CHENNAI: Many a time parents are forced to change footwear of their school going children within an academic year because of growing feet, which is a waste of money and in some cases children use the same footwear ‘painfully’ compromising on comfort. To counter this common problem, scientists at Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) developed a new children’s shoes that are expandable and made out of special eco-friendly leather.
This innovative product accommodates the foot growth in children and allow natural foot function without change of footwear.
Sadiq Mohammed, chief scientist, Shoe and Product Design Centre, Central Leather Research Institute told Express that a lot of care has been taken in designing and developing the product to ensure comfort and safety of the children. “An anthropometric foot survey of 500 students studying in Kendriya Vidyalaya in Central Leather Research Institute campus has been done. Their feet has been measured as well as the reference points in the foot with the help of 3D foot scanner machine. The study revealed that there are 13 sizes among the school children of age 6-10 (including boys and girls) and this we want to bring down to five sizes. Accordingly, various materials were tried and finally found cow softy material having elastic properties suitable for shoe upper, mesh fabrics for linings and rubber form for outsole,” he explained.
“This expandable shoes gives a new feel and comfort for children and will last the full academic year, if not more,” the official said and added that his team took three years to develop the final product, which is ready for commercialisation. The children shoe has been fabricated and wear trials were carried out for ‘fit’ and ‘comfort’ feedback and the results were positive.
The design has been fabricated in accordance to the trend forecasts prevalent. “It is based on sound science. The key was to get the foot dimensions correct like ball girth circumference, foot breadth, instep circumference, height of top of ball girth etc. This helps in fabricating special fitting lasts (replica of actual foot) after statistically clustering the groups and arriving at final parameters,” Sadiq Mohammed said.