Open vs Closed Shoulder Tires – Feature Face Off (Stability, Ribs & More)

Trucks are vehicles designed to perform various operations – mostly heavy duty, which means everything about them needs to be appropriate, including their tires.

There are two different types of truck tires based on the lug tread pattern – closed and open shoulder tires.

The aim of this article is to differentiate between the two types and list the top brands with the best products for each.

What are Open Shoulder Tyres?

Open shoulder tyres are tires with two external tread ribs (positioned in the area where the tread and sidewall meet) divided by individual tread blocks to improve road traction, especially in mud or snow.

Who needs them?

These drive tires are perfect for regional fleets concerned only with re-treadability and better traction than fuel economy.

They are the best tires for highway traction.

Unfortunately, you are likely to experience irregular wear faster with these tires than others.


They have tread blocks on their shoulder lugs rather than continual shoulder ribs. And because of this, the tires’ construction features a super-aggressive appearance to enhance traction for snow, mud, and rain conditions.

What road types are they best suited for?

 It is best suited for rough roads and extreme weather conditions.

What are Closed Shoulder Tyres?

Closed shoulder tyres are tires designed with a tread pattern consisting of shoulder ribs around deep tread lugs. They are also called continuous shoulder ribs.

Who needs them?

These drive tires are for vehicles interested in better fuel economy than traction. With this fuel efficiency, it is possible to drive for long hours without experiencing issues.

More so, these closed tires are the perfect alternatives to open shoulder tyres as they fight irregular wear.


Closed shoulder lug patterned tires are designed with wide shoulder ribs to increase mileage and enhance even shoulder wear. 

What road types are they best suited for? 

Closed drive tires are perfect on smooth dry roads because of their highway speeds.

What is the difference between open shoulder and closed shoulder drive tires?

An open shoulder tire and a closed shoulder tire may have a similar tread compound but are different in their construction and tread depth.

The former has excellent traction and good casing durability, while the latter is quiet, has better fuel efficiency, and is more stable.

Why choose one tread pattern over the other?

The decision to choose between two different tires depends on a couple of factors. However, in the closed and open shoulder designs case, the major factors to consider are traction, re-treadability, fuel efficiency, stability, road noise, and shoulder wear.

Also, you should know that steer tires are different from drive tires.

The former enables handling due to the front wheel position, while the latter enhances traction on different surfaces.

Feature face-off – Open shoulder vs closed shoulder tyres

To choose between both drive tires, you must check out certain features that distinguish them from one another. With these features, you can decide what is suitable for your vehicle or not.

Fuel Mileage

Fuel mileage or fuel efficiency is defined as the number of miles (or kilometers) a vehicle can keep moving per gallon of fuel.

It is one of the many important factors to consider before choosing any tire on the market.

And as expected, there are other parameters that determine the fuel efficiency of a vehicle.

For instance, a tire’s rolling resistance affects the fuel economy.

Tires with low rolling resistance consume less fuel. On the contrary, they consume more.

And between the two drive tires, Closed shoulder lug patterned tires have low rolling resistance compared to Open tires. Thus, you should expect them to have better fuel mileage.


There is always so much consideration for tread depth that most drivers hardly look out for tread wear, which is an important feature to also decide what’s best for the road.

Truck tires can only move on the road for only a limited time before they start wearing out. However, the condition in which they are used determines the effect.

For instance, you should expect irregular shoulder wear from Open shoulder tires because they are perfect for off-road driving and are designed aggressively for improved traction.

On the other hand, Closed shoulder tyres have even shoulder wear from highway speeds.


Quality describes the performance of a vehicle tire in various conditions.

Having a tire designed with the finest tread compounds and constructed with a unique tread depth determines how effective it will be on the road.

That being said, a high-quality drive tire is processed using stone drilling and diesel particulate filter and constructed with tough, durable rubber strips for road use.

The open shoulder is a high-quality drive tire good for rain, mud, and snowy conditions, while Closed shoulder is a high-quality drive tire for the best highway driving experience.

Road noise 

Even with a drive tire, road comfort is also consequential. Drivers need to be able to move on the road effortlessly without being disturbed by the noise coming as a result of the tire’s contact with the road.

And while part of the way to prevent road noise is integrating noise-reduction technologies, sometimes, the tread pattern plays a huge role.

A closed shoulder tire is quieter compared to an open type.

Besides, the latter gets into the mud and packs dirt and debris, sticking into different corners of the lugs which may end up producing noise on contact with any road surface.


Based on tire construction, stability is in the question.

Judging from performance, closed shoulder lug patterned tires are more stable than the rival. You can drive straight with them without worrying about handling. More so, their braking capability for highway driving is incredible.

Open tires, on the other hand, are only concerned with creating biting edges to improve traction on snow and wet surfaces – even if it has to compromise stability.

Top Brands to look for – Open Shoulder Tyres 

If you are looking for the best open-shoulder tyres, there are only a few brands to visit.


Bridgestone is one of the top tire brands in the world with the best drive tires. These tires are designed for lifestyle and adventure driving all thanks to the staggered shoulder lugs.

Bridgestone TBR M770 is a perfect example. It is an all-terrain truck tire with superior traction for wet and snow conditions.

More so, the mileage warranty is always a given advantage.


Dunlop is another tire company with incredible influence on truck needs. It delivers tires with the best traction while ensuring high mileage throughout the tread life.

Dunlop SP446 tire is one of the most recommended options. It comes with several features, especially open grooves for flexibility and to create biting edges for enhanced traction on snow and wet surfaces.


Michelin is not left out on the list of top brands for open shoulder tires. The company has a reputation for making luxurious and high-performance tires for road use.

The XDN2 is a popular drive tire option as it delivers an all-weather, directional performance with extraordinary traction in line haul, and regional high scrub applications.

Top Brands to look for – Closed Shoulder Tyres 

If you are looking for brands for closed shoulder tyres, you should consider the following:


It is no surprise that Bridgestone also has options available for drivers in need of closed shoulder lug patterned tires.

The Maxtread Closed Shoulder Drive retread is a remarkable choice as it provides solid wear at the best possible price.

And apart from being a fuel-efficient tire, it guarantees road comfort with its unique noise-reduction tech.

Other popular options are the M726EL and the M726 Original.


Michelin doesn’t also exempt itself from making useful closed-drive tires. The XDA5+ commercial truck tire is a fantastic option for regional hauling and line haul applications.

This tire has a long wearing and is equipped with the best traction for stability and usability on various surfaces.


Milestar is also one of the many names mentioned on the list of top truck tire companies.

The BD757 is a closed shoulder drive commercial truck tire for long hauling applications. It is pretty tough and perfect for haul applications.

Which has the best truck tires?

It depends.

Your choice of truck tires depends on what you are interested in getting from them.

If you want stable, quiet, and fuel-efficient tires, closed shoulder tires are ideal. If you want the toughest tires with great traction, open shoulder tyres are the way to go.


Getting new drive tires requires considering several factors, including the types available based on the tread pattern.

And so far, there are only two options which offer different performances on the road – closed and open shoulder tyres.

Find out what you think applies to your needs and check the top manufacturers listed above or other brands that provide the best options for your truck.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!

Tire Forge