If we consider what our wilderness foot gear really should provide, we can list types and styles in order of perceived need. It should ALWAYS start with Comfort, Performance and Protection that's what all wilderness footwear should provide and have in common regardless of type.
For trail walking a simple pair of Approach Shoes are all that is necessary. These are like athletic shoes (sneakers) on steroids. Comfy and cushy but with an aggressive tread. Although these are light weight and give good flex and fit, they suffer from lack of support.
That takes us to the next level up. The Light Hiker, is a bit more like a true boot. With a cushioned collar and stiffer foot bed, these provide protection from shock due to repetitive heavy foot falls. They also (if designed correctly) stabilize the ankle against hyper lateral movement a.k.a. side sprains. The toe box is generally a bit wider to accommodate the inevitable swelling that occurs as you walk. It also allows for socks more suited to the outdoor activities you will be performing. The heel section is stiff, thick and cradles the foot. The latest designs are made with a mix of synthetic and traditional materials. Leather is strong and durable but heavy and needs careful care to stay supple and strong not to mention weather resistant. Textiles like Nylon (Cordura) and mesh like ballistic cloth are nearly indestructible and lite weight but give little support or stiffness. Combinations of these for the boot upper as well as the materials for the sole are common. EVA foam makes up the majority of bottoms on Light Hikers, a tough closed cell material that can be formed easily and cheaply. Over that a harder more ware resistant lug is attached. Most are glued instead of stitched (better boots are glued then stitched) but some very good glued boots are out there and for the price, they will give you adequate service life.For the real rocky terrain or for times when you are traveling under very heavy loads you must have a full sized Hiker/Trekking boot. These things are the real deal Neal! Full vertical isolation of movement as well as strong lateral protection. Magnum soles and toe/heal boxes that are practically armoured. Lacing's should be of the strongest material so the boot can be cinched tightly. Full lug soles such as Vibram are a must as is a reinforced inner shank of steel or rigid plastic. These boots are heavy, even with today's modern materials and production methods they remain the heaviest boots you are ever likely to own. Climbing to the next level up, the Expedition or Double boot is a very technical piece of foot furniture. These boots are designed to be ultra stiff so as to accommodate "tools" such as skis, snow shoes and crampons. The rigidness of the foot bed gives the climber a platform to stand up on without experiencing the flex that would cause muscle fatigue or reduce the tools efficiency. Like a pack frame, the stiffness much like an exoskeleton, becomes an asset while moving. These also tend to be more heavily insulated for use in the more extreme environments. I wore a pair of these during a winter attempt of Mount Washington in the eighties, they were a mixed blessing. One really must get used to the inflexible sole before you spend much time in them. Shin pain is a common complaint of those who use these boots on anything much less then vertical.
The Woodsman's or Hunters boot is so common and practical that most backwoods travelers will find them better then adequate. Most are leather and full lugged with support that goes above the ankle. A simple yet rugged design that has caused them to be used for everything from dragging White Tails to walking I beams. These are the common mans wilderness shoe.
Not to take anything away from the strong utilitarian value of this type of boot, on the contrary. These boots are almost perfect for the average wilderness walker. Where they lack features is in their simplicity. Few are as comfortable as true hikers and they don't have the level of adjustments the purpose built hiking boots does. They can be hot in warm weather and cold in winter. I have a pair of Danner boots I use for deer hunting. These boots are top of the line stalking -rugged terrain - climb up sharp scree - march into hell to kill the Devil foot wear. The soles have no "bald" spots, being lugged their entire length. A Vibram feature called Kletterlift that has even been used by the military under the name "Fort Lewis boots". I dig em to the extreme. With integral Gortex booties and Thinsolite insulation, these things are serious toe hotels. They make the most of high tech materials and time tested high quality leather. The soles are a combination of leather and hard waring rubber that is stitched to the boot for years of long reliable life. Pity I wont be here to see how my grand kids like em when they inherit them.
Probably my best all around choice for Wilderness Travel/Survival.Last on my list of wilderness foot wear is the legendary Pack Boot. Heavily insulated winter boots such as those made popular by Sorel, LL Bean and others. These are the standard for those who are active in very cold yet less vertical terrain. These boots utilize a thick outer leather upper and a heavy "soft" lugged water proof rubber bottom over a removable inner bootie usually of wool batting or lofty synthetic equivalent. Some of these may even have an exaggerated "peak" on the toe and heel to affix snow shoes or ice creepers. They are exceedingly popular with ice fishers and snow mobilers. Truly built for extreme cold but NOT for hiking. They are heavy as hell and the area where the rubber bottom meets the leather top flexes too much to give adequate support. Still if you are standing around the hole waiting for a pickerel or sitting in a tree stand waiting for old mossy horns, these just might be the boots for you. I own a pair of Rocky Pack Boots that are very warm and cozy rated for forty below zero. My feet have never been cold while waring them.
Choose wisely and try on everything you are considering (with the appropriate socks of course) and keep in mind the intended use for the boot you pick, you might just end up needing more then one type of boot.
Of course these boots are available in woman's and Child sizes so everyone can get the right boot for the adventure you've planned.
The common mistake when buying wilderness foot wear is thinking you can press one type of boot into service as another. This leads to sprains, fumbles and fatigue and a miserable time. You owe it to yourself to think through the process and make educated choices.
Take care of those Dogs and they'll take care of you.