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Running boards are a functional exterior upgrade that has gained extreme popularity with the rise of pickup trucks and SUV production since the 1980s. Available in a variety of styles and designs, running boards have become an integral part of a modern lifted truck or SUV. Today, we’d like to guide you through this availability to help you pick out the best running boards for Ford Explorer.

What are running boards?
A running board is a general term that refers to different platforms and constructions attached to a vehicle to help drivers and passengers easily get in and out of the vehicle. By design, running boards can be divided into step boards (actually running boards), nerf bars, hoop steps, rocker bars, and power steps.

Step boards
Running boards or step boards are wide and flat platforms that fit very close to the rocker panels, sometimes leaving almost no gap between them. They provide the widest and longest stepping area for the ultimate functionality and comfort under any conditions without compromising your ground clearance.

Nerf bars
Nerf bars, also called step bars, are round or oval bars with flat textured inserts for footing on, running the length of the doors or from wheel to wheel. Depending on the step bar design and its length, it can have one or more step pads positioned in front of the doors for safe and convenient stepping.

Hoop steps
A hoop step is a compact individual step attached to the vehicle’s frame to provide a stepping area for just one foot at a time. Hoop steps feature a minimalistic design yet ensure safe and secure stepping thanks to the sturdy construction and durable mounting brackets.

Rocker bars
Unlike the other types of running boards, rocker bars are more about door and rocker panel protection than functionality and comfort. By design, they are tubular bars with no pads or special flat inserts to step on. Such design is dictated by their primary function, which is to protect your vehicle from off-road hazards.

Power steps
The most technologically advanced type of running board, power steps automatically retract when you close the door, providing the factory look and aesthetics together with maximum comfort and functionality.

As a general rule, running boards are built from either high-grade steel or aluminum to provide the ultimate durability and strength for secure and comfortable stepping. Metal running boards always come powder coated or painted, while aluminum steps can be simply brushed or come with a diamond plate pattern for a more rugged appearance. Both steel and aluminum running may feature plastic step pads and decorative inserts to complement your vehicle. You can also find some custom-molded fiberglass steps made from dense layers of high-grade fiberglass.

Do I need to drill my vehicle to install running boards?
In most cases, you don’t because the majority of running boards are designed and manufactured for a specific vehicle and will accommodate existing openings in the frame. However, some universal running boards may require drilling and/or cutting to mount properly. We recommend you to always check this information before pressing the “place an order” button.

Where can I buy high-quality running boards for my Explorer?
Visit Truck and Gear to find some of the best running boards for Ford Explorer at competitive prices. We provide a vast selection of high-quality running boards and side steps to suit any taste and budget.
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