A method is developed for approximating the three components of the net surface traction vector acting between a tire and its rim. The vector is determined as a function of angular position relative to the footprint, using measured strains in the rim and the analytical solution of the membrane theory of circular cylindrical shells applicable to the rim. Non‐dimensional interaction forces are determined for the case of static loading for both radial and bias ply tires used on large earth‐moving equipment. Load transfer from radial tires is primarily by large shearing tractions occurring 15 to 60 degrees from the footprint. Bias ply tires, however, transfer load primarily by normal forces occurring 0 to 30 degrees from the footprint and tangential forces occurring 40 to 90 degrees from the footprint.