Searching for tires that offer excellent grip? That means you can live with reduced fuel economy. Grippier tires hug the road aggressively, forcing the engine to output more power to keep them rolling at a consistent speed. The result? More frequent trips to the gas/refilling station.
These tires also have a shorter treadlife than their ‘normal’ counterparts, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that grip and tread don’t often get along. Yet another thing you’d have to tolerate with these tires is road noise. As these models are anything but quiet.
That is where the bad news ends. Tires that maximize grip for your car will take its acceleration numbers to the next level, helping you beat your fellow racers on the track. They will also maximize your car’s racetrack-inspired features, including cornering, handling, and braking.
All in all, these traction heroes will be best for anyone seeking sporty responsiveness. Their short braking distances and tight cornering performance will really rev up your time behind the wheel, helping you unlock the hidden performance-oriented features of your vehicle.
Read on to check out the 11 best tires for grip.
#1. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – Best Tire Overall
Tires like the Pilot Sport 4S are the primary reason why Michelin has been in the tire-manufacturing business for over a century. This model was released quite some time ago. Yet, due to features which we’ll discuss below in detail, its sales numbers still stand firm.
A tread compound featuring silica and elastomers in its inner part helps the Pilot Sport 4S deliver excellent grip on dry roads, excellent traction in wet and slippery conditions, and short braking distances in both. You’d thus have no reason to complain about this model’s grip.
A 2 layer, asymmetric tread pattern further enhances this tire’s utility. Its inner layer is highly stiff and thus comes in handy in summer conditions. The tread pattern’s pliable outer layer, meanwhile, gives you the control and handling needed for reliable high-speed driving.
An inner belt made of nylon and aramid fiber ensures the contact patch doesn’t shrink in size during high-speed driving, providing maximum control. Aside from that, a V-shaped tread design gives this model’s lateral stability a shot in the arm, not letting the tire veer sideways.
Comfort levels are surprisingly good for a UHP tire. So are the noise levels, with this model quieter than most other ultra-high-performance tires we have tested on the track. Plus, a rim protector is also on offer to protect your wheels against curb damage.
- Traction on slippery roads couldn’t be any better
- Exceptional cornering grip and stability
- Better than expected treadlife
- Doesn’t come cheap
#2. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 – Best Runner Up
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is different from other summer tires. That too in a good way. This tire doesn’t cost as much as some of its rivals. Secondly, it comes in handy across a wide range of conditions, and not just when the sun is shining. And finally, it won’t need replacement anytime soon.
Start with the affordable asking price. Most performance and UHP tires you notice in this review cost an arm and a leg, repelling budget-minded shoppers with their astronomical asking prices. Fortunately, the Firehawk Indy 500 can be had at a pocket-friendly price.
Then comes this model’s exceptional performance. In addition to revving up the steering response, this tire offers unmatchable levels of grip and traction, regardless of whether you’re driving in dry or wet conditions. Its cornering performance is equally great.
Multiple grooves evacuate water from the tread area to minimize the danger of aquaplaning. In addition, Firestone’s exclusive Pulse Groove Technology keeps the contact patch dry for enhanced wet traction. Together, the grooves and the technology shorten this model’s braking distances.
Given what we have said about this tire, you might find it hard to believe that it could have any flaws. But it does falter in a few areas. Take winter performance as an example. Like other UHP tires, the Indy 500 isn’t a reliable option for snow driving.
- Highly responsive
- Usable in rainy conditions
- 65,000-mile limited treadlife warranty
- Not for wintry conditions
#3. Bridgestone Potenza S007A – Best Traction Rating
Models like the RE-980AS, RE-760 Sport, and RE-71R prove that Bridgestone’s Potenza series has no shortage of reliable performance tires. Yet, if extreme grip is your primary concern, you can do much worse than opting for the Potenza S007A, Bridgestone’s flagship UHP tire.
Improved chamfering allows this model to maintain maximum road contact during braking. This results in shorter braking distances and a reduced risk of deformation when your car comes to an abrupt stop. Plus, quick lane changes will be much easier to execute.
