The influence of tread designs on tire performance is well known. The tire industry spends significant effort in the development process to create and refine tread patterns. Creating an aesthetic yet functional design requires characterization of the tread design using many engineering parameters such as stiffness, moments of inertia, principal angles, etc. The tread element stiffness is of particular interest because of its use to objectively determine differences between tread patterns as the designer refines the design to provide optimum levels of performance. The tread designer monitors the change in stiffness as the design evolves. Changes to the geometry involve many attributes including the number of sipes, sipe depth, sipe location, block element edge taper, nonskid depth, area net‐to‐gross, and so forth. In this paper, two different formulations for calculating tread element or block stiffness are reviewed and are compared to finite element results in a few cases. A few simple examples are shown demonstrating the basic functionality that is possible with a numerical method.