Originally Posted by mymil
I'm not surprised crappy uppers deteriorated quickly (in terms of number of days worn). I'm curious whether you think it's more because they were crappy, because you didn't condition them regularly enough, or because you wore them multiple days in a row? It seems like the first two are the more likely culprits.
I actually think it's the third, for various reasons. Of course I recognize that my sample of... well, me... is hardly a scientific study. Anyway, here is my analysis of the other two possible factors:
1. Crappy leather: Possibly a contributor, but on the other hand I have a pair of fake leather Dr. Marten boots (don't ask) that were my primary bad weather shoe for about a decade, and with no upper care other than occasional wax polishing, the uppers have outlasted the soles. Granted these are synthetic, but I have a great deal of experience with synthetic leather shoes (again, don't ask) and in my experience fake leather is far more prone to cracking than real leather, not the other way around. Since these Dr. Marten's (a) were used disproportionately in bad conditions compared to my other shoes, (b) have soles in need of replacement (indicating that they have had considerable use over their life), and (c) still have not cracked, I conclude that some combination of care and rest has preserved them.
2. Insufficient conditioning: Possible, but eons ago I was a frequent traveler and made liberal use of the airport shoeshine stand. So my shoes didn't get the care they do now post-SF, but they received a frequent dose of cream polish of some variety. And it's true that my shoes lasted longer in my road warrior days than after, presumably because of the additional care, but I was still replacing them about every year.