The addition of a Kevlar flipper + Hybrid spiral has made this tire’s sidewall incredibly stiff. The result? Enhanced steering response and road feel back, making the Potenza S007A a no-brainer for enthusiasts as well as performance-oriented drivers.
On-the-track performance is another area where this tire shines. Unlike its predecessor, which produced noticeable amounts of smoke and much screeching on the track, the S007A is surprisingly quieter at high speeds. So, you won’t have to use earphones to block out its growl.
Lastly, Bridgestone claims to have equipped this tire with technologies that took 14 years to develop as the FIA Formula One’s official tire supplier. As a result, you could expect this model to have all the bells and whistles you see in the latest offerings from other brands.
- Excellent dry traction and grip
- Remains quiet and comfortable at high speeds
- Features multiple improvements compared to the S001
- Not suitable for snow and ice
#4. Hankook Ventus V2 Concept 2 – Best Budget
The Hankook Ventus V2 Concept 2 won’t look out of place on the latest and most powerful muscle cars. But it isn’t only this tire’s design that is noteworthy. The V2 Concept 2’s performance on the track also helps earn it a place among the best summer tires on the market.
An all-season tread compound has been molded into a symmetric ribbed tread design. The result of this is enhanced traction in dry and wet conditions. The tread design in particular ensures that come rain or sunshine, this tire stays glued to the road.
Four circumferential grooves – as well as the V-shaped tread design which has become the defining feature of the latest performance tires – are also on offer. The former keeps hydroplaning at bay while the latter takes advantage of the dry contact patch for an assured wet performance.
Unlike the majority of performance tires, the V2 Concept 2 isn’t particularly loud. Neither does this tire fare poorly in the comfort department. It seems to us that the all season tread compound – a feature you don’t often get to see in performance tires – is to credit for this.
Treadwear warranty is another area where this tire breaks away from its cousins. A 45,000-mile warranty means that it should easily last three to four years, even with burnouts.
- Offers excellent all-season traction
- Brilliant hydroplaning resistance
- Low levels of unwanted road noise
- Offers a comfortable driving experience
- Poor snow performance
#5. Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole
The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 is another premium performance tire that offers incredibly high levels of grip and performs brilliantly in dry and wet conditions. That is despite the fact that this tire is heavier than its rival models from Michelin and Continental.
If you ask us, the added weight comes as a blessing in disguise. The extra pounds force the tire to widen when you put the car’s weight on it, increasing the contact area with the road. This results in better grip and allows for better controllability at higher speeds.
Traction in dry and wet conditions is equally great, thanks to the dry-grip outer tread blocks and wet-weather inner grooves. And guess what? Bridgestone has enhanced this tire’s stability by tapering its tread blocks, allowing for a more sure-footed driving experience.
Bridgestone has also added a RENOA’ silencer’ along this tire’s tread area. The silencer traps road noise and forces the S-04 Pole to run quieter.
The 3G RFT technology has equipped the reinforced sidewalls with Cooling Fins. These fins are intended to reduce heat build-up, but they only come in handy when this tire is running flat. Still, their presence has reduced the sidewall’s stiffness, resulting in improved ride comfort.
- Excellent controllability at higher speeds
- Runs quieter for a high-performance tire
- Improved riding comfort over its predecessor
- Zero treadwear warranty
#6. Continental ExtremeContact Sport
Which features come to mind when you think of the best tires for grip? Write them down and then compare them with the features of the ExtremeContact Sport. Chances are that both the lists will have similar if not the same entries. That is how good this tire is.
Unlike its predecessor, which prioritized wet performance, ExtremeContact Sport has moved dry handling to the top of its priorities. A new two-ply sidewall construction has increased the sidewall’s strength – which is crucial for its durability – but without increasing ride stiffness.
Continental claims that this tire’s tread life is 20% higher than its predecessor. In addition, this model’s tread pattern features chamfered edges and large shoulder blocks to deliver predictable and precise feedback to the driver. The tread pattern also helps keep buckling at bay.
Thankfully, the Sport has borrowed the DW wear indicators from the model it replaced. This means that each ExtremeContact Sport tire comes with a DW marking. First, the W will disappear, signifying reduced wet traction. Next, the D will fade off, telling you it’s time to order a new set.
