- 1: an impression of the foot on a surface
- 2a : the area on a surface covered by something <a tire with a wide footprint> <the footprint of a laser beam>
- b : range of operation (as of a service) <a global footprint>
- b :• the impact on the environment of human activity in terms of pollution, damage to ecosystems, and the depletion of natural resources: these countries are so populous that they can have a very big footprint.
Footprints (or footmarks) are the impressions or images left behind by a person walking or running. Hoofprints and pawprints are those left by animals with hooves or paws rather than feet, while "shoeprints" is the specific term for prints made by shoes. They may either be indentations in the ground or something placed onto the surface that was stuck to the bottom of the foot. A "trackway" is set of footprints in soft earth left by a life-form; animal tracks are the footprints, hoofprints, or pawprints of an animal.
Footprints can be followed when tracking during a hunt or can provide evidence of activities. Some footprints remain unexplained, with several famous stories from mythology and legend. Others have provided evidence of prehistoric life and behaviours.
The imagery of footprints has been used in many areas of popular culture. Several poems and songs have been written about them, with the Christian poem Footprints in the Sand being one of the best known.
Prints or impressions of a child's feet can be kept as a memento by parents. Usually this is done using paint. The impressions of celebrity's feet, usually in concrete, may be kept in a collection such as that outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.