I purchased a pair of AE Rutledge from the Independence Collection on eBay this past spring. The shoes were obviously seconds as the stitch on the back seam was not fully closed. I had it repaired for $20 and they looked perfect. After wearing it a few times I noticed that on the side of the toe box there was a small discoloration. I polished them up a bit and continued wearing them. Several wears later I realized that the leather in that same spot was discolored again but this time it appeared to be cracking a bit as well. I sent them back to AE to see what they could do about the cracking/discoloration. They re-dyed the leather and I received them back yesterday. Below are pics of the shoe - is there something that could be done to soften the leather. I'm afraid the cracking is going to get worse.
Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.