CHENNAI: Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), one of the world’s leading research bodies for leather sector, will venture into commercial production of customized footwear. This would be for the first time a government-funded Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory will be breaking away from ‘only’ research to cater to needs of people in special need.

CLRI director B Chandrasekharan said the pilot manufacturing plant was being refurbished to scale up production. “We should be ready to take-up the new role in another couple of months.”

CLRI Team with Mr. Rafeeq Ahmed

The objective was to make available affordable and scientifically made footwear for people with foot deformities. “We have developed patented footwear for diabetic patients. There are thousands needing customised footwear which is not available in the market. This is where CLRI can play a bigger role, with the state-of-art infrastructure like Gait Analysis Laboratory,” he said.

G Saraswathy, scientist, Gait Analysis Laboratory of Shoe and Product Design Centre, said several patients were visiting CLRI for Gait analysis. “We diagnose problems and give them footwear design, but manufacturing is done by a third party, which at times is of substandard quality and takes at least three weeks. At CLRI, we can deliver the product in three days at a nominal cost. There are orthopedic conditions such as tendinitis, amputated fingers, foot ulcer, flat foot, abnormal foot size etc which need customized footwear,” she said.

S Mathivanan, senior principal scientists and in-charge of manufacturing plant, said a dedicated team was being formed to meet the growing demand. “We have developed a footwear for a patient referred by Sundaram Medical Foundation. This move also generates regular revenue for the institute, besides serving the needy,” he said

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