Shoe Glossary: Quarter

Caring for the Quarter

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The quarter is part of a shoe's upper. It covers the sides and back of the foot behind the vamp. The heel part of a quarter is often reinforced with sturdy material to better support the rear of the foot. Some shoes are designed with a single piece of material that composes the entire quarter and vamp, while others are made with a separate piece of material that is attached to the vamp. Most shoes feature a second piece of material.

Parts of the Quarter

The quarter contains the counter, also known as the heel cup or heel counter. The counter is attached to the quarter and reinforces the heel area, which takes the most wear and tear over the course of a shoe's lifespan.

The top edge of the quarter where the foot is inserted is known as the top line in a dress shoe and a collar in a sneaker. Depending on the type of shoe, this part of the shoe is typically padded to provide extra cushioning and comfort.

The tongue is also attached to the quarter. The flexible material lies under the laces and helps to keep the foot secure inside the shoe.

Quarter Lining:

Like the rest of the shoe's interior, the quarter is lined with leather or fabric. Sometimes the entire shoe is lined with fabric and just the inside of the heel counter is lined with leather. The material that is used in the lining of a shoe is very important. Natural linings, like leather and fabric, will last a lot longer than a synthetic lining. Generally the more expensive the shoe, the better the lining.

How to Maintain the Quarter:

Any new pair of shoes needs to be broken in. The quarters and heel counters are often what feel the tightest. In some cases, it can feel downright painful, but the shoes need to maintain some level of tightness in order to stay on the feet.

While it's important to break in the shoes so they don't hurt your feet, it's easy to accidentally overdo it. The quarters and heel counters are most often the first parts of the shoe to become too loose and broken in. You might own a pair of shoes that once felt perfectly snug on your feet, but stretched out and feel too roomy in the heel. This is because as the foot sweats, the shoe absorbs the moisture, and its shape changes to conform to the shape of the foot. While this allows for a more customized fit, it can quickly reach a point of no return.

To maintain the original shape of a pair of shoes so they securely fit your feet, don't wear your favorite shoes every day. The shoes need time to air out and return to their original shape. You can also use a shoe tree to keep the shoe structured.

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