Tread patterns for riding lawnmowers are generally offered in two designs: rib and traction tread.
Rib tread is also sometimes referred to as a Straight Rib Tread. This tread has circumferential grooves around the tread. It is normally used on a front or steering application. A rib tread is designed to leave less of a footprint on grass, as well as less grass and soil compaction.
Another tread pattern is a Traction Tread. It is normally used on drive wheels or all-wheel-drive mowers. A traction tread comes in two variations: one has a “square shoulder” and may have a deeper tread. It is used when leaving a slight footprint in the grass is not important, as is the case at many parks, football fields, cemeteries, or golf courses that see a lot of public play.
For applications where leaving a footprint is not an option, the “round shoulder” traction pattern is the best option. Usually, this tire has a tread pattern that is less aggressive than the square shoulder pattern. The depth of the tread is also less than its square counterpart. In a side-by-side operation, the round shoulder tire will wear out before a square shoulder tire but the round shoulder will leave less of a footprint in the grass.
In addition to these treads, there are also some special applications for mower tires, such as a smooth tread for putting greens.