REI is a good choice for first boots/shoes as you can return them within 1 year. Major imortance!!
Please don't discount the use of a smaller than boot solution. Trail runners seem to have taken over as the favorite backpacking footwear. After over 35yrs of boots, I switched to trailrunners and the only thing that's changed is the massive comfort level of a very 'cushion-y', extrememly lighter weight comfort not found with a boot. Now approaching 5yrs in trail runners. I do use my boots in the winter however for the extra grip, especially if there's going to be snow. But...and there's always a but....trailrunners are fine walking of packed summer snow.
If you watch through hikers on the AT, PCT, or CDT, you will only see trail runners! Something to think about.
ps - don't rely on gore tex to keep feet dry! Bring an extra pair of dry socks for around camp (cover feet in a plastic bag if you wear the wet boots around camp), then put back on the wet pair the next day to try to dry while walking.
REI member since 1979