The term upper refers to, as you might have guessed, the top part of a shoe, not including the sole. The upper is attached to the outsole of a shoe and may be made from a variety of materials, including leather, satin, suede, and synthetics. It can be cut from a single piece or be made of many pieces stitched together, depending on the shoe style. The vamp, the back, the tongue, the quarter, and the lining are all parts of the upper.
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