Where The Rubber Meets The Road: The Best Tires For Your Ride

On a good day, the only parts of your car, truck, or SUV that touch the ground are the tires. Every steering movement, braking, and acceleration action is transmitted to the tires and everything that the vehicle experiences, like the road surface, bumps, and potholes, are dealt with by your tires first.

It makes sense then that you’d want the best quality tires on your ride to handle everything you experience while driving. From snow and ice to highway commuting to tearing up your local race track, these are the best tires you can get, along with some options for “special” circumstances.

All-Season – Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus ZP
Michelin
Michelin

If you had to choose only one tire that works on the widest range of cars, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 might be it. For an all-season tire, it offers the best wet and dry traction on the market with noticeably shorter stopping distances in wet weather.

Performance-orientated drivers will be surprised by how well the Michelin handles hard cornering and delivers predictable handling. For the daily commute, the Pilot Sport A/S 3 has a rubber compound that maximizes fuel economy. What’s Hot: All-weather performance. Decent in the snow. Fuel efficient. What’s Not: Not as good in the snow as a dedicated winter tire. Expensive, but you get what you pay for.

All-Season – Michelin Defender LTX

Michelin Defender LTX
Michelin
Michelin

Like the Pilot Sport A/S 3, the Michelin Defender LTX is the “go-to” tire for light trucks and SUVs. Without sounding like we work for Michelin, the Defender LTX really is the best all-rounder for SUVs.

It offers predictable and stable handling coupled with gobs of traction in the dry, wet, and even in snow. Sure, a dedicated snow tire will perform better, but if you’re looking for a tire that can handle all with aplomb, the Defender LTX is a great choice. What’s Hot: Excellent all-around tire for trucks, SUVs, and CUVs. Can handle just about anything you throw at it. What’s Not: Don’t expect to take this tire rock crawling. Some fitments can be a bit pricey.

All-Season – Pirelli P Zero Nero

Pirelli P Zero Nero
Pirelli
Pirelli

Pirelli’s P Zero Nero tire is an excellent all-season tire that comes as standard equipment on many coupes and sedans. While it’s not a dedicated performance tire, the P Zero Nero is engineered to give your car excellent handling, a comfortable ride. and stellar wet weather traction. Pirelli’s all-season offering is also mud and snow rated, which makes it a good candidate for use all year round, even in the dead of winter.

What’s Hot: Very good wet and dry traction and handling. Very comfortable ride. Mud and snow rated. What’s Not: Dry traction is good, but could offer a bit more in terms of performance and handling characteristics.

All-Season – Yokohama AVID Ascend GT

Yokohama AVID Ascend GT
Yokohama
Yokohama

Yokohama has been making tires since 1917. In those years, they’ve learned a thing or two and now make some of the most technologically advanced tires available. The AVID Ascend GT is their “touring” tire and is engineered for sedans, coupes, minivans, and CUVs. The innovative tread design and rubber compound combine to increase fuel mileage, improve handling in the dry, the wet, and the snow and offer one of the quietest rides available. There is little to no road noise generated by the Ascend GT.

What’s Hot: Low rolling resistance increases fuel mileage. Superb dry, wet, and snow handling. Very quiet ride. What’s Not: On certain sizes, the sidewall can be a bit on the soft side, which can make handling feel a touch on the mushy side.

Winter/Snow – Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

Bridgestone has been making the Blizzak line of winter tires for over 20 years. Each generation improves upon the last and generally sets the bar in the dedicated winter tire segment. The Blizzak line-up consists of six different tires, but we’ve singled out the WS80 as the best. It fits a wide variety of cars, minivans, and CUVs, and it is impressive in the way it can handle snow and ice. The aggressive tread pattern and unique rubber compound means it is nearly unflappable in the toughest winter conditions.

What’s Hot: Excellent snow and ice handling. Considerably reduces stopping distance in bad weather. Handles slush like a champ. What’s Not: Can be noisy. Handling on dry pavement is a bit vague.

