Skip the trail runners, you can thank me later. Unless you meet my 20/20 rule, trail runners are not for you. It's very simple, two of the following must apply to you: You're in your 20's, you're carrying 20 lbs or less (water excluded), you can do 20 miles a day or average 20 minute miles per hour(pack and water included) in any terrain.
I just switched to Lowa Ronan GTX mid-hikers and it's hard to imagine I will go back. Stability, traction, protection and durability are way beyond anything a plactic trail runner can provide. Not a Goretex fan, but after hiking up the Mist trail and sloshing around in the Merced, it was pretty cool to have dry socks and boots.
When it comes to what brand, it's what fits you. Lowa fits me perfect, everytime, out of box. The quality is excellent and they have a buzzillion boots to choose from. They classify my boots under the day, short-haul or weekend category. These things are beefy and would standup for months on the trail. You should check out the beasts they reccomend for "backpacking".
Poles are a must and knee savers on the downhill climbs. Mine are old school Leki Makalus. Bulletproof and heavy at 22ozs, but I can swing them all day any my arms are never fatigued. There is a big split between anti-shock and no anti-shock and I am in the no anti-shock camp. I absolutely hate anti-shock.
The springy, vague and uncertain pole plants drive me nuts.
I recently purchased some BD Ultralight Carbon Z-Poles which weigh a scant 9+ ozs, but they felt fragile and would never take the beating my Makalus can; I took them back without a try.