My hiking boots have a D-shaped ring at the base of the tongue. What is the purpose of this?

enter image description here

I don't think the purpose is to allow you to hang the boot on a hook or something, because there is a bigger strap on the back of the boot that would allow you to do that.

enter image description here

Or is the D-shaped ring purely decorative?

  • Utility for hanging the boot depends on how you want to hang it. I know people who preferentially hang their boots with the soles facing upwards and outwards to help keep the insides clean, and the loop on the back is essentially useless for that purpose. Mar 2, 2023 at 15:05
  • 4
    The "bootstrap" at the back of the boot is conventionally not for hanging the boot -- it's for pulling the boot on.
    – david
    Mar 4, 2023 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


That is a loop for the hook on gaiters. The gaiters will cover the upper foot and laces on the boot, which helps prevent snow and mud build-up on the boot as well as prevent stones/sand/etc getting into the boot itself.

The hook on the gaiters goes through this loop and keeps the gaiter in place, otherwise it will slide up the foot.

  • 1
    I'm not sure that's it's only purpose, because it's also common to find a flat webbing loop there that wouldn't take a gaiter hook (even if it was the right way round, which it's not) and matches loops used for laces instead of eyelets.
    – Chris H
    Mar 2, 2023 at 6:34
  • 5
    @ChrisH, that sounds like an additional lacing point - a different thing in a similar place. Mar 2, 2023 at 9:49
  • 3
    @TobySpeight: In fact, looking at the photo above, there seems to be such a lacing point under the D ring, with the lace going through it. Mar 2, 2023 at 9:58
  • 1
    @Toby I agree, but the ring could also serve as a lacing point. The one through the webbing at the bottom of the tongue is pretty pointless as it's where the lace runs anyway. The ring is also a little high for many gaiters - a hook on the edge (used to be universal, still common) , in that ring, would expose the bottom of the tongue to mud just where it's hard to clean off.
    – Chris H
    Mar 2, 2023 at 11:20
  • 1
    They’re Merrell’s. It’s a gaiter ring. There’s no question. Aug 26, 2023 at 5:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.