Today's tread pattern design development is done independently from the tire body construction in order to achieve the best traction and uniform local wear performance. Nevertheless, a better understanding of the interaction between tread and body is necessary to improve the above mentioned properties. An identical tire has been investigated in four pattern steps, starting from a smooth tire, carving a block structure with longitudinal and lateral grooves, and finishing with additional sipes in the blocks. A new developed test stand, which is capable of measuring the stresses in the contact patch of the rolling tire in all directions with a resolution of 1 mm, is described. The local contact stresses of the investigated tread blocks are simulated by FEA using the measured loading conditions of the smooth tire. The results of this simulation are compared with measurements and mechanically interpreted.