Originally Posted by iroh
what will happen to a shoe that is worn too often? will the leather turn to dust in front of your eyes and then explode in a flash of white smoke all while you are giving a presentation to an important client? or will something more subtle happen, like small cracks start appearing at the creases? or even more subtle, the leather starts to rot from the inside? how long can one reasonably expect a shoe that is worn every other day to last, with proper care?
They will wear out much more quickly. Decent shoes, properly rotated and cared for, can last for many years. Even the best quality shoes, worn every day, will deteriorate in a few years at most. The sole and heel will wear quickly. The leather will never completely dry out, and will deteriorate. They will smell. They will probably be bad for your feet, between the damp and the wear. It's a waste of good money. They can be resoled, but only so many times. That will not address deterioration in the uppers from being constantly damp.
OP, think about finding three pair to start out, and rotate them. I have no idea what your needs are, so it's difficult to make recommendations, particularly as I am American, and you are British, but here I would start off with a pair of black cap toe oxfords, a burgundy loafer, and maybe dark brown brogues.