Still, All these features cannot mask one of this model’s most glaring flaws: its astronomical asking price. At the time of writing, a set of four tires of the Sport will set you back at least a grand. So, you may have to blow your budget to afford this tire.
- Delivers 20% higher treadlife than its predecessor
- Offers improved dry handling and braking
- Gives precise and predictable feedback to the driver
- Astronomically expensive
#7. Falken Azenis RT-615K+
The Falken Azenis RT615K+ fares poorly in the comfort department. But as far as high-speed stability, wet and dry traction, and cornering performance are concerned, there aren’t many tires in the same price range that can compete with this model.
A nanotech formulated tread compound is the force behind this tire’s excellent wet and dry traction. Shoulder blocks and solid center ribs enable the 615K+ to withstand road abuse. Plus, notched tread blocks help take its wet handling through the roof.
A high-tension carcass construction keeps this model stable at higher speeds. It has also brought down the rolling resistance, resulting in quicker lap times and enhanced fuel economy. You could thus expect this performance tire to be less punishing at the pump.
Multiple circumferential grooves do what they are supposed to. They ensure the contact patch remains dry and the inner tread area stays free of water particles. This allows this tire to boast excellent hydroplaning resistance and superb wet traction.
There’s one thing you’d need to be wary of with these tires. They require warming up before offering the level of grip and traction discussed above. So, if you intend to use these models on a racetrack, ensure that you have 10-15 minutes to warm them up.
- Exceptional dry traction and grip
- Wears evenly and is quite durable
- Delivers an unsurpassed cornering response
- Fares poorly in terms of ride comfort and road noise indicators
#8. Nitto NT05
The Nitto NT05 looks different from other tires in this review. That is because it has a semi-slick tread design to ensure that more of the rubber gets in contact with the road. This, in turn, enables this tire to offer extreme performance when fitted in muscle cars.
It isn’t only this model’s tread design that helps it grip the road better. An extra-wide continuous center rib and oversized shoulder blocks do the same. The benefits of added grip are super dry grip and traction and an overall improved stance of your ride.
An inspection at this model’s spec-sheet reveals that its tread compound is formulated with reinforced internal construction. It is also written there that this model has reinforced tread blocks. Both these design elements help ensure maximum high-speed stability.
What’s more, unlike other drag racing tires, the NT05 doesn’t take sides between dry and wet performance. Two circumferential grooves – something you don’t often get to see in drag radials – will provide optimum wet traction as long as you are driving carefully.
Nitto has also been able to tone down on this model’s sidewall stiffness. Still, if you’re really picky, you won’t find anything to like about the tire’s ride comfort or noise.
- Excellent dry traction
- Is stable at higher speeds
- Delivers superior performance
- Mediocre comfort
#9. Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3
AA-rated wet traction grade? Check. Extreme cornering performance? Present. Superb dry handling? Yup. Reduced ride comfort? Unfortunately, yes. All in all, the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3 has everything you may expect from an extreme performance summer tire.
Start with AA-rated wet traction grade. For those of you who aren’t familiar with tire terminologies, this is the highest traction grade any tire could ever get. The AA-rated wet traction grade means that this tire has the shortest braking distance on wet pavement.
Then comes dry handling. A tread pattern featuring large tread blocks on the outside edge is bound to improve this model’s handling on dry pavement. At the same time, the relatively small inner edge of the tread pattern enables this model to offer a better grip.
Multiple lateral grooves line the underside of the tread pattern. These are channels that evacuate water away from the tread area. This results in an improved hydroplaning resistance. Quick water evacuation also means a dry contact patch, vital for reliable wet traction.
A built-in rim protector doesn’t let much damage to get to the wheels. A shoulder block design ensures adequate braking power in dry and wet conditions. Plus, the placement of the tire’s inner belts offer better responsiveness and feedback to the driver.
- Best-in-class dry traction
- Cornering grip couldn’t have been better
- Wet handling and braking are supreme
- Ride comfort is slightly on the lower side
#10. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 is one of those extreme-performance tires whose asking price would drain your bank account. However, if you can afford this model’s price, there are plenty of reasons why it must be on top of your list.
