I believe the shell cordovan SDs were done only through Baker's, but I could be wrong. (obviously @sambam will know more and be able to pull strings that I could never imagine, but I figured I'd chime in with my recollection)
These MPs sure do look interesting. Will there be any customization options aside from leather? Pull loop, hooks/eyes, close/standard trim, height, etc? I'd love to pick up a pair in that cinnamon waxed flesh. As a diehard White's fan who has been vacant from the forums for a while, I really appreciate you being so active on here and giving us info straight from the source. Thank you.
Definitely the medium, imho. I have both, but the small is just far too small for anything over a couple of days (I use mine as a gym bag), and the nice thing about a duffle is that they look best when half-filled, so that means the extra size is rarely a bad thing, as it just squishes down. I have the old style medium (a bit bigger), and I have *never* had an issue carrying that on, even if the dimensions are larger than carryon. In truth, I generally carryon the...
I don't have the 48 Hour, but I'd recommend just half-stuffing a medium duffle. Imho, a half-full duffle is always the way to go, as it'll be as small as the stuff which it's holding, yet has space to grow in case you add/buy anything on your travels...plus it just looks better than a fully stuffed bag.
In truth, one of my favorite part about this leather is the dark outside and the lighter core, and I really enjoy the contrast on the toes and heels. The leather isn't overly dry, and there's no way to get the smooth outer layer back...so I don't think the boots would benefit that much from a conditioning right now.
I'm happy to help. Here are a few more for updates. They didn't get as much wear this winter as they would most winters, as I spent a month in Japanut (too often taking shoes on/off) and two months in India (too hot), but it should still show you the progress of this leather.
I have two pairs of dress brown (one in 9" and the other in 6") and the 9" pair is lined while the 6" is not (I wanted to experiment a bit). I notice more creasing in the unlined version, and to be honest, I feel no appreciable difference in breathability in lined vs unlined, so I'd recommend going lined. I can't help you on the leather sole because I've always gone with the Vibram 430 from White's.
Definitely a bad batch. I've traveled all over the world with my White's, and while I keep an extra lace in case of breakage, that's only happened to me once. For it to happen 3 times is just crazy. As an aside, I recommend obenauf-ing laces. They help to prevent them from drying out, but more importantly, the tackiness provided by the beeswax helps to keep them tied.