Do You Remove Insoles When Using Inserts
Do You Remove Insoles When Using Inserts

Have you ever wondered whether you should remove the insoles of your shoes when using inserts? Today, we’re here to shed some light on this common dilemma.

Many are unsure whether it’s best to leave the insoles in or remove them when adding additional cushioning or support to their footwear.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both options, helping you make an informed decision for maximum comfort and foot health. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Understanding Insoles and Inserts

What are insoles?

Insoles, or shoe inserts or footbeds, are additional support structures placed inside shoes to provide extra comfort, cushioning, and foot support. They are typically made from different materials, such as foam, gel, or leather, and come in various shapes and sizes to fit different shoe types and foot sizes. The primary purpose of insoles is to improve the overall fit of shoes, alleviate discomfort, and provide additional padding for the feet.

What are inserts?

On the other hand, inserts refer to specialized foot supports designed to address specific foot conditions or provide targeted support to certain areas of the feet. Unlike insoles, inserts are typically orthotic devices prescribed or recommended by healthcare professionals, such as podiatrists or orthopedic specialists.

Inserts are custom-made or available in pre-made options and are specifically designed to correct abnormalities in foot mechanics, provide arch support, and alleviate foot pain caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or high arches.

Benefits of Using Insoles and Inserts

Improves comfort and cushioning

One of the primary benefits of insoles and inserts is their enhanced comfort and cushioning. Adding an extra layer of padding and support to your shoes, insoles, and inserts helps reduce pressure on the feet and provides a more cozy and cushioned experience.

This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who spend long hours on their feet or engage in activities that strain the feet, such as running or hiking.

Enhances support and stability

Insoles and inserts also play a crucial role in improving foot support and stability. They help distribute body weight more evenly across the foot, reducing the risk of overpronation (rolling inward) or supination (rolling outward) during walking or running. Providing additional arch support, insoles, and inserts can help individuals with flat feet or high arches achieve a more balanced gait and reduce the likelihood of foot and ankle injuries.

Reduces foot pain and discomfort

Insoles and inserts can offer significant relief for individuals experiencing foot pain or discomfort. The added support and cushioning provided by these inserts help alleviate pressure on sensitive foot areas, such as the heel or arch, reducing pain and discomfort associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, or bunions.

Insoles and inserts can also help reduce fatigue and soreness in the feet, making them an excellent option for individuals constantly on their feet or engaging in high-impact activities.

Addresses specific foot conditions

The use of inserts, in particular, is vital for addressing specific foot conditions. Custom orthotic inserts, prescribed by healthcare professionals, can provide targeted support and correction for conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or high arches. These inserts are designed to realign the foot, correct biomechanical abnormalities, and reduce pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. By addressing the root cause of foot problems, inserts can provide long-term relief and improve overall foot health.

Differences Between Insoles and Inserts


The main difference between insoles and inserts lies in their functionality. Insoles focus primarily on providing cushioning, support, and comfort, while inserts are designed to address specific foot conditions or provide targeted support. Insoles are more general-purpose and can be used by individuals who want to enhance their shoe comfort. In contrast, inserts are more specialized and may require professional guidance.


In terms of design, insoles are typically generic and come in various sizes to fit different shoe sizes. They are often made from foam, gel, or other cushioning materials and provide uniform support throughout the shoe. Inserts, however, are designed to be customized for each individual’s foot shape and specific needs. They may have unique contours or features to address specific foot conditions and provide personalized support.


Insoles are designed to fit inside the shoe, taking up additional space and potentially altering the shoe’s fit. They can easily be swapped between different pairs of shoes, providing consistent comfort across footwear. Inserts, however, are more permanent fixtures in the shoes. They are typically custom-made or explicit to match an individual’s foot shape and cannot be easily transferred between does.


Both insoles and inserts can be made from various materials, depending on the desired level of support and comfort. Insoles commonly utilize foam, gel, or other cushioning materials to provide padding and shock absorption. On the other hand, inserts can be made from a range of materials, including rigid plastics, soft gel, or even carbon fiber, depending on the specific foot condition they are designed to address.

When to Consider Using Insoles or Inserts

Foot pain and discomfort

If you experience persistent foot pain or discomfort, it may be worth considering using insoles or inserts. These can help alleviate pressure on sensitive foot areas, support the arch, and provide cushioning for enhanced comfort. Insoles are generally suitable for individuals with general foot fatigue or discomfort, while inserts are recommended for specific conditions or issues that require targeted support.

Arch support

Individuals with flat feet, high arches, or irregular arches can benefit from using insoles or inserts that provide arch support. Insoles with arch support can help distribute body weight more evenly and reduce strain on the arches. Inserts, especially custom orthotics, can provide tailored support for individuals with specific arch abnormalities or conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Insoles or inserts explicitly designed for plantar fasciitis can support the arch and heel, alleviate pressure on the inflamed area, and promote proper foot alignment during movement.

