In my experience, corrected-grain shoes are the ones that show the GREATEST improvement from being stripped/repolished. The purpose of the grain correction-- which is applied like a paint job over the entire hide-- is to cover any potential flaws, and to give the less sophisticated buyer a "shiny as a new dime" look. When I have stripped midpriced shoes (always with acetone and paper towels), the leather underneath has generally been uniform, since after all the likelihood of the show having a visible flaw in a prominent place is small on an overall basis. And the improvement in appearance is dramatic. Not only do stripped and repolished shoes look more expensive immediately, their crease patterns thereafter are much more "natural."
I understood the purpose of the application of the plastic finish was to make the shoe absolutely even in finish in color - without regard to how the leather will accept the dyeing process. Of course, the whole purpose of antiquing is to develop an uneven color. simply another instance of how different tastes can appreciate entirely different results. If I was faced with the challenge of changing the color, I would first start with the darkest color I though I was going to use. There is only so much pore space to fill. Filling it with red will make the shoes resemble a fox, then you have to tame it. I would apply the darkest burgandy cream I could find to the light brown shoe. Then use a light weight conditioner to try to get it moved into the leather. Then do that again. don't worry too much about the color yet. Get them as dark as you want, then apply some of the red to brighten the highlights. Alternating the polishing with dark burgandy and a red cordovan should bring about some consistency of tone over time - if you want to do that. Using conditioner with each polishing will further drive the color into the leather, probably unevenly, and get you on the road to the antiqued finish. I would be very cautious about stripping. The striping can be uneven as well.