Boots: 14 hole Doc Martens, black, real leather.
Wipe down with damp paper towels.
Wipe down with dry paper towels.
Coat with Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam using included sponge. Be sure to work balsam into stitches and exposed edges. I ordinarily don't like to shill for particular products, but I started using this stuff to help break in my boots (it makes the leather softer, so it adapts to your feet more readily) and I was wearing them clubbing within a month of getting them (instead of six months to a year). It's amazing stuff.
Wait half an hour. Get some coffee, go for a run, something like that.
Buff balsam off with a clean, dry cloth. I use a regular washcloth set aside for doing my boots.
Prep your boot polish. I like Kiwi Shoe Polish Paste, just make sure it's the right color for your boots. Pop the lid and set the polish on fire with a lighter or matches. No, seriously, I mean set it on fire. The polish will melt faster than it burns. When at least half the polish is burning, drop the lid back on and make sure it closes completely.
Wait. The flame will burn itself out because the oxygen inside the container (there isn't much) will be used up. Wait for the pressure to build up inside the tin and pop the lid off with a festive "Poing!"
(If this doesn't happen inside of five minutes, just open the tin. No big deal.)
The shoe polish is now a thick goop instead of a waxy mass. Apply polish to your boots with a sponge.
Wait another half hour.
Buff dried polish off with a clean, dry cloth. I usually flip the washcloth over and use that, but do whatever works. Rub until the finish doesn't look smoky anymore. Mine tend to look clean but a little on the dull side. That goes away as I wear them for a while.
Re-lace and wear for an hour or two to take advantage of the new dose of balsam soaked into the leather making it a bit softer than usual.
Repeat every one or two months, or after cleaning them if they get dirty.