Which different tread patterns are there?

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?

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A typical directional tread pattern

Directional tread patterns: sporty and safe on snow

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.

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A typical symmetrical tread pattern

Symmetrical tread patterns: comfortable and cost-efficient

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
Uniroyal. A brand of Continental.

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