Those of you preparing for the AT who may have procrastinated purchasing boots (or if you just need a new pair!) you may be pleased to see this boot for sale at Campmor dot com... At $89.97, they're nearly 50% off. It is available in many sizes, in regular and wide.
I used this boot for the latter 1/3 of my AT hike (NOBO) in '06 and '08, and for my CT hike this past fall ('09)... And I love it.
It is an outstanding, durable boot, built for rugged hiking conditions. (Read the "Features" section at Campmor for a better description.)
When I purchased the boots, I couldn't have cared less about the Gore-tex. And even after all the miles, I can't tell you if it really is a benefit or not... (In my experience, a wet boot is a wet boot!) However, because I have a tender nerve between my toes, (Morton's Neuroma) I needed a wide boot. In truth, though, the Gore-tex never bothered me either.
I use a additional gel insole in the boots (couldn't stand superfeet).
I would suggest this boot for the first 1/3 of the AT and the final 1/3 of the AT. Not that the middle 1/3 of the AT isn't rugged (PA rocks!). However, in between (in the heat of the summer) I wore the Vasque Breeze. Also an outstanding boot.
When I purchased the Breeze, the rep told me it's considered a "lightweight" hiking boot...That I'd be "lucky to get 1000 miles out of the boot on the AT." I got 996 AT miles before I retired them to lawn mowing.
No matter what boots you are going to wear on your hike, break them in now. Try different insoles and wear different socks to see what works for you... Let them get wet, wear them wet a time or two and dry them slowly. If you get blisters, you'll learn to deal with them prior to hitting the trail. (I have never seen blistered feet like I saw on others during my first three days on the AT.)