Winter/Snow – Nokian Hakkapelitta R3

Nokian
Nokian
Nokian

Finnish tire company Nokian knows a thing or two about winter driving. Their snow tires have been the “go-to” for many drivers who appreciate the unparalleled performance in harsh snow and ice conditions.

The Hakkapeliitta R3 may have a long name, but it also has a long list of important features. A tread design that channels snow and slush away from the contact patch. Cryo Crystal 3 particles embedded in the compound to enhance ice traction and larger tread blocks on the shoulders to improve deep snow traction. What’s Hot: Excellent handling on dry and wet pavement. Superior snow and ice traction. Low noise. Low rolling resistance. What’s Not: High-speed grip could be improved, but we’re really just grasping at straws to find a downside here.

Winter/Snow – Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Michelin X-Ice Xi3
Michelin
Michelin

The Xi3 is the third generation of Michelin’s popular X-Ice series of winter tires. These are a true rival to Blizzaks and are supremely capable in snow, ice, slush, and cold wet weather driving. Designed for cars, minivans, and crossovers, the Xi3 uses a V-shaped tread pattern to aid in the removal of snow, slush, and water while driving. A special rubber compound gives it some of the best ice performance on the market while reducing rolling resistance to improve fuel economy.

What’s Hot: Tremendous snow, slush, and ice performance. Excellent handling in dry conditions. Quiet and comfortable. Long tread life. What’s Not: Not much in the way of weaknesses, but could use a touch more cornering grip in very icy conditions.

Winter/Snow – Cooper Discoverer True North

Cooper Discoverer True North
Cooper
Cooper

Cooper Tires, an Ohio-based company, has been in the tire game since 1914. Their dedicated winter tire, the Discoverer True North, has a unique asymmetrical tread design for severe winter use and can be fitted to just about every type of car, SUV, and minivan.

Cooper has paid special attention to the rubber compound in an effort to improve ice traction and reduce road noise, which is a common complaint about dedicated snow tires. Responsive handling, excellent traction in snow, ice, slush, and rain make the Discoverer True North an excellent choice for your car. What’s Hot: Good snow, slush, and rain handling. Incredibly good on ice. Very quiet on dry pavement. What’s Not: Dry pavement performance could be better.

Winter/Snow – Continental VikingContact 7

Continental VikingContact 7
Continental
Continental

Founded in 1871, Continental Tire is one of the oldest tire manufacturers in the world. The Germany-based company is a global leader in tire technology and their winter tires are some of the best you can buy.

The diamond-shaped tread blocks are designed specifically to channel snow, slush, and water away from the tire improving handling, braking, and stability. The rubber compound is durable but remains flexible in cold weather to improve ice traction.

What’s Hot: Excellent grip on icy, snowy and slushy roads. Crazy good wet weather traction. Very stable, giving drivers precise control in bad weather. What’s Not: A little bit of road noise, but not too bad.

Off-Road – BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
PBFGoodrich
PBFGoodrich

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A has been around for four generations through 15 years, and the latest version, the K02 is the best one yet. The All-Terrain T/A has long been the standard go-to off-road tire for Jeeps, SUVs, and trucks. Its immense traction in all circumstances makes it nearly unrivaled in its versatility.

The K02 adds a double-strength sidewall for puncture resistance and the tread is now tear, chip, and cut resistant. There’s a very good reason why this is the default choice for off-road tires. What’s Hot: Durability. Toughness. Traction in sand, mud, rocks, gravel, snow, and rain. Surprisingly comfortable and quiet on the road. What’s Not: There’s really not much to say against the K02, it’s pretty good at everything.

Off-Road – Nitto Grappler M/T

Nitto Grappler M/T
Nitto
Nitto

The Nitto Grappler M/T is a great off-road mud tire that combines the best of Nitto’s hard-core Mud Grappler with the on-road performance of the Terra Grappler. The Grappler M/T’s aggressive tread block design will help you navigate the toughest terrain, the stickiest mud and the worst that Mother Nature can throw at you.

