yeah, you can... but its not easy. There aren't that many brands that make good side-zips. S2A makes some, but while they're decent they're definitely not as nice as MMM. NDC has a couple models but they aren't always the easiest to find (especially in your size + on sale).
You're probably right. I just think it's a lot of money to pay for boots that are essentially mall brand level quality. Can't put a price on the styling though.
Anyway i've talked enough about shoes ITT, I think you all know my opinion.