Definition of instep in English:



  • 1The part of a person's foot between the ball and the ankle.

    • ‘I can't think of any other striker who would have taken that chance with the instep of his right foot.’
    • ‘Even the non-gymnasts could see that Miss Korbut wore a bandage of tape on her left ankle and instep for some of the routines, and Miss Tourischeva had an elastic brace on her left knee.’
    • ‘For example, walking socks provide extra padding on the ball, heel, and instep of your foot to cushion your foot.’
    • ‘Padding on the heel, ball of the foot, and instep provides extra cushioning and blister protection, and eases pressure from laces and boot folds.’
    • ‘Rikarian's bow was less involved, his feet parallel, his left instep even with his toes.’
    • ‘The instep is not usually where one finds a varicosity, but that was the source of her discomfort.’
    • ‘It becomes superficial and descends with the great saphenous vein along the medial border of the tibia as far as the middle of the instep.’
    • ‘Open your stance slightly, play the ball back - opposite the instep of your right foot - and make a steep, aggressive swing.’
    • ‘Place the center of an exercise band under the instep of your right foot and grasp an end of the band in each hand: you may have to carefully roll any excess band around your hands if it doesn't provide enough tension.’
    • ‘Your stance should be open, and you should play the ball off your left instep.’
    • ‘With him still conscious, they hammered spikes through his wrists and insteps, and into the wood.’
    • ‘Shoes should be snug but not tight over the instep.’
    • ‘The feet are particularly detailed, with their curled toes and arched insteps anxiously paddling the empty air.’
    • ‘Paramedics managed to find and pinch off the severed artery across his instep.’
    • ‘With the instep of his left foot, he barely looked up before flighting it first-time into the far corner.’
    • ‘If attacking his right leg then your left instep is behind his right knee.’
    • ‘The narrower heel, higher arch, and lower-volume instep faithfully fit a woman's foot and of course men with narrow feet.’
    • ‘But for me, this is the best part of the whole exercise, as firm fingers and thumbs work around the ankles, under the soles of the feet, between toes and over the instep.’
    • ‘Achieve this by moving the left knee back behind the ball, rolling off the left instep or picking up the left heel.’
    • ‘As he swings, instead of pivoting on the ball of his back foot, the foot turns on the instep.’
    • ‘Dig a little deeper into the sand with the instep of your right foot and the outside of your left.’
    a little at a time, piece by piece, bit by bit, gradually, slowly, in stages, in steps, step by step, little by little, by degrees, by fits and starts, in fits and starts, in bits
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The part of a shoe which fits over or under the instep.
      ‘the shoes are comfortable because they have a moulded instep’
      • ‘It's kind of a pain to have to kick the instep every few minutes, is there a fix?’
      • ‘He stood outside, briskly polishing the insteps of his brogues.’
      • ‘And then as I continued to watch I noticed at the upturn of every foot a flash of white label on the instep.’
      • ‘There's no time to talk about insteps and polymerized rubber soles.’
      • ‘The tight pant legs just touch the top of the boot heel in back and break one time on the instep.’
      • ‘Generally, dancers with inflexible feet prefer to cut off the shank in the instep near the heel.’
      • ‘The mud on the insteps of your boots remains despite the boot scraper and has therefore dried on hard - a characteristic of the farmyard.’
      • ‘He has the sense to wear a nice suit in a dark navy wool but matches it with terrible, cheap loafers with a metal bar across the instep that are in desperate need of a polish and a reheel.’
      • ‘There were worn spots on both of the insteps where he'd rubbed the leather paper-thin.’
      • ‘In the book The Sign of Four, Holmes notices a particular ‘reddish mould’ on his offsider Watson's instep.’
      • ‘Iron and stone were used for footwear and some 13th-Century, middle-class citizens wore shoes with insteps inlaid with diamonds and rubies.’
      • ‘Instead of his usual suit, he was dressed casually in an open-necked knit shirt, and light-colored slacks, and soft Italian shoes with little tassels over the instep.’
      • ‘Always be sure that your pants break over your shoe instep to create the illusion of a longer leg.’
      • ‘Instead, select a different shaped instep such as slightly angled cut in the front or a completely square sole.’
      • ‘Designed for the slimmer female foot, the narrow Zlipper has an amplified instep and a smaller heel cup.’
      • ‘The most popular ones are those with a single band going across the instep.’
      • ‘Those nice muddy sneakers with HotWheels cars on the instep - how could he resist?’
    2. 1.2A thing shaped like the inner arch of a foot.


Late Middle English: of unknown origin; compare with West Frisian ynstap opening in a shoe for insertion of the foot.