A 3-ply sidewall construction helps resist punctures and two wide steel belts under the tread give the Grappler M/T a ton of strength and stability. If you’re looking to tackle tough terrain and mud, this Nitto has the tools for the job. What’s Hot: Great on-road and off-road performance. Deep mud performance. What’s Not: Nitto put a lot of effort into making this tire useable on the street, but make no mistake, this is a hardcore off-road tire.

Off-Road – Firestone Destination M/T2

Firestone Destination M/T2
Firestone
Firestone

The Firestone Destination M/T first debuted in 2002. It was a great off-road tire that was particularly capable in deep mud but sacrificed some on-road performance for better off-road chops. The update to that tire is the Destination M/T2. The tread blocks have a new shape to better eject stones and gravel, and the wet pavement performance has been improved over the original.

A unique feature of the M/T2 is that it comes from Firestone pinned for the use of studs, making it an absolute beast in the snow and ice. What’s Hot: Studdable for ultimate snow and ice performance. Excellent off-road performance over rocks, mud, gravel, sand, and pretty much anything. What’s Not: Some road noise on pavement.

Off-Road – Toyo Open Country M/T

Toyo Open Country M/T
Toyo
Toyo

There is certainly no mistaking the Toyo Open Country M/T as anything other than a purpose-built off-road tire. The 3-ply construction gives the Toyo a lot of strength and durability, which goes a long way to helping it resist punctures and chips. The aggressive-looking hook-shaped tread blocks are designed to claw through loose surfaces like sand.

Mud performance is good as well as traversing deep snow. While not being specifically engineered for rock-crawling, the Open Country M/T can hold its own over boulders. What’s Hot: Off-road traction is incredible. Extremely tough construction. What’s Not: Noisy on the road. Will not help your fuel mileage.

Off-Road – Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ

Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ
Mickey Thompson
Mickey Thompson

Mickey Thompson Tire and Wheel Company is well-known as a producer of drag racing wheels and tires as well as competition off-road tires. Their tires designed for street legal trucks, Jeeps, and SUVs share a lot in common with the competition tires that off-road racers use.

The Baja MTZ takes direct inspiration for the Baja race tires and are particularly good on gravel, sand, and loose surfaces. Their tough construction allows for use over rocks and the added strength of the sidewall construction gives them stable performance on pavement. What’s Hot: Competition tire performance for your street truck, SUV or Jeep. Excellent over all types of terrain. What’s Not: Treadlife is less than competitors and they can be noisy on the street.

Summer Performance – Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Michelin
Michelin

When it comes to ultra-high performance street tires and racing tires, there’s no doubt that Michelin is leading the way. When they introduced the Pilot Super Sport, a few years back, it combined racing technology with everyday usability.

The successor to the Super Sport is the Pilot Sport 4S, a remarkable tire that takes the best characteristics of the previous Super Sport and adds a healthy dose of racing technology from Michelin’s Le Mans program. The result is a performance tire that is both at home on the street and the race track. What’s Hot: Dry and wet traction are incredible. Very responsive and easy to feel the limit of adhesion. Treadwear is above average for a tire in this class. What’s Not: Expensive, but worth it.

Summer Performance – Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

The Bridgestone RE-71R is pretty close to a full competition tire. Sure, the race tires have a bit more grip, but you can’t drive those on the street.

The RE-71R is a precision tool for cars and drivers that care about only one thing… maximum speed through a corner. Exceptionally responsive, the RE-71R gives you a ton of confidence to precisely hit apexes and balance the car through the turns. It’s even pretty good in the wet. What’s Hot: Gobs of grip on wet or dry pavement. Very easy to feel what the tire is doing on the road. What’s Not: Noisy on the freeway.

Summer Performance – Continental ExtremeContact Sport

Continental ExtremeContact Sport
Continental
Continental

Despite the name, the Continental ExtremeContact Sport is a sophisticated performance tire. It’s engineered to not only deliver maximum grip on wet and dry pavement but also be supremely comfortable on the road.

