Let me preface this by saying that I ride some really tough trails. My horses go barefoot most of the time. But like you I use boots when I know I'm going to ride 2-3-4 days in a row with out any rest.
I have destroyed every buckle and most cables on the Epics that I have owned. So I have gotten rid of all the epics. I have broken both the up and down buckles. It just upsets me to ride 10 miles into the wilderness and find my buckles broke and I have to ride out barefoot.
I switched to Bares. Had much better luck with them. I don't find them any harder to put on. I do have a hard time keeping them on at a canter. When they come off, I usually tear the gaiter.
It just become so expensive to use boots. I was buying new gaiters, buckles and cables every ride.
We are trying some of the gloves this summer. I also tried some of the Vettec Sole Guard last fall and had good results with it. In fact I'll probably use the Sole Guard for any week long rides I do this summer.
There are LOTs of folks who use Epics and Bares and have no problems with them. I suspect they ride in arenas, on gravel roads and easy trails. But I ride in the wilderness and the horses have to step over blow down logs, around and between large rocks, cross creeks and beaver ponds etc. They always seem to catch and break the buckles on something. I've even broken the bungie on several BAREs. We have used cotter pins, we have wrapped the buckles with duct tape. And we still destroy buckles. I've never had a problem with the rubber part of the boot. It's always been the fastening system.
Here is what a set of EPICS looked like after 10 miles. Notice both buckles are broken.
I wouldn't even try Boas in this type of riding.
I read this post and almost thought I had written it. I have had the same exact problems with these boots. (Boas and Epics - gave up before spending money on the Bares).
The only difference is that the trails I ride on were much less difficult, and my problems happened in much less than 10 miles. Maybe riding style has something to do with it (I try to find a way to make an easy trail challenging). Buying new gaiters and installing new cables or buckles every few days gets real old real fast. Not to mention very expensive. If you are going barefoot, you most likely don't need a boot when riding in a ring. Since they wouldn't hold up on trail, I figured what's the point?
I called (no return call) and wrote EasyCare, but honestly, they were not very responsive. They were happy to sell me replacement parts, but always claimed that any problems were somehow my fault.