I had these Dr. Marten's boots (don't laugh! this was high school) that I bought specifically to distress. They are deadstock from many a year back, and I thought their age/status as closet dwellers would have dried them out.
Well, my mistake. Apparently, I purchased a pair made from literally the finest/toughest leather ever made. I guess from the period before they became popular enough to be mass-produced. I never polished them once, and they stayed pristine throughout 6 years of off-on trying to scuff/distress the burgundy-esque brown leather (which is actually probably my favorite leather to date, even considering my newfound fashion intelligence).
To make a long story short, I always wore them traveling because leather boots w/ rubber soles travel much better than tennis shoes. I wore them to Guatemala, and intentionally climbed Volcan Pacaya with them on. During the climb, near the height where I had to turn around for heat stroke's sake, they finally began to distress. The volcanic rock cut into the leather and the heat distressed both the leather and the rubber soles.
I realize that Dr. Marten's are a crime, but these boots look fabulous (IMO) and I get plenty of compliments when I wear them w/ jeans.
Just a thought!!! Though I wouldn't do that to your J&M's!!!