The best summer tyres are products that offer sustainable performance across a variety of conditions. As such, we don’t recommend tyres that are only good in one specific environment. When it comes to summer products, you need a tyre that is suitable on both dry and wet roads.

Here, specifically, we will look at what type of treads work best in terms of grip. It is worth noting, of course, that this is not the only factor or parameter that matters. Drivers find many areas to be important, such as rolling resistance and wear resistance. Yet grip is still important for various aspects of driving, from handing corners to ensuring an effective braking distance.

Summer tyre grip: dry conditions

Looking for good grip on dry summer roads? Here we have listed the main features you should pay attention to and how they contribute to the overall tyre grip rating and level of performance in this area.

Contact area and tread rigidity

A larger surface contact area, where the tyre touches the road, better enables the mechanisms responsible for tyre grip. Specifically, this allows molecular adhesion and indentation.

As far as dry conditions are concerned, a wider tyre is beneficial. More often than not, it is quite easy to mount wider tyre replacements on your car and, thus, help improve grip performance on dry roads.


On dry surface, the largest possible contact surface of the tyre with the ground is important.

Grooves

The less grooves there are, the better grip a summer tyre can offer. Typically, around 30% of the tread should consist of grooves. This results in larger tread blocks, having a positive impact on your car’s driving stability over dry roads.
 
While a tyre with no grooves would offer the most adhesion, it’s worth remembering that these slits provide other uses, such as resisting aquaplaning and, therefore, are still very much required in some small numbers.

Groove depth

Similarly, the grooves should also be smaller and shallow. Of course, this also brings its own drawbacks in other key areas. While shallow grooves greatly enable the grip on dry roads, they actively worsen grip performance on wet roads, as well as generally removing any resistance to aquaplaning. 
 
In the UK, there is a legal minimum depth requirement on tyre treads - as such, grooves must be at least 1.6 mm deep. While this would offer good grip on dry surfaces, we recommend a minimum depth of 3 mm, as this offers a more optimum level of safety, especially when you consider the frequent rain that occurs over a typical British summer.

Tread type

Tyre treads come in three primary forms: directional, asymmetric and symmetric. All three of these can offer good grip on dry roads, as the impact each type of tread has is absolutely minimal.

Tyre Model

Looking for a good summer tyre for dry conditions. The following models all offer excellent levels of grip, without significant deterioration of performance in wet environments:
 
Continental ContiPremiumContact 5
Continental ContiSportContact 5
Michelin Energy Saver +
Dunlop SP Sport Bluresponse

Summer Tyre Grip: Wet Conditions

Looking for good grip on wet roads during the summer? Here we have detailed the main aspects that contribute to a high wet grip tyre rating.

Compound type

When it comes to wet grip, the choice of compound used in the tyre construction is important. Tyres that offer a very good level of grip typically feature silica in their rubber composition. This is also seen on sport tyres, as silica can also greatly reduce rolling resistance, as well as offering improved wear resistance.

Grooves and depth

Whereas dry conditions favour less grooves, wet conditions prefer a decent number of deeper grooves. Typically, such a rain tyre should have around 35% of its tread consist of grooves. These are needed to help remove water and maintain the contact patch between the tyre and the road.
 
Without these grooves, water would create an intermediate layer, leading to aquaplaning. Again, while the legal minimum in the UK is 1.6 mm, we recommend a minimal depth of 3 mm instead.

INTERESTING FACT

A smaller number of grooves means better grip. The total lack of them means the best adhesion of the tyre to the surface. Such tyres are used in motorsports. Check what characterizes high performance tyres.


Wide circumferential grooves and channels draining water in the direction of shoulders determine the grip on a wet road.

Tread Type

When it comes to getting great grip on wet roads, a V-shaped directional tread carving is best. In addition to providing an effective way to drain water from the tread grooves (in the direction of the shoulders), it also applies the proper distribution of tyre pressure forces on the ground.
 
When it comes to larger tread widths, you can also use an asymmetrical tread pattern. This can be quite effective with an optimised placement of grooves, helping to shorten the path that water needs to pass.
 
Similarly, a densely spaced lamellar membrane can help dissipate residual water layers on the road. The deeper the tread is, the more water can be drained from under the tread face.This all helps prevent aquaplaning and ensure the tread can maintain a good level of contact with the surface, which is vital for providing grip.

Tyre Models

Looking for a tyre model that offers excellent wet grip? Here are some of the best products that enable this without making large sacrifices on other important parameters.
 
Uniroyal RainExpert 3
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2
BFGoodrich G-Grip
Uniroyal RainSport 3

Summary

The table below shows the relationship the various individual tread aspects have on each area of performance. This will help to clearly show which factors contribute where, so you can better tell what car tyres are suitable for wet performance or dry conditions. It is always important to choose tyres with sustainable performance, able to cope with all the conditions you will encounter when driving.

How to read the table?

Impact: "" – negative, "0" – neutral, "" – positive, "✔✔" – very positive.

Tread characteristic Grip in dry conditions Grip in wet conditions Resistance to aquaplaning
Larger share of grooves ✔✔
Deeper grooves ✔✔
Wider peripheral channels ✔✔ ✔✔
More lamellas ✔✔ ✔✔
Larger angle of oblique grooves 0 0 ✔✔