NO. For me, the boots (shoes) are never necessary. I'm a barefoot hiker, since at 3 years old (in 1962). Life is better barefoot than in shoes, being natural. So ... my bare feet are the best shoes in the world. Thanks (if you can understand this) and all the best, with health and happiness, in peace !
I used to be in the hiking boots camp (see what I did there) but after reading the blogs of some thru hikers I think a pretty valid point has been made for having boots be situational. Really cold weather and high elevations with snow to consider, sure. Warmer climates where you might be facing stream and river crossings, trail runners are becoming more popular due to their light weight and how much more quicly they'll dry. The point to me that helped seal the deal was that even some of the best rated boots on the market, specifically designed to minimize ankle roll, still did not prevent all ankle rolling issues. I opted for lighter weight and just being more mindful of where I'm stepping. I'm sure my next few hikes wont be without incident but will I be more accident prone with trail runners? Who knows. I just picked up a pair of Altra Zero Drop runners and I'm looking forward to taking them out next weekend.
I had a girlfriend who wore big, heavy hiking boots. She endlessly injured her ankles and claimed that the boots protected her ankles. I was wearing New Balance 510 minimalist trail racing shoes at the time, 10 ounce racing shoes. Halfway through a season of backpacking with me she said that I turn my ankles all the time but I recover and keep walking. I never noticed that I turn my ankles. She bought a pair of the New Balance 510 and no longer had ankle injuries. She realized that the boots were causing her ankle problems. Plus going from 3-pound boots to 10-ounce shoes her hiking speed increased. They say that a pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back. After ten years in minimalist shoes I developed metatarsal problems so I now hike in Nike Wildhorse trail running shoes (1 pound 5 ounces).
I used to be a big believer in wearing hiking boots for all hiking and backpacking, however, once I switched over to trail runners I have never gone back. I appreciate how they dry much faster than a goretex boot and they give me more foot and ankle mobility. I never once had an issue with wearing the trail runners when traveling over snow or scrambling off trail in the Sierras.
Whether you prefer to wear trail runners, hiking shoes, or hiking boots, all it comes down to is personal preference.