Top 10 Best Tires for Drifting: Recommended & Reviews

Ever since Initial-D kissed the TV screens in the 80s’, drifting car has become an integral part of the car culture. Some people consider it stupid to drift in the corners, probably because it slows you down. We don’t judge – everybody is entitled to an opinion. However, we think everyone will agree that drifting is super fun, especially when you do it on a track or empty parking lot.

Drifting is also very expensive. You’re going to need a car first, and not just the regular subcompact economy vehicle. Far from that. To properly enjoy drifting, you will need a powerful sports car with a rear-wheel-drive configuration. On some lighter cars, 200 horsepower will be enough (Toyota 86 and Mazda Miata), but on heavier cars, you’re looking at over 300 horsepower. These vehicles don’t come cheap and certainly aren’t cheap to run.

Then, you will need a set of proper drifting tires. Sure, you can just as easily do donuts with the low-rolling-resistance tires you are using to go to work. In that case, though, the fun will stop very soon. Normal tires aren’t made for doing shenanigans and might get damaged in the process. As a matter of fact, most of them will explode while you’re drifting.

Suffice to say; you will need specialty tires that are made to withstand the high pressure and high temperatures while drifting. These tires don’t come cheap – some sets of drift tires will be twice as expensive as normal passenger tires. You also need to think about replacing your wheels – most drifting tires come in larger sizes and smaller sidewalls.

If you are really prepared to spend all that money to go sideways into a corner, we got you covered. In this article, we will give you our list of the 10 best tires for drifting. To be fair to casual amateur drifters and professional drifters alike, we will include both street-focused tires and track-focused tires.

That’s why it is essential that you choose drift tires that will suit your needs best. In other words, if you only want to drift casually and mostly want to use the same tires on the street, you don’t want racing tires. On the other hand, if you’re serious about drifting, then you might want to invest in racing-derived tires.

For those that are newbies to drifting and enthusiast driving, we also included a buying guide. There, we will explain why we chose those 10 best tires for drifting. More precisely, we will try to teach what every tire type means and why some of them will work better for you.

Top 10 List of The Best Tires for Drifting Recommended

Best High-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Precise and controllable handling
  • Responsive sidewalls
  • Excellent grip and traction
  • Wet performance

Cons

  • No treadwear warranty
  • Not a lot of sizes are available

The Proxes R35 isn’t really designed for drifting, but it can still provide the driver with controllable handling for casual street fun.

This tire is often used as original equipment on some sports cars and sports sedans, so if you already own it, replacing your worn-down tires with a new set might be a great thing to do.

Like most summer tires, the Proxes R35 performs best in hot climates and can’t be used nor stored in freezing conditions. It can even get damaged while doing that.

On the road, the Proxes R35 provides excellent responsiveness, high levels of grip and traction, and excellent high-speed stability. Thanks to the sticky rubber and stiff sidewalls, the Proxes is very good for drifting, but only on the street and on less-powerful cars.

Wet performance is one of the advantages of this drifting tires – it performs well even in heavy rain. That said, Toyo doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty.


Best Ultra-High-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Amazing handling abilities
  • Controllable at the limit
  • Usable for autocross
  • Excellent wet handling
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • The ride is a bit harsh

Falken is a company that you’ll mostly see on drifting events. Naturally, their tire lineup is excellent for drifting, especially the performance ones. The Falken Azenis FK510 tires is another example of the best tires for drifting. The Azenis FK510 belongs to their ultra-high-performance family, and right now, it offers the most bang for the buck.

This is one of the most responsive ultra-high-performance tires we’ve tried, which enhances the overall feeling behind the wheel, especially when drifting. The grip and traction are also amazing, aiding in controllability and precision.

On the road, the Falken is supremely safe to drive, both in dry and wet conditions. This drift tires also possesses outstanding hydroplaning resistance, so you don’t have to worry about daily-driving these.

Interestingly, Falken even put effort into designing a quieter tread pattern, and that shows on the road. However, the ride quality is still a bit harsh, and the Japanese manufacturer doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty.

Best Ultra-High-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Excellent responsiveness
  • Outstanding grip and traction in dry and wet conditions
  • Budget price

Cons

  • Accelerated treadwear

Kumho solidified its place in the enthusiast culture by offering excellent performance tires at lower price points. Thanks to companies like this one, more people are able to experience fun while driving, and they should be applauded for that.

