I know - this first picture is a re-post, but it's in here to show different things.
I cut the counter out of the same orange suede I used on the insoles. In class, we used split shoulder (tooling leather), but I don't have a splitter, and I'm thinking that the suede is about the same thickness. I soaked it for a couple of hours in water, and then spread Hirschkleber (elk hoof glue) all over one side. I applied the counter to the back of the last, on top of the lining, but under the outer leather, and lubed up the outside with the hirschkleber. In the photo, the counter is the brown thing on the back of the shoe.
The white, semi-circle piece is the toe box (also known as a toe puff) - it's a thermo-molding material.