With the exception of mountaineering and winter backpacking, the trend is people switching to trail runners.  I myself was a 'boot person' for MANY years and noticed that hundreds of folks doing thru hikes used trail runners.  So I've tried them, and haven't looked back, for about 4 yrs.  Ankles in tact.

I also own a pair of merrell boots for my winter treks.  To make them water proof I slather on mink-oil or sno-seal, I also have some water proof socks and some neoprene socks for warmth.

Anyhoo...I'm telling you, you cannot buy a more sturdy, better fitting, with the absolute most cushion available on the market than the hoka one one.  I'm using the stenson atr 5 with the "plush" cushioning.  You can get Hoka's at REI or the hoka web site, both allow unquestioned returns within a specified time period, i.e. both will let you take them on a trip and return them if you don't like them. The stenson also has a good-wide toe box.

good luck!

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes