The laboratory and field test data on the response of piles under the combined action of vertical and lateral loads is rather limited. The current practice for design of piles is to consider the vertical and lateral loads independent of each other. This paper presents some results from three-dimensional finite-element analyses that show the significant influence of vertical loads on a pile's lateral response. The analyses were performed in both homogeneous clayey soils and homogeneous sandy soils. The results have shown that the influence of vertical loads on the lateral response of piles is to significantly increase the capacity in sandy soils and marginally decrease the capacity in clayey soils. In general, it was found that the effect of vertical loads in sandy soils is significant even for long piles, which are as long as 30 times the pile width, while in the case of clayey soils, the effect is not significant for piles beyond a length of 15 times the width of the pile. The design bending moments in the laterally loaded piles were also found to be dependent on the level of vertical load on the piles. © 2007 ASCE.