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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Survey underway to get India its own footwear sizing scheme by mid-2022

India has never had its own sizing scheme and has adopted either the English or US model in its footware manufacturing.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
Updated: December 22, 2021 10:36:37 am
Over one lakh feet samples to be collected from 79 districts.

By March next year, over one lakh foot samples of children and adults collected from across the length and breadth of India will form the basis of the country’s first footwear sizing scheme likely to be rolled out in the second half of 2022.

India has never had its own sizing scheme and has adopted either the English or US model in its footware manufacturing. However, experts stressed that these international sizing often do not suit the requirements of India footwear users. The need for indigenous footwear sizing has also been necessitated due to changing lifestyle, walking styles and other requirements.

Earlier this month, CSIR — Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai, supported by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, embarked on an extensive pan-India foot sampling survey. As part of this, over a lakh samples will be collected from adults, youngsters and children under various age and gender groups.

Thirty special three-dimensional foot scanning machines, all imported from Italy, are presently deployed at various places, including government offices, schools, colleges and housing societies. During each foot survey, which lasts for about three minutes, the machine is capable of capturing 30 dimensions of the foot, including its width, length, toe breadth and others. At present, an average of 80 samples are being collected per day by each machine.

Since the survey began on December 2, a total of 5,481 foot samples have been collected of which contribution by men (19 to 55 years) is 2,057, women (19 to 55 years) 1,256, boys (12 to 18 years) 778, girls (12 to 18 years) 720 and children (4 to 11 years) 662.

However, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has added to the burden on 130 to 140 surveyors involved in the process. Each survey is now taking up to seven minutes, given the sanitisation and cleaning mandatory after each scan.

“The sampling among children has been making slow progress, as schools in many areas are either shut or are operating on half-day basis. So, to address this issue, we are coordinating with housing societies and factories, where parents are willing to bring their children along for the survey,” KJ Sreeram, director, CSIR-CLRI, told The Indian Express on Tuesday.


The survey is being carried out simultaneously across six geographical zones identified by CLRI. In all, 79 districts will be covered by March next year.

“Upon receiving one lakh samples, our team will perform statistical averaging, which will require about two months. Each of the dimensions will be grouped and footwear sizing between 1 to 10, with an increment of 3mm to 4mm, will be calculated,” the CLRI director said.

Another task before the team will be to figure out if the footwear sizing system should be standard throughout India or if any zone requires a certain sizing scheme. Given the present understanding, farmers are found to have wider feet, whereas people from North-eastern India have comparatively smaller feet. On the whole, the Indian feet size is broader near the toes, making Indians go for shoes that are a size larger than their actual size viz-a-viz their European or American counterparts.

The final survey report will be submitted to DPIIT by June 2022 after which the Bureau of Indian Standards (BSI) will review and approve it.

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