When pushing hard, the ExtremeContact Sport exhibits the precise steering, throttle, and braking control that you’d expect from a high-performance tire. The high levels of grip are especially noticeable under hard braking. On the road, the tire delivers an excellent ride quality and is very quiet with little to no noise. What’s Hot: Huge amounts of grip in wet or dry. Quiet and comfortable. What’s Not: Does not like cold weather.

Summer Performance – Pirelli P Zero

Pirelli P Zero
Pirelli
Pirelli

The Pirelli P Zero performance tire is standard equipment from the factory on the Ferrari 599 GTB, Audi R8, and a plethora of AMG-tuned Mercedes models. That should tell you everything you need to know about this tire.

The P Zero is designed to perform. It makes use of Pirelli’s newest rubber compound to ensure it delivers maximum wet and dry grip without sacrificing ride quality and noise. The steering response is precise with loads of feel, making it easy to drive the tire hard and explore the upper limits of its abilities. What’s Hot: Steering response is excellent. Loads of grip. Comfortable and quiet. What’s Not: Treadlife is lacking compared to rivals.

R-Compound – Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (Multiple)

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
Michelin
Michelin

Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 tire is essentially a competition tire that you can occasionally drive on the street. Its soft and sticky tire compound is developed from the sprint and endurance racing tires that are tearing up race tracks all over the world. If you’re a track day driver, you’ll appreciate the level of grip the Sport Cup 2s offer above a street tire. They are fast wearing, so use sparingly on the street.

What’s Hot: Extremely high grip for race track use. Very progressive and easy to get approach its limits. Available in a wide variety of compounds for specific uses. What’s Not: Well… it’s a track day tire, so expect it to be fast wearing. Not suitable for lightweight cars, it needs to generate heat to work.

R-Compound – Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R

Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R
Pirelli
Pirelli

Pirelli is the sole tire supplier to Formula 1, and that may not seem very relevant to you and your sports car, but the benefit comes from the trickle-down of tire compounds, construction, and technology. The same innovation and high-grip compounds that are developed for the fastest race cars in the world are being put to use in a tire that you can take to the track on your sports car.

The P Zero Trofeo R is an excellent choice for track day use with plenty of grip to attack apexes with and shave seconds off your lap time. What’s Hot: High-tech compounds and construction. Lots of grip with a very progressive feel. Possibly the best R-Compound tire on the market right now. What’s Not: Fast wearing, as you’d expect.

R-Compound – Toyo R888R

Toyo R888R
Toyo
Toyo

Toyo’s R888R has been the race tire of choice for track day enthusiasts, weekend warriors, and semi-pro racers for years. It’s a tire that gives a prodigious amount of grip and is unique in that it can work on a wide variety of cars. From front-wheel-drive hot hatches to mid-engine supercars to full race touring cars, the R888R just performs at the highest level.

The tire delivers its tenacious grip very linearly, building up to the limit of adhesion very predictably. When it does “let go” it does so in a manner that is predictable and easy to control. What’s Hot: Works on a wide variety of cars. Lots of grip. Easy to get the most out of. What’s Not: Nothing worth noting.

R-Compound – BFGoodrich G-Force Rival

BFGoodrich G-Force Rival
BFGoodrich
BFGoodrich

BFGoodrich’s G-Force series of extreme performance and competition tires has a size, compound, and purpose for everyone. From drag racing tires to slicks for the track, the G-Force Rival is a great tire to take to the track. Plenty of grip in the dry and very good steering response make it very confidence-inspiring, especially in fast sweeping turns.

The grooved G-Force Rival lacks in wet, but its tread pattern was not designed for that type of use. It’s a good all-round track day tire that’s available in slick or grooved for street use. What’s Hot: Lots of grip, confidence-inspiring. Wide variety of specs and uses. What’s Not: Wet performance could be improved, especially compared to others.

SUV And Truck – BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT

BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT
BFGoodrich
BFGoodrich

The Advantage T/A Sport LT is BFGoodrich’s newest four-season tire specifically for SUVs and trucks. It makes use of a special rubber compound to improve both wet weather traction but also snow abilities. The tread pattern is designed to prevent hydroplaning and increase responsiveness. The Advantage T/A Sport LT is also one of the few all-season tires to be rated for “severe snow service.”

