Every one is different, but my Whitney single day summit ('08?) was the last time I wore boots except for cave hikes for some reason. There is just not enough cushion and they are too stiff for me: my feet hurt and blister. I switched to trail running shoes all the time, though sometimes I forget to wear the ones with a partial shank / stiffer sole and suffer mostly temporary acute plantar fasciitis. In the snow or expected wet trails and on multiday trips I have fallen in love with just one shoe: some waterproof Merrell. I would have to look up the name of it, but since I can't find it online I fear for my future (luckily I have a new pair waiting, I always by another one or two when I fall in love).
ANYHOW the point is, for me the best backpacker/long distance hiker/snow or wet hiker is going to be a "trail runner" with Goretek that has both cushion and a stiffer sole or a shank. I have spent years trying out shoes and now I'm usually pretty solid - my feet are jerks and can give themselves blisters if they get wet so I pair a stable shoe with a toed sock liner and thick-ish wool socks.
EDIT: just a note that for actual trail runs and single-day hikes under 14 miles I am in Brooks trail runners of various types, they have the width in the toe and are cushy and are tight enough in the heel, which is the reason I cannot wear men's shoes despite being at the very end of sizing for women's (11).
Good luck finding what works for you!
Thanks for sharing your feedback. I have tried out the North Face shoes I got on 2 short/easy hikes. Seems ok.....doesn't have the foot support of a heavier hiking boot, but at the same time it is lighter.
I need to go on longer practice hikes with a loaded backpack before deciding.