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Ruined pants?

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I have a pair of Thor pants that my wife usually washes for me occasionally. The last time I decided to do it myself and thought that air drying would be the way to go. I let them hang for a day or so and when I went to fold them noticed the leather patches were both hard as concrete. The wash cycle I used, as well as the detergent was exactly what my wife usually does with no issues. I ran them again and machine dried them this time and it made no difference. I coated them with mineral oil and it helped a little but I'm pretty sure the leather isn't coming back. I've never had this happen to a pair of pants before and am wondering if anyone has any tricks to re-soften the leather? If I try to bend it flat it starts to crack so I've been gently trying to massage the oil into the leather.

Is there any hope or should I make them into a cool pair of orange Thor shorts? :(

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I have always used leather treatment wipes like they have for cars

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I'll get some mink oil and saddle soap today. Thanks for the info everyone.

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