Can someone tell me what exactly "footsies" are and how to play "footsies"?


I played at a local tournament and I lost to a good player in a casual match. I asked him for pointers and he basically told me that I need to use my buttons better. I have to figure out what my character can do, what they can’t do and play a better footsie game. I didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking what footsies are because apparently I don’t play them well.

So, what are footsies? How do I play footsies? How do I do it well? Are whiff punishes a part of footsies?


this is a pretty good starting point and runs down how it basically works.


Maj’s Footsies Handbook is also worth a read as well;


you do not need to drown yourself in theory to become masterful at footsies. it simply requires excellent judgment of spacing and angle of your character’s attacks. You must come to know the exact range and hitboxes of all of your buttons, and when to use what buttons and when. it is all about hitboxes!!! use your hitboxes to their best capability…hit sweeps at max distance, outpoke characters by knowing what button they are likely to press in what situation. strike from the right angle at the right time.

that said, some characters have good footsie potential, some bad, some matchup dependent…there’s only one way to master footsies, and it is like anything else in fighting games…practice, study, assess, and also know when to stop thinking and just fight.

go to training mode with your character and try out all of your moves and assess yourself their use. then watch high level players


Start with StoneDrum’s advice. Then once you get better at using your buttons you can read the articles on sonichurricane. The sonichurricane stuff is really good, but you won’t really grok the advice until you’re experienced the situations yourself which comes with playing over time.


So you’re both standing near each other, right? And you wanna put your foot out to touch him. But he wants to put his foot out to touch you, too. So maybe you stand back and play hard to get, then stick your foot out farther than he can stick his out. But maybe he just waits for you to stick your foot out, and then touches your foot with his foot. Das footsies


Here’s a good video to watch from Floe:


That’s a bad video.

If you think of your moveset as a set of tools (just the normals and grounded movement - for now), then the application and use of these tools in the neutral game to accomplish a specific goal (or goals) can be thought of as “footsies”, although generally it’s better to think in terms of overall strategy (what if your character doesn’t have good footsie tools?).

Now when you consider all the ways different tools can be used to compliment each other, then you’ll understand why learning footsies can be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of fighting games.

Once you understand this, you will also hopefully not the mistake of looking at moves in a bubble (in other words, just their own individual raw properties ). And you will see the broader picture rather than just one aspect (like whiff punishing…). It’s really pointless if you understand all the ranges, speeds etc of moves but you don’t know how to use them in matches. Even if you are the best at whiff punishing, what good is it if you don’t know how to create a scenario where whiff punishment becomes a viable option? It’s the same as repeating combos in training mode but not knowing how to land them.

Think of the moves in terms of actual combat. That includes movement. Start small.

For example, what are the implications of walking forward?

  • It claims space on the stage
  • It reduces the gap between you and the opponent
  • It offers the least in terms of defense - you can get hit high or low
  • It is an offensive move - it has the same psychological effect as attacking (don’t worry if you don’t understand this yet)

Then think about the possible ways an opponent can react to this (and in an actual match, which way they are most likely to react).

  • They can remain stationary
  • They can walk backwards to maintain the distance between them and yourself
  • They can try to stop you with a defensive poke or projectile
  • They can try to jump at you
  • They can walk forward and try to engage you in grounded combat (a “footsie battle”)

Once you know this, you think about how you can compliment “walking forward” with another tool in response to the opponent’s various options. Then you repeat the process.

Here’s short example: We use SFII Ryu’s, which can be cancelled into fireball. This move has a bit of recovery so if we miss, we can get whiffed punished. However, we can also try to bait out a whiff punished using which looks similar but recovers faster, and then punish the whiff. Or we can simply walk forward, then stop at the very edge of the opponent’s poke distance to bait their defensive poke and then whiff punish with sweep. If the opponent happens to jump at the exact time we try to poke with, we can defend the vertical space with a DP. In this scenario, we’ve managed to identify 4 different normal tools + 2 specials that compliment each other in the ground game at a particular range (basic movement,,, sweep and fireball, DP).

As you improve, you start thinking about adding moves to your toolset and about generalizing various scenarios and options. eg. Can “walking forward” be generalized to “advancing on the opponent”? eg. Is LK Tatsu functionally equivalent to walking forward? When? How about SPS? How is dashing backwards different from walking or jumping backwards in terms of the way an opponent responds? Do the same for your moves. eg. How does the opponent respond after blocking a move with X pushback and is +Y on block? Can I substitute that move with another? etc

Generalizing scenarios will help expand your knowledge of footsies to the broader domain of “neutral”.

Street Fighter V Balance/Match Up Discussion - SHOW ME YOUR MATCH UPS

The best way to learn footsies. At least this is how I do it in fighting games. Is to practice learning and using one or two moves from a character’s set list until you know that move in and out. Then once you learn them, move onto the next moves in the movelist until you’ve learned them all.

What I mean by this is this. Many to most moves can be used in multiple situations, with many overlapping in that situational use. This gives you a set of options for any given situation you find yourself in in a fighting game. However, when trying to learn all these moves all at once, it can be kind of overwhelming. So if you focus on one option at a time out of each situation, or learn each move’s situational uses one-by-one you’ll have an easier time of it.

