I think there are good uses for conventional rims, but there are also 'cons', as with everything, to understand & consider. I wouldn't generally(there are exceptions) put shoes on unhealthy feet, but keep them *unshod* - as opposed to necessarily bare, at least until their feet are healthy & only shoe if/when necessary.
Horses don't generally need protection for what they're living on(like yourself on carpet), unless their feet are extremely bad, but if they're not used to gravel roads or such, they won't have the calluses, regardless of how healthy or otherwise their feet. They will be uncomfortable, or in pain, so won't move & use their feet properly(like yourself if not used to going bare on gravel).
So 'transitioning' a horse to go bare is entirely possible & may well be just a matter of gradual habituation, but I don't think a 'try it & see' approach is good. My problems with this are a) if the horse has compromised, painful feet, forcing him to go bare may be cruel & may just make matters worse. b) if a healthy footed horse is not/not yet used to rough footing, he is going to be uncomfortable too, not use himself properly and risk injury. So my approach is to boot or otherwise protect the horse wherever necessary to encourage good movement *& therefore development*, but leave it bare wherever possible so long as it's comfortable.
Depending on your situation, your horse's environment & what you want of him, etc, 'rock crunching' bare feet on any terrain are indeed possible. But for most, that may 'work' on different surfaces, undeveloped hooves, for eg, they will likely always need protection/support on some surfaces & situations. Hoof boots are IME a great solution for most.