Originally Posted by timw
As someone who has done extensive botany field work in bogs I'd suggest something other than leather boots. I use Converse low tops with much success.
Leather stays wet forever and wet socks and feet increases the risk of blisters and general discomfort. Canvas sneakers (or nylon running shoes) dry quickly and greatly reduce the risk of blisters and discomfort. Ask anybody who does any long distance backpacking about what "boot" they wear. You will find that leather boots are in the very small minority; running shoes will top the list.
Goretex and similar non-proprietary linings only trap moisture inside the boot and add to the risk of blisters. They maybe OK for short uses but for all day comfort they are a bad idea. Cotton socks fall into the same category. They trap moisture inside the boot. Not good.
So, for field work in wet places get yourself something that will dry quickly. For scree slopes get a tough (non-waterproof) breathable leather boot.
This comes from someone with over thirty years of long distance backpacking and wetland field work.
Sorry, your advice is more than just poor it borders on ludicrous.
Low top gym shoes are an extremely poor choice in any kind of woods oriented activity period. There is no ankle support, there is no significant arch support for rough terrain. You can't blouse a gym shoe so the nice friendly ticks crawl up your legs and bite. Leather is the best choice of material for protection against briars. Waterproof leather is waterproof and does not get soaked. What else? The OP lives in VA. Varied terrain from mountainous to hilly to flatland. Heavily wooded. Venomous snakes are common.
As far as wet feet are concerned wear wool socks. Get a soaker, take off the boots, drain them and then wring out the socks. Put them back on and wow your feet feel dry for some reason. Oh that's an old hikers trick.
My advice comes from 45 years of nearly daily activities involving the outdoors in varied climates and terrain in North America. That includes guiding and outfitting people not to mention entirely too much time fishing and hunting.