A simple mathematical model is proposed for estimating the fore‐aft elastic stiffness of pneumatic tires. This model is based upon two idealized solutions, the first being that for the extensional stiffness of a pressurized tube reinforced with inextensible cords, while the second solution is that for the shear deformation of an unpressurized elastic tube. The combination of these two elements allows one to estimate fore‐aft stiffness characteristics of pneumatic tires. The validity of the proposed model was tested by static measurements at different inflation pressures of the fore‐aft spring rates of four tires varying in size and construction. Additional structural data required for the analytical solution of the model were also obtained from these tires. Comparison of the calculated and experimental results indicates that the trends are generally correct, although close correlation between experiment and calculation is difficult to obtain.