Indians Set to Embrace Revolutionary ‘Bha’ Shoe Sizing System

In a move set to transform the Indian footwear industry, a new shoe sizing system named ‘Bha’ is on the horizon, aiming to replace the conventional EU/UK/US sizes. Developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), ‘Bha’ is not just a change in measurement but a cultural shift, carrying the essence of ‘Bharat’, signifying its Indian origin.

The impetus for this groundbreaking system stemmed from a comprehensive nationwide survey conducted between December 2021 and March 2022. The survey, leveraging advanced 3D foot scanning technology, meticulously analyzed over one lakh Indian feet across diverse locations. What emerged was a glaring disparity between the morphology of Indian feet and the existing sizing systems predominantly based on Western standards.

For years, Indians have grappled with discomfort, blisters, and even foot deformities due to ill-fitting shoes sized according to US or European standards. The survey underscored that Indian feet tend to be wider, particularly among children and teenagers. This often resulted in a mismatch, with individuals either squeezing into tight shoes or swimming in ones too loose, leading to long-term foot health issues like bunions and ingrown toenails.

‘Bha’ aims to bridge this gap by proposing eight distinct sizes tailored to different age groups and genders, offering additional length and width for enhanced comfort. Unlike the current complex sizing systems with numerous half sizes, ‘Bha’ simplifies the process with its concise categorization. The proposed sizes range from infants to adults, ensuring a perfect fit for nearly 85% of Indians.

Furthermore, ‘Bha’ holds the promise of streamlining manufacturing processes, potentially reducing costs and enhancing efficiency for footwear manufacturers. By eliminating the need for a multitude of size variations, ‘Bha’ could spur the creation of a wider variety of shoe styles catering specifically to Indian needs, from wider sandals to more accommodating work boots.

Although still in the proposal stage, ‘Bha’ has already piqued the interest of the footwear industry. Initial trials focusing on sizes III to VIII are underway, with plans for full-scale implementation around 2025. Departments are recommending providing footwear manufactured according to ‘Bha’ standards for trial, testing, and feedback, ensuring that the system is fine-tuned to meet the diverse needs of Indian consumers.

In essence, ‘Bha’ represents more than just a shift in sizing; it symbolizes a step towards embracing indigenous solutions tailored to the unique characteristics and needs of the Indian populace. With its potential to revolutionize the footwear market and enhance foot health nationwide, ‘Bha’ heralds a new era of comfort, convenience, and cultural pride in Indian footwear.

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