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China Supports Mondo Point System
You would hardly find some other type of goods that causes more confusion when it comes to sizing. It is bad for the business because internet retail of shoes is limited but it is the consumers’ health that is also at risk. After decades of arguments the biggest producers of footwear are now aiming towards an agreement that should mitigate at least the greatest disproportions. A working group focusing on the setting up of an ISO standard for shoe sizing held a meeting at the KABO fair, and the Dean of the Technological Faculty of Tomas Bata University Zlín, Petr Hlaváček, informed about its outcomes.

Choosing a correct size of shoes is highly subjective. People have different pain thresholds and different perception of comfort, moreover, children and diabetics are not able to judge whether the shoes they are trying on are fitting or not – these groups are most threatened by incorrectly sized shoes. At times when footwear shops shared a unique and relatively reliable sizing guides and trained staff was always at hand this did not matter that much. However, with the onset of globalization trends the chaos in numbering is total and shoes are sold at retail chains without the assistance of qualified personnel and sufficient information. 

No more confusing sizes of shoes?

“Nowadays the responsibility for the correct selection of shoes has moved from the sellers to the buyers, who cannot rely on the sizing guides or gauges. It is not surprising that some studies find that up to 80 percent of population wear wrong-sized shoes,” says professor Hlaváček. This is why in the future shoe boxes should clearly state the length of foot along with functional and aesthetic size-excess used in the construction of the shoe. This type of sizing information is being considered by the currently discussed proposal of the ISO standard that should become effective in a couple of years.

The first efforts to unify the British, French, and metric numbering date to the 1960’s but the negotiations did not yield any results back then. The current initiative, however, strives for success. Three years ago it was stirred by Germany together with South Africa, and other countries have been coming along ever since. This summer China joined the initiative as well by clearly supporting the Mondo Point system, which aims at stating the actual length of the foot. “I think this system is most sophisticated of all. It is close to the metric system but considers the biomechanic size excess. The system does not work with the imprint of the foot but with its contour and the measuring must copy the deformation of the thallus,” explains professor Hlaváček, who thinks that Mondo Point system is likely to become globally accepted soon.

“Other modifications will be allowed too, so manufacturers may continue using their established sizing, but the basic size information should follow the Mondo Point guidelines,” explains the Czech representative in the ISO committee. The current proposal does not consider the information about foot width or so-called deformation factor of the top material yet – these issues will be tackled by an additional amendment or by a set of recommendations. There is also much unclearness about the term of the new standard’s entering into force. “We still need to deal with a number of problems but the next session is planned for autumn 2011 and I am expecting a substantial move forward,” said P. Hlaváček.

(Source: BVV Press Center, 7.9.2010, Jana Fuhrmannová)

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