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What is 'Bha'? All you need to know about India's new shoe sizing system

The survey conducted across India highlights the necessity for a new footwear sizing system tailored for Indians. Named 'Bha' (भ), this proposed system aims to replace current UK/European and US sizing norms.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: April 24, 2024 10:15 IST
‘Bha’: India’s proposed shoe sizing system addresses
Image Source : INDIA TV ‘Bha’: India’s proposed shoe sizing system addresses unique footwear needs

A comprehensive survey conducted across India has revealed the need for a new footwear sizing system tailored specifically for Indians. Dubbed ‘Bha’ (भ), representing Bharat, this proposed system aims to replace the existing UK/European and US sizing conventions. The survey, spanning from December 2021 to March 2022, involved 3D foot scanning of over 1,00,000 individuals across 79 locations, shedding light on crucial insights into the foot size, dimensions, and structure of the average Indian foot.

Understanding Indian feet

Contrary to initial assumptions, the survey found that Indian feet tend to be wider than their European or American counterparts. It also highlighted discrepancies in the fit of current footwear, leading many Indians to wear ill-fitted or oversized shoes, which can result in discomfort, injuries, and compromised foot health. These issues are particularly pronounced among elderly women and individuals with diabetes.

Proposed system and industry impact

‘Bha’ proposes a streamlined approach with eight footwear sizes catering to various age groups, ensuring a better fit for approximately 85% of the Indian population. This system is expected to simplify manufacturing processes for footwear companies, eliminating the need for half-sizes and reducing the overall number of sizes required. Additionally, the proposed sizes will offer enhanced comfort, with wider dimensions and an additional 5mm foot length allowance.

Road to implementation

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research–Central Leather Research Institute (CSIR–CLRI) spearheaded the survey and submitted its recommendations to the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which forwarded them to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for approval. To ensure efficacy, footwear manufactured under the ‘Bha’ standards will undergo trial testing and user feedback sessions. The proposed system is slated for implementation by 2025, promising a transformative change in the Indian footwear industry.

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