You are currently at our English (Global) website. We also offer a wide range of products with direct customer service in many locations worldwide.
All locations

Which different tread patterns are there?

Pros and Cons of different tread patterns

You may have heard terms like ‘symmetrical’ and ‘directional’ tread patterns. But what do they actually mean? And what exactly is ‘flow-optimised asymmetry’ as used in our RainSport 3 tyres?

Directional tread patterns: sporty and safe on snow

Unyiroyal Tyre tread icon 2 A typical directional tread pattern

Directional tyres are ideal for sporty cars that drive regularly on wet roads.

These tyres usually have a chevron or arrow-shaped tread pattern which aids fast water displacement due to the unimpeded water flow. They therefore offer high protection against aquaplaning and greater directional stability. This type of tread pattern is especially suited to snow- or mud-covered road surfaces and is therefore used on our winter and all season tyres.

Directional tyres are designed to work in only one direction of rotation and must be fitted accordingly. You’ll find an arrow clearly marked on their sidewalls pointing in the direction of travel.

Symmetrical tread patterns: comfortable and cost-efficient

Unyiroyal Tyre tread icon 1 A typical symmetrical tread pattern

Unlike directional, symmetric tyres can be fitted and rotated in either direction as both halves of the tread pattern are identical. They are particularly quiet and provide good roadholding. Their lower rolling resistance reduces fuel consumption and extends the lifetime of the tyres. They are often used for commercial vehicles and provide – like our RainMax 2 - good value-for-money for those that mainly drive short distances.

Benefits of the different tread patterns

Directional tread pattern:

  • High aquaplaning protection
  • Excellent handling on snow
  • Very good roadholding at high speed


Symmetrical tread pattern:

  • Pleasant driving smoothness
  • High directional stability
  • Low rolling resistance


Asymmetrical tread pattern:

  • Excellent handling
  • High curve stability
  • Good grip in wet


Flow-optimised asymmetrical tread pattern:

  • Highest level protection against aquaplaning
  • Outstanding grip on bends and corners
  • High curve stability
  • Minimum noise


Asymmetrical tread pattern: safety in all kinds of weather

Unyiroyal Tyre tread icon 3 A typical asymmetrical tread pattern

The first thing you’ll notice about asymmetric tyres is that they have different tread patterns on their inner and outer shoulders. Each side serves a different purpose.

The inner sides of the tread pattern are responsible for water displacement and aquaplaning protection. The outer shoulders, with their rigid tread blocks, provide higher lateral stiffness, which give you high grip when cornering and when driving on dry surfaces. For this reason asymmetrical tyres, like our RainSport 3, are especially popular with high performance hatchbacks and sports cars.

The even stiffness of the pattern blocks ensures a quiet interior noise throughout the tyre’s entire lifetime.

With asymmetrical tyres it is essential that you ensure correct fitting. The word “Outside” has always to be faced on the outside of the car.

Flow-optimised asymmetrical tread pattern: safe protection against aquaplaning

Unyiroyal Tyre tread icon 4 RainSport 3

To develop our ‘Best in Wet’ tyres, Uniroyal has designed a new generation of asymmetrical profiles which combine the advantages of directional and asymmetrical tread patterns.

Both RainSport 3 and RainExpert 3, with their flow-optimized, asymmetrical treads, offer a high level of protection against aquaplaning. Meanwhile, Shark Skin Technology (SST) reduces flow resistance and accelerates water drainage from the tyres’ contact surface.

The tyre’s solid outer shoulders, with high lateral stiffness, provide high grip and precise handling when cornering.

Related Topics