About Charlie Butler

Who are we?

We are Charlie Butler. We’ve created a good looking, handmade and cruelty-free shoe that you can wear to any occasion. Every Charlie Butler shoe is designed by us and is handmade specifically for your feet, for extreme comfort. 

Here's what our customers are saying:

★★★★★ "The shoes are beautiful and fit well."

★★★★★ "The quality looks fab as usual. Beautifully made and such soft material. As soon as I put my foot in the first one, I suddenly understood why my son and husband love wearing their [Charlie Butlers] so much - this is comfort on another scale!!"

★★★★★ "They look great and fit very well. The enclosed shoe bag is a nice touch."

★★★★★ "[Charlie Butlers are] great looking shoes, good price especially for hand-made."

★★★★★ "It's hard to find a nice pair of shoes / boots that are vegan. I have been wearing Doc Marten's vegan boots for a few years and it was nice to have another option. Being handmade was another good selling point."

★★★★★ "Received my shoes today. Very happy with them. Fit like a glove and feeling amazingly comfortable."

Our story

The story of Charlie Butler more or less happened by accident, and might sound familiar. After deciding to become vegan, I increasingly found that animal products are integrated into day-to-day products and that alternatives often don’t meet the quality of normal products.

After searching three different shopping centres in two different cities for a pair of non-leather formal shoes, I couldn’t find anything I was happy with. Of course I did find non-leather shoes, but nothing that matched the quality of a good leather pair. I had no choice but to buy one. I ended up throwing it away a week later after it gave me terrible blisters.

At the time, I was visiting Jakarta for a product expo. At the fair I saw a range of different products such as bins, art equipment and kitchen supplies. And then I saw shoes; leather, hand-made and high quality. I connected the dots and approached the shoemakers, asking them if they would be willing to work with synthetic leather instead of animal leather. They all looked at me like I was crazy, but eventually one agreed - Charlie Butler was born. I now wear nothing other than Charlie Butlers.

I feel like most non-leather shoes that are produced by the usual big brands are more of an afterthought; a hastingly created option that is added to the brand’s collection to fill a marketing opportunity. I guess with all these things, whether it’s coconut yoghurt, veggie hamburger patties, or fake meat, it just needs refinement and a brand to come along and do it properly.

We wanted to create a great shoe from the outset, with vegan materials. We spent a lot of time sourcing and developing our own materials and putting together a shoe that’s well designed. It seems to have worked - everyone that wears our shoes say that they are the most comfortable shoes they have worn. To our great surprise, when we surveyed our customers from our last Kickstarter campaign, we found that more than half of them weren’t even vegan, or vegetarian.

The first crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter was successfully funded, after which we launched our online store.

Charlie Butlers are hand-made by skilled local Indonesian craftsman. Our search for a manufacturer wasn’t easy - finding a manufacturer that was willing to experiment with us and go through multiple cycles of testing was hard. We test our shoes extensively to make sure they last and perform under pressure.

Nowadays shoes have lots of features that aren’t really needed, like extra thick soles or extra padding. We decided to create our product using simplicity as the main theme. We ended up with a shoe that feels natural and weightless, similar to walking in bare feet. Our shoes are flexible in all directions right from the start, like a sneaker. And, like leather, our material moulds to your foot for the perfect fit.

Charlie Butler wants to be worn by vegans and non-vegans alike. We think the biggest contribution to preventing animal cruelty is to make great looking shoes for ordinary people that would otherwise buy leather. We’re trying to be the Lord of the Fries of shoes - Lord of the Fries is an Australian ethical fast-food chain. Without looking up close and paying attention, you can’t tell you’re being served vegetarian or vegan burgers and hot-dogs, and we’re guessing most people don’t know either - it’s promoted as a typical fast-food chain.

We would like to get some more traction and experiment with new materials like Piñatex™, or mushroom fiber. There’s still a lot more that we can do. The carbon footprint of synthetic materials, and even cotton is still quite high. We’ve got a long way to go.

For now, the result is a great looking shoe - versatile and comfortable.