This makes sense, as the leather expresses more oils and fats as it gets worn.
A thorough soaking from a downpour doesn't hurt, but the tiny persistent droplets from a sprinkle are murder.
Everyone's experience is different, so I don't doubt your pains, but from my experience, I've not encountered the dreaded, undying water welt. When my shell gets wet it looks... wet... the same as the calf or suede I own. Suede really looks like shit when it is wet. I don't know a pair of shoes that look good when wet. Maybe zugs.
My earlier referenced shell boots, a pair of Rancourt Blake boots, got dark water stains on them from me literally walking through puddles in the middle of of a rainstorm in January. I got them all out with a good thorough cleaning/restoration routine which did take a long time. For everything else, including water spots, salt stains, and dried- I don't know what - on them, wiping down with a damp cloth and a stiff horsehair brush got it looking back to normal. Even still, they've never had a water welt. Water spots from dried rain maybe, but nothing a quick brush couldn't fix.
And just in case those boots just seem to have some sort of voodoo going for them, I've also had to wear a pair of Alden 975's in a Vermont snow storm and didn't get anything I couldn't brush off afterwards. The soles looked like shit and I had to re-dress them, but the shell buffed out easily.
Even leaving welts aside, this is far from my experience with shell. Welts - or the tiny ridges and bumps that can form on the surface when shell gets wet - are only half of the problem.
When my shell gets wet, it looks.... like crap. By crap, I mean that every drop of water leaves behind a waxy artifact of its presence, such that the shoes look like they have chicken pox. Just splashing about while washing your hands at the sink can cause the same problem. And those spots are a royal bugger to remove. This is manifestly NOT the case with either calf or suede.
As I have better things to do with my time than spend an hour or more buffing out those waxy spots, I generally reserve my shell shoes and boots for dry days. Some might scoff at this as "babying" my shell, but the choice has nothing to do with fear of harming the shell and everything to do with the fact that I don't like to wear shoes that look like crap.
If I want to beat the hell out of a pair of boots - hiking / camping/ hunting in rain / mud / snow - CX-L or Zug are at the top of my list. Shell is at the bottom.
But more importantly - congrats on post #20,000!
Received these beauties from Skoak some time back, but just got around to wear them, placed the order for these while at the last StC trunk show @Skoaktiebolaget, which I can't recommend enough to everyone; beautiful city and just a great bunch of guys, the service was above and beyond. Not sure I'll ever go back to RTW after being fitted and figuring out my true size. Thanks @GabrielOB @Dannefalk
These are 205's on 606,