Thanks for all the replies so far guys.
Let's assume that I don't want to buy used boots. I don't mind buying lots of things used. Boots and helmets are exceptions though, for different reasons. Let's please not get sidetracked into discussing the pros and cons of buying boots used. Thanks.
What are the most inexpensive boots that offer good protection? I understand that the top-of-the-line boots are obviously best, but certainly there are some mid-priced or even budget boots that offer good protection, right? In my experience with protective equipment in general, once you get to a certain point, you're no longer paying for better protection; you're paying for features. I don't need the features; I only need the protection. I can only assume boots are the same way?