Engineer boots as the name suggests originated from the engineering industry to protect the feet and legs while in the workshop or on site, typically between 10 and 18 inches high but in some cases up to 38 inches high. Engineer boots were normally made from black heavy weight leather and were very hard wearing and therefore were adopted as biker boots to give protection against the elements.
The needs of the biker were almost identical to those of the engineer; protection for the feet and lower leg from abrasion in the case of an accident and also from burns due to the heat of the engine and exhausts.
Engineers boots usually have hard rubber soles to give protection from harmful chemicals or pieces of hot or sharp steel.
The upper part or shaft of the engineer boot was typically plain with few seams, this is also good for motorcycling as it makes the boots more waterproof. Also with no laces or buckles there was less to snag on parts of machinery or the bike.
Engineering boots were first made for a purpose to protect the engineer but like many things they find popularity in other fields and the engineer boot became part of motorcycling sub culture.
A very good British made boot is that made by Grinders.