Footwear for giants

It's not everyday that you hear a man say, " I'm a size 12. Help me!" This is a cry for help from men who need plus-size footwear.

footwear. Yes, you read it right! If you thought it was difficult to find plus-size clothing for women, you have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to find plus-size footwear for men, unless you are one of the men in question! Most Indian footwear brands have up to size 11 (size 12 US). The international footwear brands that have outlets in India have many models up to size 11, a handful of expensive options, if at all any, in size 12 (size 13 US), and almost nothing when it comes to size 13 (size 14 US) and above.

Says Anurag K, owner of a pair of size 13 flip-flops, "I get my feet stepped-on a lot in crowded buses and trains, all because relatively cheaper footwear is nearly impossible to get and I have to make do with large slippers and flip-flops."

Even brands that do have plus-size footwear, limit the lower- priced models to flip-flops and sandals, whereas shoes are usually exorbitantly priced. Moreover, a good majority of the plus-size shoes available are sports shoes — basketball, tennis, golf, etc., and these can't be worn everywhere. Most brands in India do not have plus-size footwear as there aren't many Indians that buy them, as compared to other countries. But the truth is, there is quite a large number of men who need plus-size footwear and the market for it is growing as well.

"Now even women have stores in the city that exclusively cater for plus-size women, so why isn't the same done for men's footwear?" asks Sam who, at a size 12, is slightly luckier than most others.

Says Suraj Rajan, a visual merchandizer at a retail store in the city, "Our store stocks up to sizes 10 and 11 because on an average, we don't get people with larger feet. If and when we do, we take orders if the company makes those sizes."

Large feet is a bane to most and in India, finding footwear that is fitting and comfortable, without burning a hole in one's pocket, is almost impossible. Unless you don't mind going to office every day in your flip-flops, brands need to take heed and manufacture more plus-size footwear.

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