The Shure's were actually to Afghanistan and back with a friend of mine who went career with the Army (he came back in one piece as well from there, god bless) I suspect they had at least 1/4 of a years break-in (and you all thought the Rambo Jokes were in bad taste, I was just pulling his leg). I'll see if I can get the Shure's back and get those pads, but my friend is again deployed elsewhere.
When (after my time with Shure's) I played with modifying the Fostex T-50 I realised how much difference in sound pads make (in fact, I use Shure replacement pads with these).
But why on earth would a manufacturer ship a premium product with pads that hurt the sound. Working back from what I know about retail pricing, I know the Shure pads I use on my T50 cost basically nothing and the upgrade in sound quality was stunning.
With respect, if I pay more than 200 USD for a headphone, having pads that hurt sound quality or wearing comfort is something I personally I am not willing to put up with.