Best Toyota Tundra Nerf Bars, Side Steps, and Running Boards

Updated on Feb 1, 2024

Even in stock form, climbing into your Toyota Tundra can pose a challenge, only worsened with the addition of lift kits and oversized tires! Fortunately, RealTruck has the solution to your full-size pickup’s tall ride height: a pair of quality side steps

We offer a wide selection of nerf bars, running boards, and other step styles, combating tall ride height by lowering your access point into the cab. Side steps also improve traction, preventing slip-related injuries, even in rainy and icy conditions! 

Unsure which side steps best suit your Tundra? Then you’re in the right place! In this guide, we cover the top nerf bars, running boards, hoop steps, and truck steps! Along the way, we’ll touch on side step variances, like style, construction, and finish, as well as our expert’s top-recommended products! Now, let’s get started!

Side Step Variances

Side steps come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and finishes, making it difficult to narrow your selection to a single style or brand, let alone a specific model! To ease your decision, we’re covering some of the most common side-step variances you’ll encounter when shopping on RealTruck.

Frame vs. Rocker-Mount

Side steps also come in various mounting configurations, with the two most popular being frame-mount and rocker-mount

Frame-mount running boards, nerf bars, and steps offer exceptional strength, featuring robust mounting brackets that tie directly into your Tundra’s steel frame. These steps are ideal for off-road applications, guarding the rocker panels against damage from boulders, rocks, and other obstacles on the trail. While stout, frame-mount side steps often require more invasive installation procedures, including drilling into the frame, welding, or other fabrication. 

By comparison, rocker-mount side steps bolt to your Tundra’s rocker panels utilizing existing holes for simple, no-drill mounting. While offering simple installations, rocker-mount side steps are best reserved for street-driven applications, as excessive stress or harsh impacts can warp and damage the rocker panels/body.


We offer several side-step styles for the Toyota Tundra on RealTruck, each featuring unique aesthetics and characteristics. Our most popular styles include: 

  • Running Boards: A wide, flat, side step style featuring a step surface that runs the length of the step’s body. Running boards utilize Tundra-specific brackets and hardware to bolt to your pickup’s rocker panels, typically without drilling or other modifications! These steps offer an OE-inspired appearance and maximum accessibility into your Tundra’s cab. 

  • Nerf Bars: An oval or rounded tubular side step featuring individual step pads at each door, preventing slipping and sliding. Nerf bars feature composite or welded end caps, preventing dirt, road grime, and moisture from settling into the tubes. Nerf bars come in various materials and finishes.

  • Sliders: Rugged steps engineered for maximum protection rather than accessibility. Sliders come in frame and rocker-mount variants, ensuring adequate strength to withstand impacts and abrasions on the trail. These steps are highly durable and ideal for weekend warriors and overland builds.  

  • Hoop Steps: A classic step style featuring hoop-shaped drop steps at each door. Hoop steps typically feature a main tube tucked tightly to the body, offering exceptional rocker protection. At each door, a welded drop step affixed to the main tube provides assistance into the cab. 

  • Truck Steps: Individual steps featuring compact and subtle designs. Truck steps are ideal for those that don’t want the added bulk of running boards or nerf bars but could still use some help climbing in and out of the cab. These steps don’t feature a main tube, offering minimal rocker protection.

Fixed-Position vs. Retractable

Another common variance in side steps is fixed position and retractable types. Fixed position refers to a classic nerf bar, running board, or hoop step featuring a solid one-piece construction mounted with rigid brackets. These steps remain in the same position at all times, which, while sturdy, may negatively impact your Tundra’s ground clearance. 

Alternatively, retractable side steps retract and deploy using hinged mounting brackets and electric motors. While driving, these steps retract tightly against your Tundra’s rocker panels out of sight; however, they’ll automatically deploy with a door opened, assisting you and your passengers into the cab. 

Though retractable steps are convenient and minimally affect ground clearance, they’re also far pricier than their fixed-position counterparts, costing anywhere from $1,200–$2,000 per pair!

Cab-Length vs. Wheel-to-Wheel

We also offer multiple side step lengths, typically found on running boards, nerf bars, and hoop steps. The two lengths you’ll commonly encounter include cab-length and wheel-to-wheel. 

