BHA Is The New Indian Shoe Sizing System; Know All About It

New Delhi: It seems Indians have been wearing their footwear all wrong following the UK/European and US sizes that have a shorter length whereas the standard Indian foot is longer and wider.


Now, a new footwear sizing system, specifically designed for Indians, is in the works. Named ‘Bha’ for ‘Bharat’, it aims to replace existing UK/European and US sizes.

The findings of a recent survey conducted between December 2021 and March 2022, including 3D foot scanning of over 100,000 Indians across 79 locations provided insights into the size, dimensions, and structure of the average Indian foot.

The survey revealed that Indian feet are generally wider than those in Europe or America. It also revealed that the current footwear sizing system has many Indians wearing shoes that are either too large or have poor fitting. The survey further found that the average foot size growth for Indian women peaked at 11 years old, while for Indian men, it peaked at around 15 or 16 years old.

It revealed that shoelaces were often tightened excessively, disrupting normal blood flow for the wearer, which, in turn, led to discomfort, injuries, and foot health issues, especially among the elderly and people with diabetes.

In December 2021, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) collaborated with the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) in Chennai to develop an ‘Indian footwear Sizing system’ that caters specifically to the needs of Indians. Recently, a pan-India survey was conducted to determine the system’s effectiveness, and a report was submitted to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for approval.

Proposed to be named ‘Bha’ (भ) to represent Bharat, the initiative aims to revolutionise the way footwear is manufactured in India. Bha is expected to replace the existing UK/European and US sizing systems by 2025. The current Indian Standard IS 1638:1969 specification for footwear is based on the European and French Standards. Bha will not only consider the length of the foot but also the width to create a more comfortable fit for individuals across various age groups. The user trials will be conducted for about one year. It will involve about 10,000 people in the 5-55 age group, and the results of these trials will be closely monitored.

“We are bringing out the customisation for Indians, which will help to improve their comfort. For trials, we are planning to work with mould manufacturers and then join hands with companies for the same. We will be doing user based trials for about 10,000 people and monitor them for a year. We should be able to launch the Indian footwear sizing system by 2025,” K J Sreeram, the director of CLRI was quoted as saying.

According to Dr N Kalaiselvi, Director General of CSIR, since India is one of the largest-populated countries in the world, adapting the Indian sizing system will help boost the online sales of other brands.

“The footwear will be certified by BIS to aid in quality control, testing of raw laboratories and choosing the right raw materials. The 3D printing technology is also being used for the same,” he added.

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