Billy, couple of observations on your last. Your friends feet got warm because they were able to retain what little heat was in them via the VB socks. Put VB socks on when you're feet are warm and boy those wool socks will be wet with sweat in no time.
and re the water and windproof layer, if you chose eVent or goretex, or even Parameta (paramo's material) then it will breathe with no problem.
I think the thing here is that we all have different gear and different experiences. Evidntly you are keen on VBs and your experience has led to this. No problem there. For me, I'm still of the view that for a vb to truly work in the way it should, the temperature/conditions window is / has to be very narrow. Its a fine line between it working and it creating its own problem.