How to Glue Shoe Inserts

by Marc Gottlieb

Gluing inserts into a pair of shoes is beneficial to anyone needing orthotic comfort and support to prevent knee, hip or back issues, tendinitis, or simple blisters that develop from the use of standard insoles. There are a number of brands on the market that are designed for better shock absorption and improved fit for any activity. Though these types of insoles are often associated with athletics, they can be used in any type of shoe that needs increased arch support or protection for the ball of the foot.

Step 1

Purchase the right kind of insoles for the needs of your feet and size of the shoes. Some insoles are designed to relieve specific ailments like knee pain and arthritis. Not all manufacturer's sizes are alike, so most insoles are built to fit a small range of sizes. Keep these in mind when choosing the right insole.

Step 2

Remove the insole and any other material that is currently inside the shoe. New inserts work best when they lay flat on the bottom of the shoe. There should be nothing lying beneath the new insole or they will not work properly.

Step 3

Place the old insole over the new insert, matching the heel and the arch-side edge together and trace a line around it. If there is no insole in the shoe, place the shoe on top of the new insert and trace a line around that.

Step 4

Cut carefully along the traced line with a pair of scissors. Be sure to stay as close to the markings as possible, as the insert shouldn't be too small inside the shoe or too large as to fit improperly.

Step 5

Glue the insoles into the shoes. Apply an adhesive product such as Shoe Goo or Cobbler's Cement to the bottom of the insole and the surface of the inside of the shoe. Let it sit for about two minutes before placing the insole inside of the shoe, allowing both surfaces to bond together. Press down to ensure the insole lies flat and there are no areas that are sticking up. Allow the bonds to seal for 24 hours before wearing the shoes.

Step 6

Break in the new inserts with repeated use. Most new inserts may feel uncomfortable when they are first installed, despite careful selection of the correct size and benefit. The breaking-in process will gradually mold the inserts to your feet so that they are comfortable. If discomfort persists after five to seven days, remove the insoles to avoid injury.


  • When cutting the new insole, try placing it inside the shoe repeatedly to make sure the fit is snug. Trim any edges that resist or if the insole is curling up at the heel or toe. The insert must fit correctly and not be crushed the toe or heel. The insole is designed to move with the foot.

    Shoes should not fit too tightly and if an insole does not allow the foot to fit comfortably at the toe, the insert can be cut away at the forefront. The insole will still work properly as the arch and ball will still be supported.

    When gluing, keep in mind various materials respond differently to adhesives and drying times may vary.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Marc Gottlieb has been writing since 1997, when he was hired as a guest columnist for "Films in Review" magazine. He now serves as a full-time writer and contributor to several online publications. Gottlieb attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City.