I'm no expert on Cordovan, but I understand that it's core property is a really tight, compressed pore / fiber structure. Apparently when the tannery is completing the leather, a glass bottle is used to compress the leather.
It is important that the pores not be allowed to expand. This is why Saphir has a specific Cordovan Polish
that does not contain turpentine, which is a solvent used to penetrate the pores to deliver nutrients. Saphir's MDO polish for smooth leathers uses a pine-based turpentine specifically to penetrate deep into the leather to deliver the nutrients. However, if this is used on cordovan, it can cause the pores to expand.
Below is a picture of an experiment I did to compare the difference in penetration between Saphir's Cordovan Polish (left) and their MDO Pommadier Polish (right). You can see that Pommadier Polish penetrates much deeper into the paper than the Cordovan Polish. This is due to the presence of turpentine.
A little more difficult to see is that both still leave a layer of wax (but neither as thick as with the Pate de Luxe wax polish).
It is possible that the water caused the pores to expand, which is why the shoe is creasing.
You could use a Deer Bone
to try to re-compress the pores and smooth out the creasing. The Deer Bone is specifically used for this purpose - and only on Cordovan (don't try to use it on a pair of calf skin shoes).
Hope this helps.
Sorry about the shoes!Edited by kirbya - 1/27/12 at 8:55am