I do a lot of walking in my job and I like a low top canvas and leather hiking shoe as light as possible while yet with enough structure to keep my feet supported. I dont like military style water-proof hiking boots because, at the end of a day, youll be dog tired just from their weight. Ive never really had a brand of choice, I usually go up to Cabelas and try em all until one pair feels right. Then I decide on whether their price is worth it or should I look around on line.
When Im out in the field, I usually keep a light pack with MANY extra socks and a pair of tennis sneakers or deck shoes if I need to go climbing over rocks. I also keep a low pair of slip on gum galoshes (as a throw away)for any extensive water trekking like what youd see in the last miles toward Katahdin.
Ive never gone over 100$ for any shoe(except for a pair of well worn in and polished cowboy boots) and I usually always am in a pair of low top Doc Martins for business and general field work. Ive actually hiked many days in just a pair of Doc Martin low top lace shoes with a gum tread. These are my "go-to" shoe and my wife always does my buying (she knows the sizes and keeps me looking dressy and fit for the work days.
.The really expensive hiking boots that Beans sells are just marketing hype IMHO.
Spend the bulk of your entire budget on a good pack frame, bag , and bedroll.
Gonna hike many miles per day? MAke sure you put a destination to either Spruce Knob (W Va) or to Mt Mitchell or Klingmans.