Definition of instep in US English:



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

    • ‘If attacking his right leg then your left instep is behind his right knee.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rikarian's bow was less involved, his feet parallel, his left instep even with his toes.’
    • ‘Achieve this by moving the left knee back behind the ball, rolling off the left instep or picking up the left heel.’
    • ‘Your stance should be open, and you should play the ball off your left instep.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I can't think of any other striker who would have taken that chance with the instep of his right foot.’
    • ‘Shoes should be snug but not tight over the instep.’
    • ‘Padding on the heel, ball of the foot, and instep provides extra cushioning and blister protection, and eases pressure from laces and boot folds.’
    • ‘Dig a little deeper into the sand with the instep of your right foot and the outside of your left.’
    • ‘Paramedics managed to find and pinch off the severed artery across his instep.’
    • ‘As he swings, instead of pivoting on the ball of his back foot, the foot turns on the instep.’
    • ‘Open your stance slightly, play the ball back - opposite the instep of your right foot - and make a steep, aggressive swing.’
    • ‘The feet are particularly detailed, with their curled toes and arched insteps anxiously paddling the empty air.’
    • ‘The narrower heel, higher arch, and lower-volume instep faithfully fit a woman's foot and of course men with narrow feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The instep is not usually where one finds a varicosity, but that was the source of her discomfort.’
    • ‘With the instep of his left foot, he barely looked up before flighting it first-time into the far corner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With him still conscious, they hammered spikes through his wrists and insteps, and into the wood.’
    • ‘For example, walking socks provide extra padding on the ball, heel, and instep of your foot to cushion your foot.’
    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. 1.1 The part of a shoe that fits over or under the instep of a foot.
      ‘the shoes are comfortable because they have a molded instep’
      • ‘Those nice muddy sneakers with HotWheels cars on the instep - how could he resist?’
      • ‘The mud on the insteps of your boots remains despite the boot scraper and has therefore dried on hard - a characteristic of the farmyard.’
      • ‘It's kind of a pain to have to kick the instep every few minutes, is there a fix?’
      • ‘Iron and stone were used for footwear and some 13th-Century, middle-class citizens wore shoes with insteps inlaid with diamonds and rubies.’
      • ‘The most popular ones are those with a single band going across the instep.’
      • ‘There were worn spots on both of the insteps where he'd rubbed the leather paper-thin.’
      • ‘The tight pant legs just touch the top of the boot heel in back and break one time on the instep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He stood outside, briskly polishing the insteps of his brogues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the book The Sign of Four, Holmes notices a particular ‘reddish mould’ on his offsider Watson's instep.’
      • ‘Always be sure that your pants break over your shoe instep to create the illusion of a longer leg.’
      • ‘Generally, dancers with inflexible feet prefer to cut off the shank in the instep near the heel.’
      • ‘There's no time to talk about insteps and polymerized rubber soles.’
      • ‘And then as I continued to watch I noticed at the upturn of every foot a flash of white label on the instep.’
    2. 1.2 A 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’.