It's true, all of these boots you mention look similar, as well as having similar activity ratings. If I had to state a difference, now owning wearing both the Tahoe (which I didn't favor) and the Backcountry, it would be in the stiffness of the leather upper (of the Tahoe), as well as a more traditional boot sole of the Tahoe and Summit.
I think it was the boot sole of the other two that felt a little too slick on the rocks of the New England states, as well as a less-forgiving upper. The tread on the Tahoe and Summit feel more suited for the generally firm footing of outdoor construction work (house/land projects) than for the varying and uneven terrain of a hiking trail. The other aspect that factors in uniquely to my case is the mere fact that I wear orthotics in all of my foot-soles.
I do feel like the Backcountry boots provide that same narrow, European boot cut, but allow for better foot flexibility with the combination of the foot sole and leather upper. My only beef thus far with the Backcountry boots are the flimsy shoe strings that are beginning to tear only with only a couple months of "modest" use (the break-in period, and day hikes no more than 10 miles).
With considerable experience hiking in the Yellowstone/Teton front & backcountry, I'm more inclined to take lighter boots that provide comfort for 20-mile slogs. That said, any of these Italian-made Alico boots should provide a bang for your buck that some of the near competitors (Asolo, Lowa, etc.) can't quite match!
FYI... below is a summary of what I posted on the Alico line... hope it helps... Aloha!!!
Reviewed by 50th State Scoutmaster from Waipahu, Hawaii on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I have been checking out these new glued on (sole) boots from Alico for a while now as I only use the sewed on type of soles for all my hiking and work boots... see below review on the Alico shoe line that I wrote in Feb. 2013 (which is also currently posted in the Alico Summit Review section).
Going back to the Alico Backcountry... I only ordered these boots as it was at a "very good" low price and was mainly curious as to how they actually are since I mostly use only Alico Tahoe & Summit shoes for work and play.
I must say... these look and feel good and sort of reminds me of an old pair of Vasque Sundowners that I used for casual outings.
In a nutshell... these are exactly like the Alico Tahoes, but with a glued on sole.
Been using these daily to the office/field for the past 4 days... much lighter and the sole is more flexable... overall, very comfortable!
Would I use these on my usual long backpacking hikes? ... probably not and only because I do not want any chances at all of my boots coming apart... which has nothing to do with the Alico line.
These pair will most likely be the casual 'go on the night' or 'drive in camp' shoe... only because they 'look good', 'very comfortable' and 'light'.
Again... below is a review from Feb. 2013 on all the other Alico boots... Aloha!!!
Trust me... these boots are that good!!!
Reviewed by 50th State Scoutmaster from Waipahu, Hawaii on Monday, February 11, 2013
I just picked me up another pair of Alico Summits... and this is the 5th pair of Alico boots that I have purchased. I currently have 2 Alico Tahoes, 1 Alico Guide and now 2 Alico Summits and I can honestly comment on each and every model. The Alico Tahoe is a good overall hiking shoe that is very comfortable to wear. It has somewhat of a 'Gortex' fabric like liner on the inside. Very easy to break in... and like all leather shoes, one must be able to take the time to break in... but the Tahoes will fit fine after a few days. Suggest getting the Tahoes for general hiking and where you are not carrying too much of a heavy backpack load. I also have a pair that I use for work daily as I have to check jobsites on occasion and look somewhat presentable when in the office. The Tahoes are similar to the Merrell Wilderness boot... another good boot that I own. The Alico Summits are truly 'my favorites'... almost the same as the Tahoes, but has a higher ankle support, thicker soles and is leather lined. This Summits are similar to my 15 year old Vasque Legends but had a shorter 'break in' time. I recently used my Summits on a Philmont Scout Ranch (New Mexico) trek expedition in July 2012 with my sons' boy scout troop and did not get one single blister the whole entire time. Like all good leather shoes... one must properly maintain by cleaning and oiling on a regular basis. Lastly... The Alico Guides... the 'mother extreme' of all boots. These took over a month to get comfortable with... and till this day (after 2 years of owning it) I have not had the need to use as it is basically a more 'heavy duty' version of the Summits... thicker leather, thicker soles, heavier, etc. ... PLEASE NOTE THAT UNLESS YOU INTEND TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN, THESE ARE JUST PLAIN "OVER KILL" FOR A BACKPACK HIKE. However... as a "MAN", at least I can say that I have a pair of these and can be prepared if I do need to 'climb a mountain'... for now, these only stay in the closet and brought out occasionally to start a conversation with others : ) Seriously... if you are just into general hiking & backpacking... just get either the Tahoes or Summits... better yet, spend the extra $25.00 and just get the Summits... you will not regret it!!! Oh yeah... all these Alico models come with cheap & flimsy insoles... just pull them out and throw them away and get whatever insoles you are comfortable with. Hope this helps in your decision making... Aloha!