Comparing Foam Filled Skid Steer Tires to Solid Skid Steer Tires

Posted by Evolution Wheel on Oct 25, 2017 9:31:16 AM
Find me on:

solid skid steer tires


A skid steer loader, or skidsteer, is a small hydraulic-powered machine with a variety of tools that attach to its lift arms; it works as a front loader to move earth, snow, gravel and whatever else needs moving. Because of its fixed wheel orientation and separate side-wheel synchronization, a skid steer loader 'skids' to turn - effectively pivoting the machine with a zero radius. This makes the skidsteer extremely versatile and agile, but the rough use wears tires out.

Flats are especially a problem with typical pneumatic skid steer tires. One current solution is to fill the skid steer tires with foam. But dependability does not mean just having tires that don't go flat anymore. Dependability also translates as skid steer tires that have good traction, a long wear life, save cost over time, and that provide a smooth ride for the operator.

According to the majority of skid steer operators, foam filled tires have a lot of drawbacks. You might think they'd choose foam filled tires over tubed pneumatic tires just because no one wants to fix a flat, but many operators complain about the very rough ride with foam filled tires. The tires get stiff and don't conform to the road and bounce the driver all over the place.

Another common complaint is that foam filled tires lose traction - again because of the rigidity and stiffness from the foam. One of the more serious complaints was that the added weight of foam filled tires put a lot of additional stress on the skid steer drivetrain. If the drivetrain goes, the skidsteer can’t operate. Only one operator out of ten thought that the added weight was a benefit, perhaps contributing to traction. In fact, most operators said they'd rather deal with changing pneumatic tires than use foam filled tires, primarily because air-filled tires provided a significantly more comfortable ride. So is that it - just live with flat tires?

Actually another solution to the skidsteer tire dilemma is solid skid steertires - these also don't go flat, but how do they compare to foam filled tires?

Foam Filled Skid Steer Tires

Pros. You will not get a flat tire with foam-filled tires. You might get extra traction from the added weight.

Cons. These tires are heavy and add a lot of unwanted weight to the skid steer drivetrain. You have excess downtime for the machine due to the time needed to fill the tires with foam, or -- when replacing the tires -- the time and difficulty it takes to cut the foam and tires off the rim. Foam-filled tires have a reduced wear life in comparison with solid tires. A foam filled tire will become stiff and rigid causing loss of traction; they also provide a hard uncomfortable ride for the operator. 

Another significant problem with foam filled skid steer tires is the high risk of replacing cut and torn tires. It's a common health and safety regulation that foam filled skid steer tires are required to be replaced when cuts and chunking results to foam spillign out of the tire. This means that, even if your tire is new, if it has been cut or damaged resulting in foam spilling, you'll need to replace the tire. This means huge added costs, exspecially if the tire is new and hasn't had the chance to be used.

Solid Skid Steer Tires

solid skid steer tires

Pros. Solid tires also will not go flat. Although they do add additional weight to the drivetrain, they add less weight to the machine than foam-filled tires. Solid skid steer tires have a longer wear life meaning lower costs over time. A skid steer performs better with solid skid steer tires than with foam-filled skid steer tires, and solid skid steer tires provide the operator a smooth comfortable ride.

Cons. Solid skid steer tires may cost more than foam-filled tires upfront, but not significantly. Some operators complain that solid tires are also rigid and cause the skidsteer to lose traction.

Although solid skid steer tires are obviously the better choice over foam filled tires, the issue of traction could be a problem in construction applications. But traction is not a problem with Evolution Wheel solid skid steer tires. By adding taller and wider lugs to their solid skid steer tires, they dramatically improve traction, increase the wear life of the lugs, eliminated chunking and stress cracking, and and they have the best material cleanout for solid skid steer tires on the market.


Because of these reasons and MANY more, Evolution Wheel leads the field in traction technology for solid skid steer tires and meets your needs for "serviceability, traction, and a comfortable ride all in one."


foam vs solid skid steer tires


To learn more about solid skid steer tires visit the Solid Skid Steer Tires Buyers Guide from Evolution Wheel.

Topics: bobcat tires, non-pneumatic tires, solid tires, solid tire, skid loader tires, solid skid steer tires, skid steer tire, segmented tires, segmented solid tires, serviceable solid tire, skid steer tires, solid skid steer tire

About this Blog

This Evolution Wheel blog compares foam filled skid steer tires to solid skid steer tires.

  • Foam Filled Skid Steer Tires
    • Pros: no flat tires, potential of added traction due to increased weight from the foam
    • Cons: the increased weight from the foam adds wear to the drivetrain, excess downtime to replace tires, excess cost to replacing damaged tires, increased stiffness leading to reduced traction, uncomfortable ride for the operator
  • Solid Skid Steer Tires
    • Pros: no flat tires, increased wear life, easy servicablity, significantly reduced long-term costs, no downtime, lighter than foam, less wear on machine, smooth ride for operator, outstandibg traction, and less chunking and stress cracking
    • Cons: higher upfront cost to purchase 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts