Different visual conditions during proprioceptive testing have the potential to mask clinically meaningful differences in proprioceptive acuity, and must be understood in order to improve testing accuracy. This study compared the proprioceptive acuity achieved in estimating underfoot surface angles when looking ahead vs looking down during an active stepping task. 40 athletes from national development squads (23 male, 17 female, M age = 16 yr.) judged the inversion angle of a footplate when stepping onto and across it. 19 participants were permitted to briefly look down and see the footplate before stepping onto it, while 21 looked ahead and saw the footplate only in peripheral vision as they walked across. Looking down before stepping contributed to higher proprioceptive acuity scores. These results indicate that during a stepping task, a short opportunity to assess ground angle with focal vision supports the peripheral sensory receptors in proprioceptive acuity to a greater extent than peripheral vision alone. © Perceptual Motor Skills 2013.