Everyone likes to be comfortable. Comfort is especially important when buying hiking shoes/boots. When looking for the right pair, you want to buy something that is meant for the type of hiking you do.
Yes, there is a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots. Hiking shoes are more low cut, and almost look like a sneaker. If you mostly do day trips, i would suggest staying on the shoe side. Hiking shoes are low cut and are made with flexible mid-soles
Hiking boots come in all different styles and varieties. Hiking boots come in high-cut and mid-cut. The cut of them and which ones you should get are based more on preference. With that said, hiking boots do come in a variety for the type of hiking that will be done. Boots are great for day trips and especially great for backpacking trips with a lighter load. They are very easy to break in as well.
Either its hiking boots or hiking shoes, it all depends on preference and the circumstances. When looking for hiking shoes you want to try many on, and cater to your hiking trips.