Cab-length steps stretch only the length of your Tundra’s cab, assisting the passenger compartment. Alternatively, wheel-to-wheel steps stretch from the front of the cab, down the bedside, to just before the rear wheels. Wheel-to-wheel steps typically include an additional step just before the rear wheel, allowing easy access to cargo at the front of your Tundra’s bed.


You’ll also encounter various materials when shopping for side steps. Most manufacturers employ the same three alloys for superior strength and rigidity, including:

  • Carbon Steel: A strong and durable alloy commonly used in automotive applications. Though reliable, steel is heavy and prone to corrosion; however, it’s relatively inexpensive and offers a long service life, so long as it receives a suitable coating or plating! 

  • Stainless Steel: This alloy is often used in automotive and aerospace applications for its immense strength, similar to carbon steel, yet natural corrosion resistance due to its high chromium (chrome) content. This material offers all the benefits of carbon steel without any drawbacks, aside from weight and price. 

  • Aluminum: A lightweight and durable alloy offering moderate strength and corrosion resistance. While aluminum won't rust or corrode like iron-based alloys, it’s still prone to surface corrosion and pitting. Like carbon steel, a quality coating enables years of reliable service!


Lastly, we have our side-step finishes, not to be confused with colors. A finish refers to a coating, plating, or treatment applied to the base alloy, impacting its overall appearance and durability. Some of the most popular finishes include: 

  • Painted: Side steps with a painted finish offer similar durability to your Tundra’s painted body panels. While this coating is relatively durable and corrosion-resistant, it’s prone to chips and scratches, which subject the underlying alloy to the elements. 

  • Powder Coat: This heat-cured polymer coating offers exceptional strength and durability. Though aesthetically similar to paint, powder coat is far more resilient, offering outstanding impact, abrasion, oil, chemical, and UV resistance.  

  • Chrome Plating: This lustrous finish doesn’t just add style but also outstanding corrosion resistance! Chrome plating involves electroplating a thin layer of chromium over the base material. The resulting finish is tough, corrosion-resistant, and has an unmatched shine! It’s also low maintenance, requiring little to no polishing or upkeep besides regular cleaning.  

  • Polished: Though resembling chrome, polished side steps aren’t plated. Instead, the finish results from sanding and machine-polishing the base alloy–aluminum or stainless steel–to a mirror-like finish. Depending on the alloy, polished steps may require frequent upkeep to retain their sheen and clarity; however, several polished steps receive an automotive-grade clear coat after polishing, locking in the finish for years!

Top Tundra Side Steps: Expert’s Picks

With the different side step types covered, let’s get into our top step picks! Our experts have selected side steps that best suit the Toyota Tundra, offering exceptional durability, rugged aesthetics, and ample assistance into the cab!

If you’re stuck between running side steps or sliders, consider the Go Rhino Dominator D6 Running Boards! This product offers the best of both worlds, featuring a high-and-tight tubular design with exceptional rocker panel protection. The 6-inch step pad provides a solid step into the cab, while a raised hex pattern improves traction and funnels debris through the step. 

Go Rhino Dominator D6 Running Boards are highly durable, featuring an all-steel construction and corrosion-resistant powder coat finish. For additional accessibility, Go Rhino offers optional 4-inch drop steps, making climbing into a taller Tundra a breeze! 

Go Rhino Dominator D6 Running Boards are backed by a limited lifetime warranty against structural defects and a 5-year warranty on the finish.


  • Durable tubular steel construction

  • Extra-wide 6" step pad with raised hex pattern

  • Textured black powder coat finish

  • Dual-purpose design offers the benefits of running boards and sliders

  • Optional bolt-on 4" drop steps available

  • Mounts to vehicle's rocker panels (Frame Mount available on select applications)

  • Includes Dominator Xtreme Mount Kit and install guide

  • Simple bolt-on installation

  • Limited lifetime structural / 5-year finish warranty

AMP Research is the leading supplier of power-retractable running boards, perfectly blending accessibility with subtle styling. While the standard PowerStep is sufficient for most applications, Tundras with taller lifts will likely benefit from the increased drop of the AMP Research PowerStep XL! 

