Revolutionizing Footwear For India, CSIR-CLRI Introduces New Footwear Sizing System

India's footwear landscape undergoes a transformation with the introduction of the Bha sizing system.
India introduces new footwear sizing

India is on the brink of adopting a new shoe sizing standard, set to roll out by 2025. This initiative, spearheaded by CSIR-CLRI (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Leather Research Institute), aims to supplant the prevailing UK/European and US sizing norms with a more tailored approach dubbed ‘Bha’.

‘Bha’—a nod to Bharat, an indigenous term for India—is meticulously crafted following an extensive survey conducted by CSIR-CLRI, which meticulously recorded the average foot size of Indians. Unlike its predecessors, Bha transcends mere foot length considerations, incorporating foot width to ensure a comfortable fit for wearers across all age brackets.

The push for a homegrown sizing system stems from the inadequacy of existing standards, primarily based on European and French benchmarks.

The move towards customization is set to enhance comfort significantly. Collaborations with mold manufacturers and corporate entities are in the pipeline for extensive user trials involving approximately 10,000 individuals over the course of a year.

According to K J Sreeram, Director of CSIR-CLRI

CSIR-CLRI underscores the necessity for an indigenous sizing paradigm owing to the divergence in foot characteristics between Indians and their Western counterparts. With wider feet being a predominant trait among Indians, the adoption of ‘Bha’ is set to rectify the longstanding discomfort experienced due to ill-fitting footwear.

The culmination of a comprehensive survey spanning December 2021 to March 2022, conducted across 79 locations including five geographical zones, clarifies the distinct foot dimensions prevalent among Indians. Leveraging state-of-the-art 3D foot scanning technology, researchers meticulously dissected size, dimensions, and structure to inform the development of the Bha system.

A staggering 50% rejection rate of online footwear purchases attributed to sizing discrepancies.

The Indian Express

The proposed Bha system aims to mitigate such issues, promising a proper fit for a vast majority—reportedly 85%—of the Indian populace.

The proposed Bha system offers an extensive range of footwear sizes tailored for every age group, spanning from infants to adults, eliminating the need for half sizes. This simplified methodology includes eight sizes across all age categories, marking a significant departure from the complex sizing norms prevailing in the market.

PROPOSED FOOTWEAR SIZES Eight footwear sizes have been proposed:

• I— Infants (0 to 1 year)

• II— Babies (1 to 3 years)

• III— Small children (4 to 6 years)

• IV— Children (7 to 11 years)

• V— Girls (12 to 13 years)

• VI— Boys (12 to 14 years)

• VII— Women (14 years and above)

• VIII— Men (15 years and above)

As per the Bha sizing system, half sizes would not be needed.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of certification by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) in ensuring quality control and material testing and leveraging cutting-edge 3D printing technology further bolsters the credibility and efficacy of the Bha-certified footwear.

N Kalaiselvi, Director General of CSIR

As India sets its sights on the rollout of the Bha shoe sizing system by 2025, the move symbolizes a watershed moment in the country’s pursuit of tailoring solutions to its unique demographics. By embracing innovation and departing from outdated sizing conventions, the ‘Bha’ system promises to revolutionize the footwear landscape, ensuring a more comfortable and inclusive experience for millions of Indians nationwide.

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