Ultimately it depends a lot of what you're doing, whether you'll have other boots, and what fits your foot.
Last year I did some 3k+ vertical days in Barons + older Lange Banshees (no walk mode; not super stiff, but narrow last w/ punched 5th met head) and relatively heavy 115mm underfoot skis. My setup was heavy, which was the main issue. But with the top two buckles released, and an otherwise good fit, the only place I got a blister on the first day was on the inside of my right heel. On subsequent trips I put a strip of tape there.... problem solved.
For short distances, I don't have any problem in a nice fitting alpine boot when it comes to foot comfort (though getting such a good fit is what takes work). But the main reasons I'm getting a pair of AT boots are: weight, stride. The former makes a big difference since I'll save 500-800 grams PER foot. That's crazy when multiplied over 3K feet vert. Stride improvements will be welcomed, but to be honest, there's only so much improvement you can get if your'e on a non-tech binding and a ski intended for going down as opposed to up (twinned pow ski; kick turns are not fun with this setup!).
As for boots, fit is probably the most important factor. The Quest series had some big issues in past seasons, but it's apparently being/is fixed (see: TGR). The Cochise line gets tons of good reviews (and it's what I've got; haven't taken them out yet) for being relatively stiff, having a great stride for the category, and being relatively light for the category (notably if you swap the liner for an Intuition)-- and can swap tech/din soles should you ever go in that direction.
That said, you'll get tech people who tell you that the Cochise is crap for skinning or hiking compared to a TLT5... but far better going down or in resort use.
Personally, I'd probably not go out of my way to get a DIN-sole, AT boot for short hikes/skins less than 1000 ft in vert for side-country stuff or skinning out at the bottom. I don't really even care that much until around the 800-1000 meter vert mark... which is the point at which the weight and stride really starts to burn for me on a non-touring-weight ski. Dukes/barons aren't light, so they're really not intended for long tours anyway.