What’s Hot: Resistance to hydroplaning. True all-season abilities including snow. Responsiveness on dry pavement. What’s Not: Not the most fuel-efficient tire on the market. A touch on the noisy side.

SUV And Truck – Continental CrossContact LX20

Continental CrossContact LX20
Continental
Continental

Continental’s CrossContact LX20 tire is an excellent all-season offering for SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. Its continuous center tread block gives the tire great stability and responsiveness on dry pavement. The outer tread blocks are designed to channel water, slush, and snow away from the contact patch of the tire which goes a long way to improve wet weather and winter weather use. A specific compound of rubber is used to increase fuel mileage and traction in poor conditions.

What’s Hot: Dry and wet traction. Steering responsiveness. Very quiet. Good snow abilities. What’s Not: Treadlife can be less than competitors.

SUV And Truck – Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus

Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

The Dueler Alenza H/L is Bridgestone’s all-season tire for crossovers and sporty SUVs. It’s designed specifically to be fuel-efficient, perform well in all conditions including snow and slush, and deliver a comfortable ride. Bridgestone has succeeded on all counts and the Dueler Alenza H/L is a great tire to equip your crossover, SUV, and even light truck with.

Added sidewall stiffness makes the tire strong, durable and responsive when cornering, even in poor weather. It also has a mega 80,000-mile tread warranty. What’s Hot: All-weather abilities. Very strong and durable. Huge 80,000-mile warranty. What’s Not: Lacks performance on ice.

SUV And Truck – Cooper Discoverer HTP Plus

Cooper Discoverer HTP Plus
Cooper
Cooper

The Cooper Discoverer HTP Plus is an all-season touring tire for SUVs and pickup trucks. Its non-directional tread pattern with separate blocks gives it good winter performance without being noisy. The HTP Plus really shines on dry pavement and on the freeway, it’s supremely stable, and direction changes are accomplished with poise and responsiveness.

As an added bonus, if your SUV or truck has custom rims, the HTP Plus has a built-in rim protector lip to prevent curb rash and other damage to your wheels. What’s Hot: Awesome dry and freeway performance. Good for snow use. What’s Not: Other tires in its class perform a bit better in wet weather.

SUV And Truck – Hankook Ventus ST RH06

Hankook Ventus ST RH06
Hankook
Hankook

The Hankook Ventus ST RH06 is a high-performance all-season tire for performance-orientated SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. Its focus is on grip on dry and wet pavement and in providing a confident feel and responsive steering.

The V-shaped tread pattern aids in cornering performance and help channel water away from the contact patch. The Ventus also utilizes some pretty cool tech to reduces road noise; it makes use of multiple tread depths to create pitches that cancel out road noise. What’s Hot: A true performance all-season tire for your performance SUV. Excellent wet and dry cornering performance. What’s Not: Ride comfort can be a touch harsh. Winter performance is lacking.

Run-Flat – Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus ZP

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus ZP
Michelin
Michelin

Just like Michelin’s normal Pilot Sport A/S 3, the A/S 3+ ZP gives the already great tire run-flat capability. Tread design is identical and you’ll have similar performance on dry, wet, and snowy pavement with the added security of knowing that you’ll be able to make it back to safety should you get a puncture.

The downside to having run-flat tires is that the sidewalls need to be much stiffer than normal tires, which compromises comfort. What’s Hot: All of the good of the normal A/S 3 with the added security of run-flat ability. Good in all weather conditions. What’s Not: Ride is stiff.

Run-Flat – Bridgestone DriveGuard RFT

Bridgestone DriveGuard RFT
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

Bridgestone’s Driveguard RFT tire is one of the best run-flat tires you can put on your car right now. Under normal conditions, the Driveguard is a very capable all-season tire. It can handle wet and snowy weather and is a great long-distance touring tire. Thanks to innovations in sidewall design, the Driveguard is as comfortable as a normal tire. Its run-flat capabilities allow you to drive 50 miles at 50 MPH with zero air pressure. That’s a nice feature to have, preventing you from having to change a tire on the side of a busy freeway.

