What Are the Different Types of Tire Tread Patterns That Exist Today?

Americans experience 220 million flat tires per year. Whether you have a flat or your old tires are worn out, buying new tires is something that every vehicle owner faces. The automotive industry knows this, and there are countless tire options.

While having multiple options is great, it can also mean that buying tires is overwhelming.

This guide to the different tire tread patterns will help you understand the differences and help you buy the right tires.

Tread Pattern Components

Before we get into the different types of tires, we need to go over the components that make up the tread pattern. That way, you can better understand how the components come together to create a unique pattern.


The ribs are the raised section in the tread pattern. They are typically tread blocks but can also be ridges. The ribs create more grip and contact with the road for better traction.


The grooves are the voids or channels that are between the ribs and tread blocks. They can vary in width and run circumferentially around the tire. These voids help channel water away from the tire for better grip on wet roads.

Tread Blocks

Tread blocks are the individual raised pieces of rubber that make up the ribs. They can vary greatly and in size and shape. The tread blocks can also wrap around the edge of the tire to the sidewall.

Low-profile tread blocks are best for on-road driving. More blocky and aggressive tread blocks are ideal for 4×4 and off-road tires. You can check out some 4×4 tires here:×4-mag-wheels-for-sale/.


Unlike the large grooves, sipes are small cuts and slits on and around the tread blocks. They can be straight or have a zig-zag pattern. They are meant for creating more grip on ice or snow-covered roads.


This is the most common tire tread pattern. The left and right sides of the tire face match. This design works well for standard passenger cars and trucks but isn’t suitable for performance vehicles.

These tires are smooth-riding, have low rolling resistance, and have high directional traction.


Directional tires only roll in one direction. You cannot flip them to the other side of the car when rotating them. The grooves create an arrow shape that points in the direction of travel for better water evacuation.

They are ideal for driving on wet roads where hydroplaning is a risk. They also perform well in mud and snow. You’ll also see this pattern used for performance tires because they grip well at high speeds.


Asymmetrical tread patterns have two designs. The left and right half of the face do not match.

The inside tread pattern prevents hydroplaning, while the outside tread pattern gives you a solid grip while cornering. These tires are ideal performance tires because they give you excellent handling ability while cornering.

Compare Tire Tread Patterns

Buying tires is a necessary part of vehicle ownership. This guide on tire tread patterns should make the task easier. Consider the type of vehicle you drive and the driving conditions you regularly experience. Then look for a set of tires with a tread pattern that is ideal for your vehicle and driving habits.

Check out our other automotive articles or more helpful explanations about your vehicle and its many parts.