The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the best sports cars money can buy. Unfortunately, I cannot say that about its OE (original equipment) tires.
Not only do the stock tires wear unevenly, especially if you push this two-door to its limits. They also have bad road manners, perform poorly on unpaved roads, and have short tread lives. As such, their replacement date comes due much sooner than expected.
This leaves you with no option but to replace the factory tires as soon as your pocket allows. Yet, finding decent replacement tires isn’t straightforward. The market is flooded with sports car tires, making finding the right ones akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.
Luckily for you (and anyone short on time), we have prepared this guide on the best tires for the MX-5 Miata. All the tires listed below beat this car’s stock tires on every count. So, you can count on them to make this sports car’s drive even more fun than it already is.
#1. Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Four key factors make the Pilot Super Sport our top pick for the MX-5 Miata.
Start with the fact that it’s one of the best high-performance tires on the market. Whether you’re looking for crisp steering feedback, impeccable high-speed stability, or lightning-fast steering response, this tire has it all. Not many tires can offer this trio.
Next comes its ability to improve your sports car’s fuel economy. How is that so? Thanks to its low rolling resistance. Provided you drive your MX-5 Miata with a light foot, you’d be able to enjoy significant fuel savings, especially on well-paved roads.
It also offers a better ride than the competition, thanks to a sound-absorbing foam inside its sidewall. The foam soaks most of the road disturbances for as long as its initial thickness remains intact, which would be so for a few years.
The final endearing quality of this tire is that it comes with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty. That is something we cannot say about every UHP tire, since most tires in this category do not come with a treadwear warranty whatsoever.
- Will improve this sports car’s handling
- Offers a quiet ride for an UHP tire
- Backed with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Wet grip could be better
#2. Bridgestone Potenza Sport
The Bridgestone Potenza Sport rivals our top pick on several counts, making it an attractive option for those not sold on the Pilot Super Sport.
In tests conducted by leading automobile magazines in Germany and England, the Potenza Sport grabbed 1st place finish for dry and wet performance. Both magazines named this tire the best performer in dry braking and wet stopping distances.
Potenza Sport also fetches high marks for its fuel economy. Bridgestone’s internal tests reveal it’s less thirsty for gas than its predecessor, the S001. As such, you can count on this model to reduce the frequency of your trips to the pump.
There’s another factor that makes the Potenza Sport the ultimate UHP tire – it’s the OE tire for the Lamborghini Huracan STO and Maserati MC20. The fact it’s good enough for these two means it will be good enough for your MX-5 Miata.
Despite all these qualities, the Potenza Sport isn’t our top pick for the MX-5. Want to know why? It doesn’t come with any treadwear warranty.
- Exceptional dry performance
- Class-leading wet braking distances
- Delivers plenty of road feedback
- No treadwear warranty
#3. Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus
The Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus isn’t your average A/S HP tire.
Most tires in the all-season high-performance category settle for a stable driving experience on dry and wet surfaces. Luckily for you, the DWS 06 Plus is different. It combines superb performance on dry and wet roads with superior stability on snow and ice.
This tire’s noise and comfort levels are also pretty decent for the category, almost competing with the standards set by their all-season counterparts.
Its dry cornering grip is also pretty high for an all-season, high-performance tire. You can throw it into a bend at full speed and there would be minimal oversteering or understeering. Put another way, the risk of skidding or slipping will be minimal.
A 50,000-mile treadwear warranty further pushes the envelope, helping this model stand alongside mid-tier all-season tires. And in doing so, it assures you that it won’t need replacement anytime soon.
- Decent dry, wet, and light snow performance
- Offers a refined ride for an A/S HP tire
- Backed with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Dry braking distances are longer than the competition
#4. Toyo Proxes Sport
The Toyo Proxes Sport is one of my favorite ultra-high-performance tires.
Mainly because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. A pocket-friendly asking price gives it a head-start against almost every tire in this category, given that most UHP tires are astronomically pricey.
Another reason I like this tire so much is that it offers very good grip in the wet. Again, that is something you cannot say about the majority of tires in this category. Most, if not all, of them struggle to replicate their dry grip in the rain.
Yet another quality of this tire is that it can provide some level of protection to your alloy wheels against kerbing. How can it do that? The sidewall is incredibly sturdy, thereby acting as a cushion when your tires come into contact with curbs or other obstacles.
