Revolutionizing shoe sizing? What is 'Bha' innovation for Indian market; Deets inside

The 'Bha' sizing system, which accommodates bigger Indian feet, aspires to replace UK/European/US methods. It was designed through a pan-India study.

Bhaskar Chakravorty
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A pan-Indian survey of Indians' foot sizes was recently carried out as part of a bigger effort to create an Indian sizing standard for footwear. The proposed 'Bha' (भ) size system seeks to replace the current US and UK/European sizing methods, potentially transforming the Indian footwear manufacturing sector. In order to accommodate the varied foot morphology of its populace, which deviates greatly from Western norms, India requires its own system for measuring shoes.

'Bha' (भ)

Because Indian feet are often broader and have different growth patterns than those of the UK/European and US, the existing dependence on these size standards frequently leads to footwear that is poorly fitting, especially for children and teenagers. The creation of a native sizing system such as Bha (भ) would guarantee that footwear is customized to meet the specific requirements of Indian customers, enhancing comfort, foot health, and general pleasure. It will also help the expansion of the Indian footwear sector, improve production procedures, cut waste, and be in accordance with India's goal of innovation and independence.

The survey's findings

1,01,880 persons were polled at 79 locations across five distinct geographic zones between December 2021 and March 2022. By employing 3D foot scanning scanners, researchers intended to identify the dimensions, size, and structure of the normal Indian foot. Contrary to popular belief, the survey discovered that Indians frequently have wider feet than do Europeans or Americans. Due to the narrow footwear that is available under the present sizing standards, many Indians have been wearing shoes that are larger than necessary, which causes pain and may even pose health problems.

Foot size in consideration

The investigation also revealed that the average foot size of Indian women peaks at age eleven, but the average foot size of Indian men peaks at age fifteen or sixteen. Furthermore, it was noted that a considerable proportion of Indians—men and women alike—wore tight, ill-fitting shoes, which frequently led to accidents and worsened foot health, especially in older adults and those with diabetes.

Prior to India's independence, the British imposed UK sizing on the country; an average Indian woman would wear a size 4 or 6, and an average man a size 5. Nevertheless, up until now, the creation of an indigenous sizing system has been hampered by the lack of thorough data on the structure and measurements of Indian feet.

How is Bha going to respond?

Eight shoe sizes are recommended by the Bha system, ranging from newborns to adults. Initially, the majority of the population's needs will be met by commercial manufacturers, which will concentrate on sizes III to VIII. Users and shoe-makers stand to gain a great deal from the adoption of Bha. Only eight sizes would need to be developed by manufacturers, doing away with the necessity for half-sizes and simplifying the production process.

Scientific survey!

Leading the survey was the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research–Central Leather Research Institute (CSIR–CLRI), which then forwarded its findings to the Union Ministry of Commerce's Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). These recommendations have since been sent by the DPIIT to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for approval. When Bha is put into effect, which is anticipated to happen around 2025, it could completely transform the Indian footwear market by giving customers better-fitting shoes and improving comfort and foot health all throughout the country. Before widespread implementation, consumers will be given Bha-sized shoes for trial, testing, and feedback in order to ease the transition.

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