Tyre Tread Patterns - Types and Differences

October 5, 2021

Tyres come in many different shapes and sizes. One of the most important factors in keeping them on the road is the tread, which is found in three main designs and with a huge array of patterns. This blog will take you through the main designs and patterns on tyres, explaining why the tread is vital for safety and comfort on the road and helping you to decide when you are in the tyre shops.


Looking at the tread front on, if you slice the tyre in half, the tread will conform to one of three main types: symmetrical; asymmetrical; and directional.

Symmetrical tread designs appear the same on both halves of the tyre, and this is the most common tread design you will find. The benefits of symmetrical treads tend to be even wear, leading to a long tread life, and smooth and quiet driving. Symmetrical treads are now only suited for spring or summer driving, when roads aren’t so wet or snowy, but can be used on all-seasons or winter tyres.

Asymmetrical tread patterns, in contrast, appear different on each half. Tread blocks tend to be larger on the outer edges of the tyre, to aid with grip and stability during cornering. They also have large lateral grooves which can help with pushing water away, giving more traction on the road in wet conditions. The inner blocks on the centre ribs tend to be smaller, with smaller grooves, for better contact area with the road surface. When doing tyre fitting you can see asymmetrical tyres have markings so you know which is the outer and inner edge, and they are used for all-weather and performance tyres, giving great stability at high speeds and aquaplaning resistance.

Directional tyres, as their name suggests, are designed to roll in one direction. These tyres have lateral grooves pointing towards the centre, creating the shape of a ‘V’. This pattern helps with dispersing water away from the tyre, making them more resistant to aquaplaning and giving them superb grip on the road. Directional tyres are ideally used on performance vehicles, and their pattern gives them great stability at high speeds and the ability to dissipate heat very effectively.


At tyre sales you can find a tread is composed of several different elements:

  • centre rib, the central strip of rubber;
  • intermediate shoulder, on either side of the centre rib (outboard and inboard);
  • outboard shoulder, on the outer/external edge of the tread;
  • inboard shoulder, on the inner/internal edge of the tread;
  • blocks, freestanding pieces of rubber;
  • grooves, indentations which either go laterally (across the tyre horizontally) or circumferentially (around the tyre);
  • sipes (straight or zigzag), small slits in the tread which aid with traction by dispersing water;
  • tread wear indicators, small bars which aid with seeing how much of the tread has worn away and knowing when to replace the tyres.

No matter what type of tyre you need for your vehicle, Jim’s Mobile Tyres can help you, wherever you are. Give us a call on 13 15 46 to discuss all your tyre needs.

Want to find out more ?

What PSI should my car tyres be?

With so much on our minds, it’s easy to forget about regular tyre pressure checks. But it’s in your interests not to ignore car tyre pressure checks.

Read more

Follow These 3 Simple Tips to Know if Your Car Tyres Are in Good Condition!

Most people do not give much thought to the quality of their car tyres. This article will provide you with straightforward yet helpful tyre check advice.

Read more

Learn How to Choose the Best 4x4 Car Tyres for Your Vehicle

There Is an Off-Road Tyre Suitable for Almost Any Purpose. Knowing Precisely What You Need Will Help You to Select the Ideal Tyre at the Tyre Shop.

Read more