The PowerStep XL is a premium, single-motor retractable running board that automatically retracts and deploys. Each time you or a passenger opens a door, the heavy-duty cast aluminum board drops from beneath the rocker panel, providing an extra-wide, 6-inch step up into the cab! The illuminated, non-slip step area makes entry a breeze regardless of the weather conditions or time of day. 

The AMP Research PowerStep XL offers a straightforward installation with its convenient plug-and-play module. Still, professional installation is recommended. AMP Research backs the PowerStep XL with a 5-year limited warranty. 


  • XL boards extend 4 inches lower than the original PowerStep

  • Premium, single-motor design automatically deploys and retracts boards

  • Corrosion-resistant cast aluminum construction

  • Anodized, then finished with a military-grade PTFE coating

  • 6-inch wide, cab-length step area

  • Textured, slip-resistant step surface

  • Integrated LED lighting illuminated steps for safe entry

  • Optional Override Switch is available for manual control

  • Includes vehicle-specific installation guide, mount kit, and hardware

  • Mounts to vehicle's rocker panel

  • Connects to OBDII port using patented Plug-N-Play module

  • Professional installation is recommended

  • 5-year limited warranty

Ease entry into your Tundra’s cab and bed with the N-Fab Black Wheel To Wheel Nerf Bars, pairing the styling of N-Fab’s iconic drop steps with a sturdy bed step just before the rear tire! 

These nerf bars feature a durable tubular steel construction with a heavy-duty, 3-inch diameter main hoop tucked tightly against the cab. Beneath each door and at each bedside, you'll find a tubular drop step with a no-slip, dimple-died step pad, offering exceptional traction. Rugged textured black powder coating further prevents slipping and protects the underlying steel against corrosion. 

N-Fab Black Wheel To Wheel Nerf Bars are proudly made in the USA and come backed by an industry-leading limited lifetime structural warranty. 


  • Tubular steel construction

  • Textured black powder coat finish

  • 3" diameter main tube

  • Simple, no-drill installation

  • Includes all hardware, bracketry, and instructions

  • Sold in pairs

  • Patented drop-step design

  • USA-made

  • Limited lifetime structural / 5-year finish warranty

Are you looking for a low-profile, aggressively-styled running board option for your off-road-inspired Tundra? Introducing the Go Rhino RB20 Slim Running Boards! These sleek running boards feature a narrow profile that helps minimize any rubbing on the trail. In the event of clearance issues on the trail, the step’s durable 16-gauge steel construction can withstand most light impacts or abrasions.

The Go Rhino RB20 Slim Running Boards offer exceptional traction, featuring your choice of a textured powder coat of bedliner finish for superior grip. Additionally, bullet-stamped perforations on the step pad channel mud, snow, and other debris through the running board, ensuring a non-slip surface in any weather condition. 

Go Rhino RB20 Slim Running Boards are backed by a 5-year limited warranty. 


  • Galvanized 16-gauge steel construction

  • Textured powder coat or protective bed liner finish

  • Narrow 5.5" profile

  • Bullet-stamped perforations enhance traction and keep the board free from debris

  • Installs to vehicle's rocker panel

  • Comes with a vehicle-specific mount kit and instructions

  • Easy, bolt-on installation (no drilling required)

  • Limited 5-year warranty

Alright, we know bed steps don’t necessarily count as side steps, but they’re side step adjacent! The AMP Research Bed Step 2 is a worthwhile addition to this list due in part to its updated mounting position at your Tundra’s bedside and its exceptional accessibility. This product is a manual retractable step designed to ease entry into your Tundra’s bed and access to cargo near the bulkhead. 

This product features a rugged aluminum construction capable of withstanding up to 300 pounds! Heavy-duty alloy brackets, hinges, and corrosion-resistant stainless steel hinge pins complete the Bed Step 2’s durable construction, similar to AMP Research’s PowerStep line. 

With a single kick downward, the Bed Step 2 deploys as a convenient step into the bed. Another kick upward retracts the step beneath the bedside and out of the way! 

As a bonus, this product is manufactured in the USA and includes a 3-year limited warranty. 


  • Eases entry into the bed

  • Mounts between the cab and rear wheels

  • Rugged aluminum construction

  • Stainless steel pivots

  • Non-slip step pad

  • Simple, hands-free operation

  • Handles up to 300 lbs.

  • Driver or passenger side mountable

  • USA-made

  • 3-year limited warranty

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