What’s Hot: Comfort. Good performance in all conditions. Excellent warranty. What’s Not: Tire feels soft at higher speeds and while cornering.

Run-Flat – Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT

Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

The Blizzak LM-25 RFT is a performance winter tire by Bridgestone. It is also the recommended standard winter tire for the Nissan GT-R. While you may not be rockin’ a GT-R through snow and slush and ice, you can take advantage of the great winter weather abilities of the LM-25 with the added benefit having run-flat capabilities.

Snow and ice traction are on point and if you drive a sporty car all year round or are looking for a winter tire that doesn’t compromise high-speed abilities, the Blizzak LM-25 is hard to pass up. What’s Hot: Huge amounts of traction in snow, ice, slush, and wet conditions. High-speed stability. Comfortable. Not having to change a flat tire in snow. What’s Not: A bit on the noisy side. Treadwear is below average.

Run-Flat – Continental ContiProContact SSR

Continental ContiProContact SSR
Continental
Continental

The Continental ContiProContact SSR is a performance all-season tire that’s aimed at coupe and sedan owners who want the security of run-flat technology, the performance of a sports tire and the comfort of a touring tire. That’s a lot to ask for in a tire, but fortunately Continental delivered with the ContiProContact.

High levels of dry and wet pavement grip ensure it’s sporty and responsive. Innovative sidewall construction enables it to be comfortable without being harsh and like most run-flats you can go 50 miles at 50 MPH without any air pressure. What’s Hot: Delivers sporty performance while being comfortable. Run-flat technology doesn’t make the ride harsh. What’s Not: Winter performance could be better. Treadlife is lower than competitors.

Run-Flat – Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position

Potenza RE050A Pole Position
Bridgestone
Bridgestone

If you drive a sports sedan, a sporty coupe, or just want upgrade your ride with some grippy new tires, the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position RFT can help. This is a top-notch performance tire and an absolute beast on a twisty road. Cornering grip is surprisingly good and the tire, as a whole, does nothing but inspire confidence.

Wet weather performance is good as well and the run-flat technology will make sure you get home safe. What’s Hot: Great tire for carving corners. Braking performance is excellent. Wet weather performance is really good. What’s Not: Not a low-cost tire.

Run-Flat – Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval RFT

Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval RFT
Firestone
Firestone

Firestone’s Wide Oval RFT high-performance tire has been around for a while now, and while there are plenty of options in this segment, the Wide Oval still stands out as one of the best. Popular on Corvettes, the Wide Oval offers a prodigious amount of grip and traction in both the wet and dry.

Steering response is sharp and crisp, the ride is reasonable for a run-flat and overall performance is exceptional, especially if you have a car that can take advantage of its capabilities. What’s Hot: Excellent wet and dry traction. Run-flat safety blanket. What’s Not: Aging design is still capable but others have surpassed it.

Best For Breaking Track Records – Pirelli 2020 F1 Tire

Pirelli 2020 F1 Tire
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

The fastest race cars in the world need a tire that can cope with the monumental forces being applied to them. Pirelli’s GP tire can handle speeds approaching 240 MPH, over 6G of lateral and longitudinal force, and deal with aerodynamic loads that approach 4000 pounds spread over the four wheels. They also come in seven compounds that are color-coded so fans can distinguish which car is running what compound.

The tire compound is top secret and the teams don’t get to own the tires. They’re brought in by Pirelli, monitored during the race and destroyed after careful analysis at the end of a Grand Prix. What’s Hot: Ultimate grip and speed. What’s Not: Can’t own them. Single use. Prohibitively expensive.

Best For Winning Le Mans 24HR Race – Michelin Slicks

Michelin Slicks
Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Michelin is arguably the leader in race tire technology and manufacturing. After a stint in F1, they are now primarily involved in endurance sports car racing and their tires can be found on everything from Porsche GT3 RSRs to the fastest LMP1 cars. There are a dizzying array of sizes and compounds available, each one suited to a specific type of car, style of racing, and track. They are the class of the field right now.

