Why Waffle Sipes - but very little depth

Messages
589
Location
Joplin
Thread starter
Has anyone else noted the increasing number of tires with waffle sipes but they are only extending for the first ~ 2/32" (at best) in the tread surface. Like this example: [Linked Image] I read the marketing material and it goes like this: "Engineered for traction on ice, with tiny waffle sipes creating thousands of small gripping edges" It looks and sounds good but those shallow sipes will disappear relatively quickly during the tire life and then there will be no sipe at all for that tread block. So when you may need more of the features that this sipe is suppose to provide (because the tread depth is reduced) it will not even be there. Is this because they do not have the technology to make the sipes extend down into the tread (like Michelin does as an example) or is it a matter of not spending the money to make a better mold; or what ? ? Probably their marketing department figures people will buy based on the first look without really thinking about it.

Sipe short.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,694
Location
NH
I'm sure it costs money to do it right and go down further--and if done poorly it makes for a flexible tread block. To some degree, on a winter tire like this, while I'd like for siping to go all the way down, does it really need to go more than halfway? Tire is no good in snow around that point, well maybe not nearly as good. "Most" tires probably have had a few seasons by that point and aren't as soft&flexible either, so, is it a real problem?
 

Astro14

Staff member
Messages
11,660
Location
Virginia Beach
They already told you why the waffle sipes - snow traction. They go deeper than your estimate, but you're right, they don't go all the way through the block. Any snow tire will begin to lose traction below 6/32" - so why have the sipes go any deeper? Once they're worn to that depth, you can run them for summer tires, or pitch them in favor of new snow tires.
 
Messages
39,588
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted by Cressida
Is this because they do not have the technology to make the sipes extend down into the tread (like Michelin does as an example) or is it a matter of not spending the money to make a better mold; or what ? ?
I think it's because doing deep sipes so closely to each other would cause the thread to become too squirmy/unstable while in operation, possibly generating excessive heat and maybe also causing undesired road feel issues.
 
Messages
876
Location
Alberta
The nokians we run here go all the way down. They have a treat depth molded in that shows 8,6,4 and 2mm of depth left.
 
Messages
1,410
Location
Western Canada
I had a set of Nokian RSi winter tires. About 3 generations from the current stuff. Probably the best pure winter tire I have ever used, with full depth sipes thru every tread block. They made this weird sizzle sound on wet pavement ... And they absolutely SUCKED on a warmish day ( above freezing ) on a bare highway. The tire was borderline unsafe at speeds above about 65 mph. It would wander and wallow, and just felt REALLY unstable. I wonder if the numerous full depth sipes, a super soft compound and an R speed rating made it so unstable ?
 
Messages
129
Location
North Carolina, USA
Originally Posted by Cujet
Michelin LTX-M/S2 and it's newer flavor have similar sipes that are full depth. They seem to perform very well on wet Florida roads.
Yes, I have read that Michelin has perfected the art of tire siping. Speaking of the LTX-M/S2's, I have them on my '17 Chevy Colorado and they are amazing. Quiet, responsive and really grip. So good I put a set of the LTX-M/S2's on my son's 2010 Explorer Sport Trac. The perform well on his truck other that they are loud. Road growl if you will?
 
Messages
10,294
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by Astro14
They already told you why the waffle sipes - snow traction. They go deeper than your estimate, but you're right, they don't go all the way through the block. Any snow tire will begin to lose traction below 6/32" - so why have the sipes go any deeper? Once they're worn to that depth, you can run them for summer tires, or pitch them in favor of new snow tires.
Most dedicated snow tires go all the way down. Bridgestone, some models do not. Apparently new WS90 goes all the way down.
 
Messages
10,294
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by Cujet
Michelin LTX-M/S2 and it's newer flavor have similar sipes that are full depth. They seem to perform very well on wet Florida roads.
Most go all the way down. I cannot remember owning snow tire that did not go all the way down, except Bridgestone, and that is only some models.
 
Messages
1,736
Location
Cincinnati, USA
I'm sure they did durability testing with their choice of rubber compound to decide how deep the sipes can be for the best balance of grip, squirm, treadwear, and resistance to chunking off. Just looking at the picture I can tell that those are easily deeper than 2/32". I have never seen any that are only 2/32" on a new tire.
 