To further sweeten the deal, this tire doesn’t make much noise, even when you’re pushing it to its limits. I became aware of this while talking to users who have tried this tire. Almost all of them told me they were surprised that a UHP tire could be so quiet.
- Available at an affordable price
- Quiet for UHP tires
- Decent dry and wet performance
- High rolling resistance
#5. General Altimax RT45
The General Altimax RT45 is one of the best new tires for drivers who need an all-season tire that can perform well on a variety of surfaces.
How can I be so confident? Because I have tested this tire myself. On almost every count that matters to everyday drivers – ride quality, fuel economy, and tread wear – it does better than its predecessor.
That is not something to take lightly. After all, the RT 43 remains one of the best all-season tires money can buy. That tire is so popular among its users that General delayed replacing it for as long as it could, a testament to how good the RT45 is to substitute it.
Speaking of substitutions, you won’t have to replace the RT 45 even when there’s snow on the roads. A combination of open shoulder slots and circumferential grooves sees to it that this tire can safely carry you from point A to point B in harsh weather.
Want to hear more good things about this tire? General back it to last up to 75,000 miles (though a few sizes come with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty). This means that an average American driver can expect to get at least 4 years out of this tire.
- Excellent dry, wet, and light snow performance
- Able to brake, accelerate and turn without slipping
- Strikes an ideal balance between wet grip and tread wear
- A few sizes come with an average (60,000-mile) treadwear warranty
#6. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
All of them have a strong performance heritage. The trio also offers their drivers a thrilling driving experience, gives them an affordable entry into the world of high-performance driving, and comes in convertible variants.
There’s another thing that unites the three sports cars – we have recommended the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 UHP tire for the trio.
Want to know why? Start with this tire’s advanced silica tread compound, which won’t only improve your sports car’s handling but will also make it more nimble on the road. You’d thus be able to execute those quick lane changes you’ve always wanted to.
Another reason why this tire is our favorite is that it performs reliably in the rain. Thanks to Firestone’s proprietary Pulse Groove Technology, it doesn’t skid or slip on slippery surfaces.
- Capable of improving your car’s handling
- Highly usable in rainy weather conditions
- Delivers excellent lateral grip
- May wear quickly if pushed to the limits
#7. Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position is one of the best tires for gripping the road.
Whether you’re accelerating from a break, applying brakes while driving at full speed, or taking turns at the limit, it will stay planted on the road. A quality it shares with only a few tires.
High-speed stability is another area where this model shines, giving you the freedom needed to push your MX-5 Miata to its limits. Another good thing it does is deliver plenty of feedback straight to the steering wheel. As such, you always stay aware of the happenings on the road.
Moreover, even if you always drive it at the limit, the risk of heat build-up and, by extension, blow-outs will stay minimal. How so? Thanks to the heat dissipating pores in its sidewall.
Any tire with all the above qualities would be discounted by its drivers for being loud. Luckily, the Potenza S-04 Pole Position is different. This tire is as quiet as any summer performance tire could be, especially for the first few years of its road life.
- Excellent controllability at higher speeds
- Runs quieter for a high-performance tire
- Doesn’t allow heat to build up
- Zero treadwear warranty
#8. Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
Besides coming in a large number of sizes – it can be installed on cars, hatchbacks, small SUVs, and minivans – this tire delivers high performance in harsh wintry conditions.
What does that mean? Unlike your run-of-the-mill snow tire, the Sottozero 3 can be pushed to its limits on snow and ice. That, too, with minimal skidding and slippage.
What’s more, it is equipped with Pirelli’s proprietary Noise Canceling System. The PNCS sees to it that a layer of sound-absorbing foam is attached to this tire’s tread. The result? You’d be able to enjoy almost whisper-quiet rides on paved roads.
Another thing I like about this tire is that its aquaplaning resistance is pretty high. This enables it to come in handy on snow-laden roads, as well as icy surfaces and in the rain.
- Superb traction on thick snow
- Can be used on dry roads
- Offers a comfortable ride
- Ice grip could be better
For over 3 decades, the MX-5 Miata has shown that a sporty roadster doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, that isn’t true for its tires, especially if you’re looking for radials that will enhance the qualities of this two-door.