In short, “siping tires” is all about “tire traction” and putting more of your tire in contact with the road. Believe it or not, “siping” was developed more than 80 years ago by a man named John Sipe who had grown tired of continually slipping on the wet floors at work. Sipe decided to cut grooves into the treads on the bottoms of his shoes in order to gain better traction (and experience fewer accidents). His idea worked and he secured a patent on the siping technology.
Of course Sipe’s problems with the wet, slippery floors at work were theoretically identical to those challenges faced by tire manufacturers: How do you maximize tire traction (and “ice traction”), tire braking and tire performance under bad conditions? So, within a few decades, designers in the automobile tire industry began using siping technology on tire treads to give drivers a smoother ride, better tire road grip and better tire traction under difficult driving conditions (e.g., heavy rain, snow, mud, ice, etc.).
Similar to the process used on John Sipe’s shoes, tire siping involves cutting small slits (called “sipes) into the tread blocks on the tire. On a properly siped tire, the slits run perpendicular to the tire tread and create thousands of tiny surfaces that improve tire traction in bad weather conditions and actually extend the tire life.