How much do your cobblers charge to put on TOPY's or other such rubber covers on the soles?
It could be built up "wax" style shoe polish. I had that happen to myself. I think wax style polish should be only used on non creasing areas of the shoe to avoid that potential problem. You'll have creases, theres no way to avoid it, you can minimize it though by the above steps. Or you could step up to cordovan shoes and have waves instead of creases
These aren't my AE's but another pair of shoes that I bought. I think they're actually ripping at a wear spot so I'm going to try to get them nice and supple again before I wear them more and ruin them more. As long as they don't get much worse and rip through, I think they'll be fine with polish.