Tire Tread 101: Why Tire Tread Matters?

Posted by Priority Tire on Dec 30th 2021

Tire Tread 101: Why Tire Tread Matters?

Tire Tread 101: Why Tire Tread Matters?

Posted by Priority Tire on Dec 30th 2021

Types of Tire Tread Patterns

Different tire models need various tread elements in order to ensure the optimal tire performance attributes necessary to guarantee a secure drive. Therefore, various tread patterns play a huge role in improving the traction, performance, and handling of specific tires.

So, how does the tread pattern development affect the vehicle's performance? Or rather, which are the four basic tread pattern designs?

Directional Tread Pattern

Directional Tread Pattern

For excellent wet braking and traction, directional tread patterns are perfect. Tire models with a directional tread pattern feature arrows on their sidewalls that show which direction the tires should rotate in.

Their directional tread elements help to disperse water and slush from the footprint, as the block angles play a huge role in avoiding hydroplaning. Due to this, tires with a directional pattern are usually utilized with winter tires.

Symmetric Tread Pattern

Symmetric Tread Pattern

The most common tread pattern design is the symmetric one. This is used on most high performance, touring, etc. vehicles, in order to ensure their ultimate performance, as well as promote a longer usability and noise performance.

A symmetric tread pattern features the same elements throughout its footprint. Whether the tire has ribs or tread blocks does not matter, as the tread is a continuous unit without variations.  

Asymmetric Tread Pattern

Asymmetric Tread Pattern

Tire models with an asymmetric tread pattern combine versatile tread elements in order to create the tire's footprint. These models usually feature an inner and outer tread area, which provide specific functions during its performance.

Tire manufacturers develop tread patterns to improve the performance of their models. The asymmetric tread design helps to increase the cornering and maneuvering capability, while also boosting the high speed handling and durability. 

Directional and Asymmetric Tread Pattern

Directional and asymmetric tread pattern

Tires which features directional, asymmetric patterns are the hardest to mount. They have to be mounted on the specific side of the vehicle to ensure their performance, as the tread pattern components do not function in the same manner.

These tire models combine exceptional dry braking with secure wet and winter road grip. This delivers ultimate performance, upgrading the tire's secure performance. 

What is Essential in a Tire Tread?

While versatile tread patterns exist all of them need to have the main tire attributes incorporated into their tread design. These tire tread patterns work together to grip the road, improve snow and ice traction, affect noise performance, and enhance the overall controllability.

So, what are the main tread elements?

Tread Grooves

Tires have to feature grooves in order to properly combat hydroplaning. They channel water and slush away from the footprint, preventing them from blocking the surface contact. As a result, circumferential and lateral grooves provide optimum performance in wet conditions.

Tread Blocks

Versatile tread blocks ensure the tire's road surface contact and road grip. Their angles, size, and detail work together to increase the biting edges provided during the drive. They help to boost the dry and wet braking, while also improving the comfort levels and tread life length.

Tread Sipes and Notches

The details of the tread blocks are what we call sipes and notches. Sipes are small slits located on the tread, while notches are small chunks missing from the tread. They work with the tread compound to increase the dry, wet, and winter weather traction, allowing the tire to provide excellent snow performance.

Tire Void

The optimum tread pattern also features voids. Whether they are small or if the tire has a high void pattern will determine its performing capability. The void pattern perfects the tire's maximum contact patch, helping to enhance its important performance attributes.

Tread Wear Bars

Tread wear bars are small ridges between the tread blocks, which usually sit at 2/32 tread depth. They show the remaining tread depth left on the tires. When the tread depth reaches the wear bars, the tire is no longer considered safe to be used and it needs to be changed.

Tread pattern essential elements

Why is Tire Tread Pattern Important?

These essential tire tread elements work together to augment how the tire performs in versatile weather and road conditions. They make sure the model does not lose traction in harsher situations, by guaranteeing the pattern's performance at all times.

Even if you have the same exact tire - same season, performance, and vehicle type - just with different tread elements, it will not perform in the same manner as tire models from the same categories.


Better traction is needed in all weather conditions. Whether your tire is performing on snow and ice-covered surfaces, on in warmer temperatures, the tread elements are responsible for keeping it on the road. The performance attribute of the tread design has to ensure the tire's secure traction at all times.

Fuel Economy

The tread pattern and the ideal traction help to decrease the tire's rolling resistance. This effectively reduces the vehicle's fuel intake levels, as it eases the driving pressure off the tire. Therefore, versatile tread design elements directly correlate to the vehicle's fuel efficiency.



Tread grooves manage to disperse water and slush away from the footprint. As a result, the tire maintains its surface contact even in wet conditions. This one performance attribute of the tread design guarantees its secure wet weather performance.

Comfort Levels

Some tire models are able to improve noise performance by decreasing road noise levels. This is achieved as the tread pattern pitches and tread depth manage to reduce the number of sound waves reaching the vehicle's cabin. The result is a comfortable driving experience.

Handling and Braking Ability

Handling and braking ability

Tire handling and excellent wet braking performance are guaranteed with the tread elements. While a slick tire can also offer the necessary steering input, tires with more tread details are the ones that truly promote safer controllability. They utilize their tread elements to ensure surface contact, while the high void pattern reduces the braking distance.

What are Tread Pattern Performance Expectations?

As mentioned before, various tire models are designed for different applications. For this reason, their tread pattern, tread details, tread depth will not be identical.

But what do these different tires need to achieve in order to be considered safe? Let's take a look.

All Season Tires

An all season tire needs to provide good, or at least adequate traction, all year round. This does not mean that these models can conquer harsh winter weather situations, but they have to provide light winter weather traction.

Therefore, all season tires must offer the needed dry, wet, and winter traction, excellent handling, usually good comfort levels and fuel economy, and having a lengthened usability does not hurt either. All of these improvements can be regulated by the tread design and its elements.

all season tires pricing

Summer Tires

A summer tire needs to withstand the heat build-up during its warm temperature application. Most summer tires are also designed for high speed performance, which further adds to the problem. As a result, the tread design, durable compound, and tire construction combine to boost the summer tire's performing safety.

Summer tire models usually feature the least detailed patterns out of all of the tires. This is because, in warm temperatures, the tires utilize the road-to-rubber contact to create traction. Due to this, they do not need many sipes and notches to generate extra biting edges.

summer tires pricing

Winter Tires

A winter tire features the most detailed pattern of all the tires. They utilize the sipes, notches, and groove edges to firmly grip the snow and ice-covered surfaces. New tires will feature tiny details that are capable of ensuring their secure winter weather performance.

True winter tires are capable of handling severe winter weather conditions. This is achieved with their tread design and durable winter compound. In this manner, these tires receive the three mountain peak and snowflake symbol, the symbol provided to all winter weather models.

winter tires pricing

If you are in need of any type of new tires, you have come to the right place. Priority Tire offers all season, winter, and summer tires for sale on our website, at the best prices available on the online tire market. 

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