Tests conducted by the German magazine Sport Auto have shown that the Pilot Sport Cup 2 is the 2nd best tire on both counts. This tire’s braking distance was only 0.5km longer than the leader, while its dry handling was a mere 1.1km/hr. slower.
That is something you would expect from a trackday tire. What you cannot see from a mile off is this model’s 8th place in wet braking ranking. Sure, 8th place isn’t as flattering as 2nd. But don’t forget we’re talking about an extreme-performance tire here.
The reason we’re stressing this point is because extreme-performance tires have no right to be manageable at speeds in rain. That the Pilot Sport Cup 2 is not only stable but ultra-stable shows that it is more capable than many of its siblings in wet conditions.
There is one area where this tire could have done better. Its sidewall’s stiffness isn’t as high as we have come to expect from tires in this category. So, you may have to run the tire pressure a bit higher than you normally would, especially if you’re seeking enhanced steering response.
- Outstanding dry grip
- Decent wet traction for an extreme performance tire
- Dependable and durable
- Sidewall could have been stiffer
#11. Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R
The Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R might not be the most famous tire on the market. Yet it is one of those tires whose performance exceeds their fame. More importantly, few street tires come close to matching this model’s almost unrivaled dry grip.
An ultra-low profile alongside the asymmetric tread design leaves no doubt in one’s mind that this tire is made for track use. A replacement of the P Zero Trofeo, the R offers the level of steering response you won’t get from many summer performance tires.
While this model needs temperature to work, once you have warmed it up, there won’t be many tires that will be able to compete with it. Aside from that, the traction levels, especially on wet conditions, show you that whatever they’re doing at Pirelli’s labs is bearing fruit.
Having said that, this tire isn’t easier to control in the wet. We were also underwhelmed to note its longer braking distances in dry conditions. Both these shortcomings indicate that the P Zero Trofeo R is meant to be used on the track, and not anywhere else.
- Best in-class dry grip
- Outstanding road feedback
- Superb high-speed handling in dry conditions
- Poor wet grip, even for an extreme performance tire
How to Choose the Best Tires for Grip
Here are the factors you need to consider when searching for grippier tires:
Treadwear indicates how long a tire might last. Treadwear rating ranges between 100 and 1000. Any tire with a 200 UTQG treadwear rating will last twice as long as a 100 UTQG tire. Also, the higher the tire’s treadwear, the lower its grip.
So, if you want a tire that would stay glued to the road, opt for a lower treadwear rating. What does the term ‘lower treadwear rating’ means? In this article, we’ve picked those tires whose treadwear rating is between 200- 300. This range means good grip and relatively long treadlife.
Tread patterns come in three types:
- Symmetrical: Symmetrical tread patterns offer high directional stability, smooth driving experience, and low rolling resistance. That means that tires with a symmetrical tread pattern won’t grip the road aggressively.
- Asymmetrical: The majority of performance, high-performance and extreme-performance tires come with an asymmetrical tread pattern. That is because this pattern allows them to offer maximum grip in wet conditions.
- Directional: While directional tire patterns offer excellent resistance against hydroplaning and are very good handling on mud and snow. They aren’t as good as asymmetrical tire patterns when it comes to road handling.
The quality of the rubber compound also determines how much grip a tire will offer. Rubber compounds used in premium tires last longer and provide added grip. In contrast, cheap models’ rubber compounds are nowhere near as reliable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are wider tires better for grip?
While wider tires are usually better for grip than narrower ones, they also raise the risk of hydroplaning. That is something you’d do well to keep in mind if you regularly drive in wet and/or snowy conditions.
Does tire size affect grip?
Yes, tire size does affect grip, with wider tires offering better grip than thinner tires. That is because wider tires’ contact patch – the area of the tire that will come into contact with the road – is much larger than that of their narrower counterparts.
Why do hot tires have more grip?
Hot tires have more grip because they have a higher co-efficient of friction, which is the measure of friction between two connected surfaces. A high coefficient of friction indicates that the engine has to output more power to keep the tire rolling than if the coefficient of friction was low.
Your search for the best tires for grip ends here. All the models mentioned above have super-sticky rubber compounds that help them stay glued to the road. Some of them also come with respected treadwear warranties, all but guaranteeing that you won’t be needing a replacement anytime soon.