How to Keep Shoe Inserts & Orthotics Fresh

Shoe inserts and orthotics can provide you with many benefits such as cushioning your step, supporting your arches, and alleviating foot and leg pain. Podiatrists prescribe orthotics to treat a variety of foot issues such as: plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, and foot ulcers.  Inserts and orthotics have been shown in clinical research to decrease foot pain and to improve foot function.

Let’s be honest though, shoe inserts come with their own set of problems.  It is natural that overtime your orthotics will smell over time if you do not make an effort to keep them smelling fresh.

Tips for insert/ orthotic care:

  • Try not to get to them too wet (especially foam or cloth covered ones)
  • If wetness occurs remove from shoes immediately
  • If you are concerned that they have come in contact with water, pat them dry with a towel to remove and surface moisture and leave them in a room with good ventilation
  • Lay orthotics flat to dry
  • Allow ample drying time, inserts can need up to several days depending on what material they are made of
  • If you leave them in your shoes to dry it may result in an insert or orthotic that is less able to perform

Cleaning and washing:

Use a mild soap or detergent with lukewarm water to wash your inserts. Be sure not to let them absorb too much water by soaking them. If you have a stain that is difficult to remove it is recommended that you scrub just that area with a soft bristle toothbrush to spot-treat your orthotic. After giving them a good rinse to remove excess dirt and cleaning products allow them to dry completely. Never machine wash or dry your inserts, this will destroy the integrity of their structure.


The expected lifetime of an insert depends on how much you use and wear yours. Every three to nine months you should be thinking about getting new insoles.

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