India's own footwear sizing system to be ready by the end of this year

Written By: Sidharth MP
Chennai, India Updated: May 20, 2022, 02:08 PM(IST)

Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebratory event of the CLRI, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh made a mention of the pan-India 3-D foot-mapping project that has been underway, to capture the imprints and various parameters of the feet of nearly 1 lakh Indians. Photograph:( WION )

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The statistical study will be completed in two months or so, following which we will provide the dimensions based on the Indian footwear sizing

When there are considerable differences in the shape and size of the feet of people from within India, how can a European or American size standard shoe be used to comfortably fit 1.4 billion Indians? It was this problem statement that prompted India's Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to develop India's home-grown sizing standards for shoes and similar closed footwear. 

Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebratory event of the CLRI, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh made a mention of the pan-India 3-D foot-mapping project that has been underway, to capture the imprints and various parameters of the feet of nearly 1 lakh Indians. It is based on the data collected from this survey, under the aegis of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), that India's indigenous footwear sizing standard will be developed. 

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WION spoke to Dr. Sreeram, Director, CLRI, to understand the finer aspects of the 3-D mapping project and the roll out of the new Indian sizing standard. He revealed that over 1 lakh people, from across 73 districts of India, within the age group of 5 to 55, have been surveyed (foot 3-D scanning). Currently, the statistical analysis of the foot-mapping data is underway to gather the fine details.

Queried on the unique aspects that the 3-D mapping will be covering, Dr. Sreeram told WION about how Indian feet predominantly have more girth (wider front portion) than those of European feet. In addition to length and girth, this mapping would also gather data across 29 other parameters of the Indian foot. While three parameters are adequate to develop a sizing standard, the remaining ones are meant to help in advanced studies.

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The statistical study will be completed in two months or so, following which we will provide the dimensions based on the Indian footwear sizing. "Our Indian Sizing standard for footwear will be published in the Bureau of Indian Standards by the end of 2022, and by then, shoes and closed footwear for men, women, and children will be available in our markets, based on Indian sizing," Dr. Sreeram explained. 

However, this new Indian sizing standard is voluntary, and not all brands have to necessarily adopt this. But CLRI believes that, even though the new sizing standard is voluntary, the brands with good sales across India would adopt the standard to satisfy customer needs. 

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Emphasizing on the Leather footwear sector in India, Dr, Jitendra Singh spoke about the sector having employed nearly 50,000 people at the time of independence and how it had grown to employ 5 million people as of today, while contributing immensely to the economy. Regarding the future of the leather industry, he called for innovation by start-ups and touched upon the need to use legacy knowledge to make customers understand the advantages of leather footwear, over synthetic ones. "Human skin is more compatible with leather when compared to synthetic materials," he said, even referring to some medical studies regarding diabetic feet. Regarding the roadmap for the next 25 years, Dr. Singh said that the leather footwear industry in India needed to think of achieving a net zero carbon footprint, to remain competitive in the market.

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