Then through all this, you’ll naturally start to grasp footsies. You’ll know that that move that clears a large part of the horizontal surface should be spaced away from your opponent, because if it is too close it’ll be blocked and punished. You’ll know from which ranges are the best options to do certain moves. If you are in mid range for a certain move that is unsafe, then maybe it is better to use another move that you are at max range for.


i dont like the isolated learning way for footsies but to each their own. i think you have to let footsies develop itself really. i firstly test out all my characters buttons figuring out key things, like which is the best jump in, which has the longest range, which has fastest startup, which starter is most damaging for punishes, best anti air. then i use all the moves as i see fit in a match. after leveling up some i decide to more closely examine normals. then i level up some more. at this point intuition begins to take over until i have a firm grasp with my character. then it is back to studying to push a little further. then it is just looping back and forth until the need to study becomes smaller and smaller


Well I’m not exactly just mashing on one button all day. I mostly do what you are saying, but what I mean is that once I figure out which anti-air normal I want to use. I will JUST anti-air with that one normal, until I have that moves usage down into muscle memory. Then I move onto the next anti-air. Then eventually I’ve figured out all options and I put them all together.


How was that a bad video? Floe is an amazing SF player and highly respected in the FGC. Who the hell are you and what have you done besides write essays on SRK?


Because its the generic how to do it. What @ilitirit just posted is why you do it.



IDK if you watched the video or not, But he talks about what footies are, how to do it, and their purpose.

How is it a bad video? It might not explain it to a T, but there aren’t any videos that do. Plus it’s basic knowledge of footsies. He’s giving you the theory behind footsies, so you can go on your own and study the art of footsies, which requires you to actually play the game. your mileage is very limited when you’re just watching videos and viewing frame data and hit boxes. Footsies are all developed through experience.


the definiton of footsies is this.
“Footsies” is oldschool slang for the mid-range ground-based aspect of fighting game strategy.

it’s basically staying on the ground for the most part and not jumping weither that be netural or diagonal

just basically the only to get better at footsies imo is to learn the spacing and distance of your best pokes and the hitbox of them and u will get far.


The first thing he says footsies is whiff punishing, and everything else stems from that, which is wrong. Whiff-punishing is just one aspect of footsies.

Even the oldest definitions of footsies employ the Rock, Paper, Scissors analogy (see the page IglooBob posted - there are actually two different pages in that thread that describe the same thing):
Offense beats whiff-punish (Rock)
Defense beats Offense (Paper)
Whiff-punish beats defense (Scissors)

You can find this basic definition on virtually every page that describes footsies since SFII. All floe does in his video is describe Scissors.

But in practice, even though the traditional RPS analogy fits for the most part, it’s still not strictly RPS. What do you do when the opponent jumps? Or blocks? You might have a great whiff punish tool but it’s super unsafe on block or has a ton of recovery which makes it easy to jump. Or what if the opponent has a move that goes over your offensive poke but keeps them safe? Neither RPS footsies nor Floe’s video will help you in that situation. You actually have to know what your options are. And to do that, you will generally perform the process (or something similar) to what I described in my post. This exercise gives you insight into fundamental Street Fighter strategy. For an example of what I mean about fundamental strategy: Ask yourself, when is a stationary opponent most likely going to try to poke you? When you are walking away from them, towards them, or standing still? How can you apply that insight?

Once you’ve got a decent understanding of these fundamentals, you can use them to employ other strategies, eg. like some of the stuff Maj describes here:


The best explanation of footsies imo is by juicebox abel. Just type his name then footsies at the end of it on google. It should give you a link to his YT vid. It’s super in depth and explains everything.


The most simple explanation for footsies I can come up with is you’re trying to play the neutral game better than your opponent, specifically by beating your opponent while neither of you have gotten in on each other (right in their face.). You’re trying to score that knockdown or that chance to get in on your opponent so you can then switch to executing pressure or mixups on the opponent. In the footsies game in street fighter, you’ll often see the 2 players shimmying back and forth in and out of sweep range to try and bait the opponent to sweep, or get sweeped. When you see this its one way of playing footsies, because it’s two opponents trying find an opening in neutral to somehow get in, or maybe even confirm off a crouching medium into super etc. just think of the actual usage of the word footsies before fighting games. It’s a child game where two kids try to out space the others feet in order to get leverage on them

For some I imagine footsies refers more to normals, but in my opinion, specials and projectiles are just as equal a part of the footsies game. Now the neutral game isn’t all about footsies. There’s much more to the neutral. There’s zoning, turtling, laying traps, spamming movement options, using specials, the throw game, projectile battle war etc etc, but footsies is a significant part of all of these things.


One of the problems here is that there’s a clear light and day difference between newschool footsies and oldschool footsies… What maj describes in his footsies bible is mainly oldschool footsies.

The difference between the 2 is that in oldschool footsies people are trying to walk the other player into the corner via attacking and wiff punishing. Whereas in newschool people are trying to bait the opponent into various scenarios.

One is more offensive and one is more defensive. But if you go in trying to use either style of footsies in the wrong game, you will get destroyed.

It’s hard to use newschool footsies in oldschool games because the stages are smaller and there is less room to run. If you jump backwards once from round start placing, you are virtually already cornered.

But if you try to use oldschool footsies in newschool, you will tend to lose again, because the stages are to big to just try to walk people into the corner… You will inevitably get people throwing lots of hard to block on reaction, random long range normals or specials.

So newschool basically forces a certain amount of respect as long as people know how to walk backwards and stick out ranged moves for you to walk into, whereas in oldschool you could disrespect your opponent is there was a skill gap, it’s now no longer possible really… Or at least the disrespect is different now:

Now you can disrespect your opponent by not being forced to move forward by your opponent.

I notice that when playing against people with newschool footsies that the clear footsies loser is usually the guy that is forced to chase because he can’t win at neutral or from long range, so he needs to get in.