Flat feet

Flat feet, or fallen arches, occur when the arches of the feet collapse or do not develop properly. Insoles or inserts with arch support can help individuals with flat feet by providing the necessary support and stability for the feet. These inserts promote proper foot alignment and reduce pronation, alleviating pain and discomfort associated with flat feet.

High arches

High arches refer to an excessive curvature or elevation of the arches of the feet. This condition can lead to instability and increased pressure on the balls and heels of the feet. Insoles or inserts designed for high arches can cushion the ball of the foot and improve weight distribution, reducing discomfort and the risk of injuries associated with high arches.


Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward excessively during walking or running. This can lead to arch pain, shin splints, or knee pain. Insoles or inserts with proper arch support and medial posting can help correct overpronation by providing stability and proper alignment, reducing the risk of injuries and discomfort.


Supination, the opposite of overpronation, happens when the feet roll outward excessively during movement. This can also cause imbalances and increase the risk of injuries, such as ankle sprains or stress fractures. Insoles or inserts with cushioning and lateral support can help correct supination and provide the necessary stability to prevent injuries and promote proper foot mechanics.

Sports activities

Individuals participating in sports or high-impact activities can significantly benefit from using insoles or inserts designed for athletic purposes. These inserts provide additional shock absorption, cushioning, and support, reducing the stress on the feet during intense physical activities. They can prevent foot fatigue, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of common sports-related foot injuries.

Using Insoles and Inserts Together


In some cases, it is possible to use insoles and inserts together to maximize the benefits for your feet. However, compatibility depends on the insoles and inserts’ specific design, size, and fit. Ensuring the combination does not result in an uncomfortable or crowded fit inside the shoe is essential. Using them together can be advantageous if the insoles and inserts complement each other and provide the necessary support and cushioning without sacrificing comfort.


Using both insoles and inserts together can provide a comprehensive and customized foot comfort and support solution. Insoles can add an extra layer of cushioning and general support for the entire foot, while inserts can provide specific targeted support and corrections for individual foot conditions or issues. This combination can address many needs, providing optimal comfort, stability, and pain relief.


While there are potential advantages to using insoles and inserts together, there are also some drawbacks. The most significant disadvantage is the potential for a crowded or uncomfortable fit inside the shoe. Using both insoles and inserts can take up a significant amount of space, which may cause the shoe to feel tight or cramped. It is essential to ensure that the shoe still fits properly and does not cause discomfort or affect proper foot mechanics.

Removing Insoles to Accommodate Inserts

Purpose of removing insoles

In some instances, removing the existing insoles from your shoes may be necessary to accommodate the inserts adequately. The purpose of removing insoles is to create additional space inside the shoe, allowing for a more comfortable fit and better support. Removing the insoles ensures that the inserts sit properly and provide the intended support without any obstructions.

Considerations before removing insoles

Before removing the insoles, it is essential to consider the impact it may have on the overall fit and feel of the shoe. Some shoes have built-in arch support or cushioning in the insole, and removing them may affect the shoe’s overall comfort and support. Removing insoles may compromise the shoe’s original stability and structure, especially in specific specialized athletic shoes. It is recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional advice before removing insoles.

Steps to remove insoles

If you decide to remove the insoles, follow these steps:

  1. Start by loosening the shoe’s laces for easier access to the insole.
  2. Gently lift the insole from the front or heel of the shoe, using your fingers or a flat object like a spoon, being careful not to damage the shoe or insole.
  3. Slowly peel away the insole, ensuring no residue or adhesive remains on the shoe’s surface.
  4. Repeat the process for the other shoe, if necessary.
  5. Thoroughly clean the shoe’s interior to remove dirt or debris before inserting the inserts.
  6. Carefully place the inserts inside the shoe, ensuring they are correctly positioned and provide the intended support and comfort.
  7. Adjust the laces or straps of the shoe to achieve a secure and comfortable fit.

Using Inserts without Removing Insoles

When to use inserts without removing insoles

There may be situations where using inserts without removing the existing insoles is preferred or recommended. This can be the case if the shoe’s original insole provides adequate comfort and support and the inserts address a specific foot condition or provide additional support in certain areas. Inserts can be placed on top of the existing insole, offering targeted support without altering the overall fit or feel of the shoe.

Choosing suitable inserts

When using inserts without removing insoles, it is essential to select inserts that are thin enough to fit comfortably inside the shoe without causing crowding or discomfort. Look for streamlined inserts and provide the necessary support or correction for your specific foot condition. Inserts made from flexible and lightweight materials are often the best option to ensure comfort and compatibility with the existing insole.

Ensuring proper fit

When using inserts without removing insoles, it is crucial to ensure that the combination does not compromise the shoe’s fit or create discomfort. The shoe should still provide adequate space for the foot and not feel tight or crowded. Suppose the combination of inserts and insoles makes the shoe uncomfortable or affects proper foot mechanics. In that case, it may be necessary to reconsider the usage of inserts without removing the insoles.

