This is a very important topic. I recommend that the Admin move it to The Pro Shop, where it would have more visibility. Here are my thoughts.
(1) I agree that technical advances in boot design have been extraordinarily slow. But I’m optimistic that the pace of development will speed up: mainly because boot development cannot proceed in isolation from blade development. Historically, boot designers have gone their own way, and blade designers have gone their own way, without much coordination (analogous to hotdogs and hotdog buns coming in mismatched sizes and package quantities). Now that Jackson and Riedell manufacture both boots and blades, there is at least hope that there will be coordinated design efforts. As a simple example, consider the crude manner in which blades are mated and mounted to boots. Improvements require joint redesign of the boot and the blade.
(2) I skate with Jacksons, not Edeas, but I’m impressed that Edea has taken a fresh look at many aspects of boot design. They at least realize that traditional leather is not necessarily the best material for various parts of the boot (especially the sole and heel). They’ve even designed special screws for mounting the blades onto the boot.
(3) There has been gradual progress over the last 20 years or so, though. The introduction of heat-moldable boots by Jackson was a major improvement. But even minor improvements such as multi-piece contoured tongues, flex-notches, and padded ankle collars are welcome. I bought my first pair of boots (Riedell 220) in the late 60’s. The Riedell line didn’t change much at all through the mid or late 90’s, I believe, just some minor tweaks (the line-up pretty much stayed 220, Silver Star, Gold Star, and Royal, with an ill-fated model above the Royal that was too stiff for practically anyone to break in). I switched from an old pair of Riedell Royals to Jackson Elite Suede last year when I started to devote more time for skating (previously just could make weekend public sessions). Wow! What a difference. The Riedell line also has been thoroughly revamped.
(4) Another reason for slow progress lies with figure skaters themselves, though: in particular, the insistence of form over function. I remember when I was trying on a new pair of Royals in the early 80’s, and I remarked to the skate tech that I wish Riedell would design a boot with rounded toes, conforming to real feet, instead of pointed toes. He told me that a European company had tried to market such a boot, but it didn’t sell because skaters didn’t like the way it looked. Jackson has had good success with their rounded toes, but my current skate tech tells me that many skaters won’t even consider them because they look too clunky. He also tells me that the most popular blades in his shop are Ultima Matrix. Not because they are better performing than MK and Wilson, not because of the tighter quality control, and not because of the advantages of stainless steel runners over carbon steel. But because the girls just absolutely love all the pretty colors.