How to Remove Insoles from Shoes
Insoles are designed to be removable for 2 basic reasons:
Reason #1: If the shoe gets wet, you can take the insole out and let both the insole and the upper of the shoe dry. (A good trick to efficiently dry your wet footwear is to remove the factory insole, stuff the shoe with a paper towel and place them in front of your refrigerator…the warm air that blows out of the bottom of the fridge works great and won'twont shrink the shoe!).
Reason #2: If you wear aftermarket insoles or custom orthotics it is easy to remove them and replace them with these devices.
Insole materials and purpose
Shoe and sneaker insoles are a science unto itself. Shoe insoles are usually made of EVA (Ethelene Vinyl Acetate) or PU (polyurethane). Both materials are soft for comfort and lightweight and can be molded into a variety of shapes, thicknesses, and colors. Shoe insoles have more technology than you would think. They must be:
- moisture wicking
- heat dissipating
- thin enough to allow the shoe enough room to fit the foot
Shoe insoles vary in thickness from 2mm to 5mm whereas athletic shoe insoles usually run from 3mm to 7mm. Thicker insoles are used in athletic shoes because the extra cushioning is needed for athletic activity that includes running or jumping along with the fact that this type of footwear tends to have more room in the toe box area and is often made of a mesh, stretchy material to accommodate a foot.
Are there non-removable insoles?
In some cases, the insoles of your shoes are non-removable. They may be sewn or glued in. There are many reasons for this but the most common are that some shoe constructions attach the insole to the midsole so it is difficult if not impossible to remove them without destroying the insoles. If your insoles are sewn in, forget about taking them out!
There is an easy way to tell if your insoles are sewn in. You will see stitches around the perimeter of the insole near the walls of the upper. If you see those stitches, forget about removing your insoles. You will literally be tearing the insole out in little pieces and whatever you are replacing them with will be riding on the left-over chunks of insole that you can’t get out. Fortunately, this “sewn in” construction technique is not used very much and is most often found in high end dress shoes.
The most common way athletic shoes are made
The most common construction in most of todays athletic shoes is called Strobel construction. Used for most athletic shoes, Strobel construction sews the upper fabric to the fabric midsole creating a flexible sock. Then the upper and bottom are joined together by a Strobel stitching machine. With the upper sock tightly pulled over a form, the sole is cemented to the upper.
Some popular examples of this kind of construction is Nike Air Jordan, KD Trey and Kyrie Infinity, Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 and Under Armour Curry. These high end hoop shoes feature this kind of construction because it affords the shoe light weight and flexibility.
Fortunately, most of today’s athletic shoes use this construction so removing the insoles that the shoe comes with should be relatively easy. However, just because you do not see stitches around the outside of your insole doesn’t mean that they are not glued in.
Insoles that are glued in are found mostly in track spikes, cleated footwear or minimalist CrossFit type footwear or sports where lateral movements are required, the manufacturers will glue the insoles in to prevent the insoles from sliding around in the shoe during lateral cutting moves although footwear designed for some other sports may also have glued in insoles. If you find that your insoles are glued in however, all is not lost! Here’s how to hack your insole removal! Follow these simple steps and insole removal.. then VKTRY is yours!
- Place your shoes on a level surface.
- Loosen the shoelaces as far down as they can go.
- Heat the inside of the shoe with a blow dryer until the insole is warm to the touch. Do not overheat!
- First try to peel the insole up by hand with your palm facing upward and fingernails against the bottom of the shoe. Wiggle your fingers as you pull the insole up a little at a time while pushing towards the toe of the shoe.
- If the insole does not come up easily, use a flathead screwdriver or putty knife and pry the edge of the insole up, starting at the heel area.
- Rotate the screwdriver or putty knife back and forth clockwise and counterclockwise while pushing firmly toward the toe of the shoe.
- Continue rotating the tool back and forth while pushing forward separating the insole from the shoe. Continue all the way down to the toe of the shoe.
If the insole is not coming up in one piece, stop pushing forward and try to scrape the bottom of the shoe with a back-and-forth motion with the putty knife or screwdriver to separate the portions of the insole that are still adhered to the shoe. Be patient and it will come out with a little extra effort. After removal, before inserting any other insole make sure that the bottom of the inside of the shoe is free of any leftover glued-in pieces. Do not use water or any chemicals to try and loosen the insole.
When using VKTRY Performance Insoles it is important that you always remove the factory insole prior to inserting VKs.