It really is down to the individual horse. In the US I can get away with barefoot for most of the year but as soon as work picks up in the summer and they begin to look sore then they get shod
I have tried loads of different boots and never really got on with any of them either because they don't fit well, rub the horse or make them feel 'clompy' to ride, we go up and down some pretty steep slopes with rocks and sharp loose stones so I need to at least feel that my horses are surefooted and I don't seem to get that with boots
In the UK our hunters would do 2 to 3 hours of road work a day as part of their fitness programme, lots of trotting and I never had a horse go lame or get leg problems from being shod.
I certainly wouldnt argue with anyone who was happy riding in boots, barefoot or shod - none of my business what they do.