Using Inserts and Insoles Properly

Insert placement

Proper placement ensures optimal support and comfort when using inserts and insoles together. Inserts should be positioned underneath the insole, closest to the foot, to provide targeted support and correction for specific foot conditions. The insole should then be placed on top of the insert to provide additional cushioning and overall support for the entire foot. This arrangement ensures that the inserts provide the necessary benefits without compromising the overall fit and feel of the shoe.

Insole placement

When used alone or combined with inserts, insoles should be placed securely inside the shoe, covering the entire shoe length from heel to toe. The insole should be positioned evenly and flat against the shoe’s interior, supporting the arch and providing cushioning for the heel and ball of the foot. Proper alignment and fit of the insole are crucial to ensure optimal comfort, stability, and support.

Ensuring comfort

To ensure maximum comfort when using inserts and insoles, it is essential to assess the fit and feel of your shoes. Combining inserts and insoles should not cause discomfort, tightness, or pain. Consider using thinner or more flexible inserts if the shoes feel too tight or crowded. Additionally, ensure that the shoes have enough room in the toe box for natural movement and that the combination of inserts and insoles does not alter the shoe’s overall fit.

Maintaining hygiene

Proper hygiene is crucial when inserts and insoles accumulate dirt, sweat, and odor over time. Regularly remove the inserts and insoles from the shoes and clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve hand-washing with mild soap or using specialized cleaning products. It is also essential to allow the inserts and insoles to dry thoroughly before placing them back into the shoes to prevent bacteria or mold growth.

Caring for Insoles and Inserts

Cleaning instructions

The cleaning instructions for insoles and inserts may vary depending on the specific materials used. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is essential to ensure proper care and maintenance. Most insoles and inserts can be hand-washed using mild soap and warm water. Gently scrub the surface of the insoles or inserts with a soft cloth or brush, and rinse thoroughly. Allow them to air dry completely before placing them back into the shoes.

Replacing insoles and inserts

Over time, insoles and inserts may wear out or lose their original shape and support. It is recommended to replace them regularly to ensure continued comfort and effectiveness. The replacement frequency depends on factors such as usage, foot condition, and the quality of the insoles or inserts. Inspect the insoles and inserts regularly for signs of wear, such as flattened or compressed areas, and replace them if necessary.

Storage recommendations

Store your insoles and inserts in a cool, dry place to prevent damage or deterioration when not in use. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as it can cause the materials to degrade. Keeping them in a clean, ventilated container or bag is also advisable to protect them from dust and dirt. Proper storage ensures that the insoles and inserts remain clean, dry, and ready for use whenever needed.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

Seeking expert advice

While insoles and over-the-counter inserts can relieve common foot conditions and discomfort, it is advisable to seek expert advice from a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist. They can assess your foot condition or gait mechanics and provide customized recommendations for the most suitable insoles or inserts. Their expertise ensures you receive the appropriate support, correction, and relief for your foot needs.

Custom orthotics

Custom orthotics may be required for individuals with more severe or complicated foot conditions. Custom orthotics are specifically tailor-made inserts to fit an individual’s foot shape, arch type, and specific needs. They are designed based on a thorough assessment and prescription from a healthcare professional. Custom orthotics provide the highest support, correction, and relief for severe pronation, foot deformities, or chronic foot pain.

Specialized foot conditions

Certain foot conditions, such as diabetic foot ulcers, Charcot foot, or severe arthritis, require specialized care and attention. In such cases, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional specializing in managing these conditions. They can guide the appropriate insoles or inserts and offer comprehensive treatment plans or referrals to specialists who can address these conditions’ specific needs and challenges.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between insoles and inserts and knowing when to use them can significantly benefit foot comfort, support, and overall health.

Whether you use insoles for general cushioning or inserts for targeted support, these footbed enhancements can alleviate pain, enhance stability, and improve overall foot mechanics.

Consider your specific foot condition, comfort preferences, and professional advice when deciding which option to choose. By using insoles and inserts properly and caring for them, you can enjoy optimal foot health and comfort for years.

Previous articleWhat Materials Are Commonly Used To Make Insoles?
Next articleAre Skechers Good For Being On Your Feet All Day?
Dr. Patrick Smith
I'm Dr. Patrick Smith, a board-certified podiatrist with over 20 years of experience. I received my Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in 2001. I then completed a residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions. I treat a wide range of conditions, including: I am also a certified pedorthist. This means that I am qualified to design and fit custom orthotics. Orthotics are devices that are used to correct foot problems and improve alignment. I am committed to providing my patients with the highest quality of care. I am compassionate and understanding, and I take the time to listen to my patients' concerns. I am also up-to-date on the latest advances in podiatric medicine, and I use the most effective treatments available. I believe that everyone deserves to have healthy feet. That's why I am passionate about providing my patients with the care they need to live pain-free and active lives. If you are looking for a podiatrist who can provide you with the best possible care, I encourage you to contact my office. I would be happy to help you find relief from your foot pain and improve your overall health. Thank you for reading my bio. I look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your foot health goals.