Foot fetishism is one of the oldest and most widespread sexual fetishes. The ancient Greek philosopher Philostratus wrote erotic poems titled To a barefoot woman and To a barefoot boy. More recently, in 2008, an Israeli computer programmer started wikiFeet, a website dedicated to sharing and rating photos of famous celebrities’ soles. (Ancient musical high school star Ashley Tisdale has a five-star rating of “beautiful feet.”) But the latest round of #feetpics content presents podiatric photography not just as a popular fetish, but as a savvy financial investment.
On TikTok and YouTube, a growing number of videos with caps-heavy titles like “HOW TO EARN BIG $$$ selling FOOT PHOTOS” and “HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE FROM FOOT PHOTOS” promise to teach users how to make a lot of money quickly by selling photos of their adorable baby walkers. A woman from Suffolk, UK has claimed a client once paid her £15,250 for a single photo of one of the wrinkles on her foot. Another woman on TikTok said people were making $70,000 selling photos of their insteps (though it’s unclear how quickly they brought in that money). These videos have gained hundreds of thousands of views, and the comments below look more like answers to a financial literacy course than fetish-adjacent content.
“I’m a lawyer and a lot of the things you mentioned about standing firm with your price and being professional apply not only [to] content creation but to the white-collar business world,” reads one comment. “I’m literally sitting here talking about how I HAVE TO quit my job and all of a sudden you come across my timeline out of nowhere! I’m trying this for sure! said another.
The premise has become something of a punchline on Instagram, where users will cover their feet with emojis in photos. Whether they caption it or not, the joke is this: no free foot pics. Are foot photos really an easy way to make money? Will posting close-ups of your wrinkled soles earn you millions? Well, as with most big financial promises, the reality is more complicated.
Sativa Skies, 26, also known as Toe Daddy, started the OG Feet website in 2018. She says selling foot pictures is like most other businesses: to make big bucks , it takes a lot of work. “You can step into the world and maybe make $100 very quickly. But if you want it to be something that lets you buy a house or pay your bills, you’re going to have to put a lot into it,” she told Elite Daily. “Whether [you] want to win thousands of dollars, then treat it like a 9 to 5.”
Skies began posting foot photos in earnest on her social media accounts in 2016, after a video she posted of her first pedicure garnered so much engagement that her phone broke. In the comments, followers asked her if she would sell pictures of her feet or sell her socks. “I immediately jumped on it,” she says. “I’ve always been in this business grind.”
In the beginning, she mainly worked from her DMs. The first requests she received were for custom videos – “They told me whatever they wanted. Mostly just ‘sit in front of the camera, show your feet’. That’s pretty self-explanatory. However, creating a unique video for each request was a lot of work, and she wanted to be more methodical in how she created content, so she spent $500 on clothes and turned a room in her house into a movie theater. searches for the type of footer content people wanted to see.
“I have a list of subcultures in the foot fetish community,” she says. “There’s a whole list I have to hit. So if I’m in an outfit, I have to make sure I only have one video and one oil video. (An oil video is a video where the feet are seductively drenched in oil.)
Eventually, Skies collected 20 pre-made foot videos — three to five minutes each — and compiled them into a list with their own numbers and brief descriptions. She would send the list to subscribers who had DMed her, they would make a selection, then they would send her money on Venmo or Cash App in exchange for the video. As time-consuming as going through all the DMs, Skies quickly discovered that she could make more money selling foot pictures than she was making in the retail business she worked at the time.
Today, Skies’ business is booming. She has a part-time employee who edits her videos and schedules her posts, so she can focus more on marketing her business. She estimates that her day-to-day work is now about 20% content creation and 80% marketing, mostly interviewing and online networking. Some of his most lucrative networking endeavors happen on Reddit. “If you go to where the men are, like a Reddit NFT or something, [that’s where] I have more and more clients,” she says. Her videos on OG Feet now cost between $4 and $20, and she brings in around $10,000 a month.
Those numbers are impressive, but Skies is quick to remind me that it wasn’t easy getting here. “When I first created OG Feet, I didn’t take any days off. For three years I didn’t do birthday parties, I worked 15-20 hour days. I love it. I did. And it took a lot of effort.”
“Knowing that there are people out there looking at someone’s foot and thinking, ‘Oh my God, you’re just the best thing ever’ – that’s pretty amazing.”
Sarah Jalees, 34, has also made a business selling foot pictures. Like Skies, she cautioned that it’s more work than most TikTok or YouTube videos would have you believe. “It’s not hard work, but it is work, and you have to do it to build a brand.”
Jalees started selling foot photos in 2017, on a lark. “It started out of curiosity,” she says. “I think my feet are cute, so I told my friends, maybe we should post our foot pics online and see what happens.” Her friends laughed at her, but she decided to go. She started an Instagram devoted to her foot pictures, and before she knew it, people were slipping into her DMs asking for pictures and videos.
Like Skies, Jalees began by responding to individual requests, but eventually developed his own website and content library. Now, content creation is his full-time job. She charges $30 for a basic five-minute video, and more for customizations, and every month she estimates she makes around $2,000 from her videos. “I make sure to tell people that you have to put money into savings because you’re going to have to pay taxes on those.”
As far as expenses go, Jalees gets pedicures twice a month. (She doesn’t recommend gel polish, because even if it lasts longer, “it’s terrible for your nails.”) If a client wants to see a specific color in her videos, she has to cover the cost of changing varnish.
Now, the same friends of Jalees who first laughed at his suggestion to post pictures of feet are asking how they can get in on the game. They’re not alone. Lately, Jalees said he’s seen a huge increase in the number of women trying to make big bucks with their paws.
“There are a lot of girls coming in thinking they’re going to make a quick buck, which has saturated the market,” says Jalees. A saturated market means it takes more work to differentiate and develop a solid customer base that will continue to pay you for content instead of potentially switching to newer, cheaper providers.
Although the supply of foot photos has increased in recent years, Jalees says the demand has stayed about the same. “Demand will always be high,” she explains. “In the vanilla world, there are people who say, ‘This is crazy!’ But I’m like, you have no idea how many people – not just men, but also women – are in it.
Not everyone who sells foot pictures needs or wants this to be their full-time job. Jocey Potts, a mother of four in Canada, started selling foot pictures for a YouTube video in 2019. Then she started getting messages from people on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat asking for more. “I don’t even know if I would consider myself a foot pic seller, per se,” she says. “More like, in a funny way. But all the sales I’ve made are from repeat buyers. If you find a few people who like you, or like your feed, or like what you post in terms personality, they will come back every few weeks to buy again.
Potts didn’t make much with foot pics — only around $500 in the first six months — but she admits she didn’t put in the effort. “In July, I think I made $20, but it was just a few random people that showed up in my inbox.”
What she gained from the experience of selling foot pictures, she says, was a greater confidence in her own body. “My feet are not a part of me that I have ever considered sexual,” she says. “And to know that there are people out there looking at someone’s foot and thinking, ‘Oh my God, you’re just the best thing ever’ – that’s pretty amazing.”
Longtime creators like Jalees and Skies seem perplexed by the recent widespread interest in selling foot photos. Their advice to those who wish to dip their toes (sorry) in the water of the walker? Set aside money for taxes and savings, and keep your skin tight when it comes to reading troll comments. Above all: Even with all the sanitized financial language of many of these new online videos, don’t forget the nature of the work you do.
“Understand that this is sex work,” Jalees says. “Understand that these are the real kinks and fetishes of the people you are dealing with, so they take this very seriously. And if you’re just going for the money, that’s fine, but you still need to know your target audience.