Messages
589
Location
Joplin
Thread starter
Originally Posted by supton
To some degree, on a winter tire like this, while I'd like for siping to go all the way down, does it really need to go more than halfway? Tire is no good in snow around that point, well maybe not nearly as good. "Most" tires probably have had a few seasons by that point and aren't as soft&flexible either, so, is it a real problem?
Understand your point in regards to a winter tire, however I'm seeing it on all season touring tires (here is one example the Kumho Solus TA11 - image credit to discount tire). [Linked Image] These type of all season tires are being purchased and used year around so any advantage of the sipes will be lost well before the tire goes out of service. In addition, I just looked at a Walmart Goodyear Viva 3 . They have extended the sipes all the way down in the tread block.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,267
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
The first time I tried Blizzaks I attributed their dry road behavior to all the siping. I took them off before I discovered if they had full depth or not. I had a set of Cooper winter truck tires like that too. Way too much squirm in the tread blocks that way.
 
Messages
7,903
Location
Michigan
I have Blizzak LT's on my '08 Dodge that I use for RV transport. The sipes go all the way down. The first run I made on the Blizzaks, the tread squirm was bad enough that I thought that the rear suspension was broken. After about 1000 miles, they got better. The tread wear rate is very high, and I had to rotate them after a month. I don't know if they will have enough tread to get through the winter. Last year I ran in snow until May 20. But the snow traction of the Blizzaks is just incredible, and I wouldn't use any other tire to run the northern routes in winter. In December I ran back from Grand Junction, CO across the Eisenhower pass and over Copper Mountain. In about 3 hours of driving through heavy snow, the truck didn't slip once, and I was not overstressed to keep control.
 
Messages
14,975
Location
NE,Ohio
Many of the zigzag sipes only go halfway for handling reasons. 3d sipes are much better at providing all the positives and less of the negatives(of siping)
 
Messages
16,694
Location
NH
Originally Posted by Cressida
Originally Posted by supton
To some degree, on a winter tire like this, while I'd like for siping to go all the way down, does it really need to go more than halfway? Tire is no good in snow around that point, well maybe not nearly as good. "Most" tires probably have had a few seasons by that point and aren't as soft&flexible either, so, is it a real problem?
Understand your point in regards to a winter tire, however I'm seeing it on all season touring tires (here is one example the Kumho Solus TA11 - image credit to discount tire). These type of all season tires are being purchased and used year around so any advantage of the sipes will be lost well before the tire goes out of service. In addition, I just looked at a Walmart Goodyear Viva 3 . They have extended the sipes all the way down in the tread block.
Ah, different story. I agree with you, it'd be safer to the user using these year round, in snow and whatnot. But I suspect what you are seeing is a concession to selling price--probably would cost more to make a tire that has sipes all the way down. This is what one as a buyer has to look at, else they get a nasty shock towards the end of the tire's life. Just like in all things, one needs to shop carefully, and balance their needs (I'm not sure that siping is required on a summer tire? thus those sipes would be a negative on a vehicle that never sees snow and ice -- that sort of thing).
 
Messages
3,811
Location
Somewhere in the US
As a former tire design engineer, I've seen all kinds of sipes - shallow, full depth, half depth, and stepped. I am an advocate of full depth or nearly full depth sipes - that is sipes that disappear at 2/3nds TDR, the legal minimum. I can understand making sipes full depth in the middle, but shallow at the edges to improve button stability. I frankly think it is counter productive to customer satisfaction for the sipes to disappear after only a few thousand miles - and I wonder why some tire manufacturers do that.
 
Messages
4,001
Location
Central Maryland
Originally Posted by CapriRacer
I frankly think it is counter productive to customer satisfaction for the sipes to disappear after only a few thousand miles - and I wonder why some tire manufacturers do that.
I guess it makes for better test results... while the tire is new.
 
Messages
3,129
Location
Parts Unknown
Originally Posted by tcp71
The nokians we run here go all the way down. They have a treat depth molded in that shows 8,6,4 and 2mm of depth left.
But, the snowflake indicator doesn't go down to 2mm. It disappears at about 5mm.
 
Messages
4,001
Location
Central Maryland
Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by tcp71
The nokians we run here go all the way down. They have a treat depth molded in that shows 8,6,4 and 2mm of depth left.
But, the snowflake indicator doesn't go down to 2mm. It disappears at about 5mm.
I think that is Nokian's way of informing the user that snow performance depends on tread depth as well as sipe depth.
 
Top