What’s Hot: Championship-winning tire technology and grip. The fastest sport car tires on the planet. What’s Not: They are expensive and will only work well within a narrow temperature window.

Future of Tires – Michelin Airless Tire

Michelin Airless Tire
Michelin
Michelin

The Michelin Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System) is an airless tire designed specifically for passenger cars. The idea is to completely remove the danger of tire punctures and eliminate much of the maintenance required of standard pneumatic tires.

Another benefit of an airless tire is uniform tread wear, as over or under inflating a traditional tire can cause treadwear issues. GM recently announced a partnership with Michelin to begin testing these tires on the Chevrolet Bolt for future use. What’s Hot: Maintenance-free operation. No more worries about punctures and blow-out. Made from recycled materials. What’s Not: Not currently on the market. The “look” of the tire is not for everyone.

Future of Tires – Bridgestone Airless Tire

Bridgestone Airless Tire
PBridgestone
PBridgestone

Like Michelin, Bridgestone is also developing an airless tire for use on passenger vehicles. Unlike the Michelin tire, the Bridgestone airless tire concept is a full wheel and tire assembly, with the tire being bonded to the metal rim.

Punctures and blow-outs would be a thing of the past, and the entire assembly is not only more fuel-efficient to drive on but also made from recycled products. Bridgestone also announced that they would be applying the technology to semi-truck and heavy equipment vehicles as well. What’s Hot: No punctures or blow-outs. Highly fuel-efficient. Recycled materials. What’s Not: Still a few years away from market. They look a little “space age” and may not fit most current cars.

Lunar Exploration – NASA LRV Spun Aluminum/Titatium Mesh

NASA LRV Spun Aluminum/Titatium Mesh
Twitter/airandspace
Twitter/airandspace

Developed by NASA for traversing the Moon, the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is a truly remarkable machine. It’s also the furthest land vehicle from Earth that man has ever driven. The wheels and “tires” consist of an aluminum wheel with zinc-coated piano wire woven into a mesh pattern. The tread is made of titanium and everything is riveted together. The whole assembly was designed to be lightweight with superior traction on a surface that we knew almost nothing about.

What’s Hot: State-of-the-art, for the time, construction and engineering. It drove on the Moon, do we need to say any more? What’s Not: Outrageously expensive. Requires a rocket to deploy. Really only good if you happen to be on the Moon’s surface.

Extra-Planetary Expeditions – NASA Mars Rover Aluminum Tread

NASA Mars Rover Aluminum Tread
michael0326/Pinterest
michael0326/Pinterest

Packed full of scientific instruments, cameras, and tools, the Mars Rovers are our only representatives on the red planet, and a case could be made that they are the ultimate off-road vehicles.

Each rover has six wheels, with its own motor, measuring 20 inches in diameter. The wheels are made of aluminum with curved titanium springs on the inside for support. The cleats provide traction over the Martian terrain and the rovers are capable of rolling over rocks the same diameter as its wheels. What’s Hot: It’s driving on Mars! High-tech construction and material science are at play here. Extremely capable and able to traverse anything the martian landscape can throw at it. What’s Not: Price is out of reach for most people and metal wheels don’t really work on the freeway.

Biggest Tire – 63″ Titan Tires OTR

63
Titan Tire
Titan Tire

Okay… this one is not practical buying advice, but we were curious to know what the biggest tire is. The answer is the massive Titan Tire OTR (off the road) tire and wheel assembly. These are used on huge mining and excavating equipment. Measuring 14 feet tall and accommodating a 63 inch wheel, each wheel and tire weighs in at a hefty 12,500 pounds! Even more impressive is the price tag, about $62,500 each!

What’s Hot: They’re huge and used on the real version of your toy Tonka construction trucks. What’s Not: Well… they’re not exactly practical for use on your daily driver. At $62,500 each it’s cheaper to buy a new car than this tire!