Phil: The Belleville Army model is 390 and NOT the model 600 and that may be part of the problem. The Model 600 (Air Force) incorporates everything Belleville and the military has learned in field testing of the Army and Marine boots, and hence is the best of their boots thus far.
I wore the Belleville 600's this spring in fairly wet conditions in the mountains of central Spain and they did NOT take long to dry out. Now obviously, if it is raining or you are constantly walking through slop and dew, they will stay wet until the rain stops and the slop and dew dry out. What else do you expect? My Bellevilles did NOT absorb much water. The leather is treated at the factory with silicone which prevents water absorption (at least until the silicone wears off, which takes between about 200 miles when the boot flexes at the front to at least 1000 miles at the heel, where there is no flexion) while still allowing breathing. Even after 1000 miles of use, my boots still have enough silicone that I don't worry about getting them soaked by wading through streams. Maybe your boots didn't have enough silicone treatment. As for the cordura uppers, these will dry faster than any running shoe on the market. As I noted previously, the upper is straight breathable cordura, with no lining on the inside. Every running shoe I've ever seen has some sort of lining which slows drying drastically. Also, I'm quite surprised your laces failed. Mine look about as durable as laces can be. Combined with the lack of silicone treatment suggest you got a bad batch of boots. Or maybe the Army boots are defective compared to the Air Force boots.
(Note: I realize now what the problem is. The Army boots are NOT a jungle/desert boot, but rather a pure desert boot. The Marine and Air Force boots are jungle/desert boots, and thus are designed for wading through streams without the leather absorbing water and with vent holes to allow pumping out water that gets inside the boots. These vent holes are an improved version of the grommets Phil mentions installing, because they have a wire mesh to prevent sand and dirt from getting inside. For those of you who didn't read my previous post carefully, AVOID THE MARINE BOOT FOR BACKPACKING!)
As for cold weather, well, any breathable shoe is going to be uncomfortable when it gets wet and then freezes at night. At least the Bellevilles are roomy enough that I WAS able to get my feet inside when they were frozen in the morning. And again, they simply didn't absorb much water and so quickly unfroze as I walked in them. It helps to have wool socks. If it were really cold, I would have worn neoprene socks. Neoprene socks will work for any breathable boots or shoe.
The problem with most boots, in my experience, is that they try to "support" the foot and thus cause all sorts of problems. The human foot doesn't need support. Assuming the foot has well-developed muscles (which you get from walking barefoot on rocks), all it needs is plenty of room at the front of the shoe for the toes to spread out and behave the way nature intended, and the Belleville boots give that room. So the ideal footwear consists of a wide sole that doesn't abrade too quickly, some means of attaching that sole to the foot without causing other problems, and some means of preventing the foot (especially the heels) from drying out and cracking. Sandals handle the first two problems, and there are various ways of dealing with the dryness when wearing sandals. I've walked about 5000 miles in sandals, in every sort of terrain though not much in snow, and the Belleville boots are the first footwear I've found that is quite close to sandals while being durable enough that I'm not constantly worrying about replacements.
You might be able to find low top trail runners with a wide front, but my feet aren't just wide, but very muscular at the metatarsal arch from all the barefoot and sandal walking I have done. So every trail runner and conventional boot I have tried, and I've tried at least 10, has caused me horrible pain until I eventually weaken the stitching enough to get extra room. By contrast, the Bellevilles fit me perfectly from the day 1. I think part of the reason for this is that the Bellevilles can afford to be very wide at the front because of how high the upper is. They hold me feet at the bottom of the lower leg, just above the ankles, whereas most shoes try to grab the foot at the metatarsal arch. Obviously, because the Bellevilles are so loose on me, they offer little ankle support, but given that I used to walk in sandals, I really don't need ankle support at this point.
Roger: I know you are prejudiced against the term "combat boots", but these Belleville boot do NOT force the foot to stomp around as if goose-stepping on a parade ground. (Some of the other combat boots I examined are another story.) I walk the same way in my Belleville boots, regardless of terrain, as I used to walk in Teva Hurricanes, which is about the flimsiest sandal imaginable, which in turn isn't too different from how I walked barefoot. If you know how to walk AND IF YOUR FOOTWEAR IS SUFFICIENTLY LOOSE AND FLEXIBLE TO ALLOW THE FOOT TO OPERATE THE WAY NATURE INTENDED, then you can walk "cat-style" or "fox-style" or any other style regardless of the style of footwear.
For those of you who are curious as to whether the Bellevilles 600's last more than 1000 miles, I'll be taking another long hike this fall, once the heat dies down, and I'll give a report after that hike is over. But given the condition of my boots at this point, I am pretty confident they'll reach at least the 2000 mile mark and still have plenty of rubber left on the soles.