I am assuming those are either:
In which case, you could take them to a competent cobbler and have them fix it for a small fee.
LOL. Thirds. But otherwise great except for a small scuff that brushed out very nicely with no other help.
Yes its very clean and I do agree its unlikely due to stress. Maybe a mishap during manufacturing after most of the boot was completed. That piece is so small (it just runs from under the bottom 4 eyelets then bridges the gap to the tongue), I find it hard to believe AE would have used a miscut piece just to save a couple of $$.
I got a pretty good deal on them so I guess get it sewn up, roll the dice and hope it doesn't continue down any further. Maybe in addition a very thin piece of lining leather on the underside to reenforce the repair.
Seems like a pretty simple task for any competent cobbler, but if anyone has a suggestion in the NYC area (actually NJ even better) I'd be willing to give them my business.