Adam, as others have said you are right to be confused. You will read tons of stuff about people hiking in minimalist shoes, barefoot, whatever. It is decidedly NOT a good idea to go there right away, if ever. If you run a lot you may have thin-soled, light-weight running shoes which may also not be appropriate for you to hike rocky trails with.
I, for example, hike in Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 something something... They are not goretex and they are certainly not hiking "boots." But if you look at them I'm not sure I'd want to go run 10 miles in them here in the city, either. They have relatively big lugs, a toe guard (which is great for ME), and they are quite cushy. They are, to me, middle ground between a hiking "boot" and my pretty minimalist running shoes. The sole is sturdy enough that I am not bothered by sharp, rocky trails but light enough that I don't even bother to bring camp shoes because these are just fine and I don't feel the need to tear them off at the earliest possible moment.
Anyway, part of the BPL experience is giving things a try that you initially think - "no way!" - because before you know it, you can't imagine why you were so set on doing it the old way.