Their Ecsta PS31 ultra-high-performance summer tires is one of the best at its price point. Thanks to the High Grip Resin, grip and traction are simply outstanding, while the stiff sidewall provides excellent responsiveness and controllability. 

Wet traction and hydroplaning resistance are also surprisingly good, on a level with the best premium tires in this category. The ride quality is pretty good as well, and there is not a lot of noise on the highway.

That said, Kumho doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty on the Ecsta PS31. Also, some users report accelerated treadwear during prolonged drifting sessions, so be sure that you opt for some tougher tires if you drift professionally.

Best Ultra-High-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Quick reactions
  • Excellent grip and traction
  • Usable in wet conditions
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • The ride is a bit harsh

The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is another excellent budget alternative for drivers that want to have fun on the track. It borrows most of its compound from Bridgestone, which is the parent company of Firestone. That’s great news, by the way.

The Indy 500 is a very responsive tire and one that communicates well with the driver. It also exhibits excellent grip and traction, which further enhances controllability at the limit. This drifting tires is also very durable – prolonged drifting sessions shouldn’t be an issue.

On the road, the Indy 500 is surprisingly useful as a daily driver. It has excellent hydroplaning resistance and overall outstanding wet traction and braking. Noise is not an issue as well, but the ride is but busy. If you’re looking for the cheap drift tires , you can’t go wrong with these.

Sadly, though, Firestone doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty on the Indy 500.


Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

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Pros

  • Best-in-class responsiveness
  • Very high levels of grip and traction
  • Controllable at the limit
  • Excellent wet traction, grip, and braking

Cons

  • No treadwear warranty

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric was already a very popular tire within the drifting community, and the second version is prepared to be even more popular. This is a drifting tires that you’d be hard-pressed to find any real downsides on.

Thanks to the advanced tread compound with high molecular weight polymers, the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 is the most responsive max-performance tire on the market right now. This helps tremendously while drifting, giving more control to the driver. The solid outboard shoulders aid the controllability with better traction and grip, further enhancing the whole experience.

Luckily, all things that are good for drifting translate into street driving. The Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 provides the driver with ample traction, grip, and braking on wet surfaces, even during heavy rain. Comfort is also not an issue – the ride quality is good, and there is not a lot of noise on the highway.

That said, considering the fact that it’s the newest tire on this list, it could’ve come with a treadwear warranty.

Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Outstanding handling ability
  • Exceptional grip and traction
  • Excellent high-speed stability
  • Very good wet traction and braking
  • Excellent 30,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • Pricey

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a universally acclaimed tire, both by amateur and racing drivers. Despite its higher asking price, Michelin’s max-performance summer tire is loved by enthusiasts around the world.

This is one of the few summer tires that comes with a warranty – 30,000-mile treadwear is no joke in this class. More importantly, though, the Le Mans-derived tread compound gives the driver an unforgettable driving experience.

Thanks to the outstanding responsiveness and sticky rubber, this drifting tires is super-controllable at the limit. The grip and traction levels are also amazing, and you won’t need to worry about this tire exploding or catching fire.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S also provides the driver with excellent everyday drivability – wet traction, grip, and braking are among the best in its class.

When it comes to comfort, the ride is expectedly busy, but noise is well-suppressed. Overall an exceptional max-performance tire.

Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Outstanding responsiveness
  • High levels of grip and traction
  • Controllable at the limit
  • Excellent wet traction, grip, and braking

Cons

  • No treadwear warranty

The Continental ContiSportContact 5 is another premium max-performance tire that performs outstandingly well for drifting. The German manufacturer used an exotic Black Chilli compound molded into an asymmetric tread design on their flagship, and that translates into outstanding handling.

Responsiveness on this drifting tires is outstanding – it reacts lightning fast to steering inputs. The advanced compound enhanced grip and traction, providing the driver with outstanding controllability while drifting. The casing of this tire is also very durable – thanks to the reduced rolling resistance, it remains cooler for longer.

The ContiSportContact 5 is as good on the road. It possesses especially good wet traction and braking, even in puddles of water. Comfort is very good as well, and there is not a lot of noise on the highway. However, Continental also doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty.

8. Yokohama ADVAN Apex V601 - Cheap Drift Tires

Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Amazing handling abilities
  • Excellent traction and grip
  • Surprisingly good for wet conditions
  • 25,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • None that we can think of

Right now, the Yokohama ADVAN Apex V601 is one of the best budget-oriented tires for drifting. It offers an amazing driving experience at a fraction of the price of its premium competitors.

Responsiveness is excellent, almost on the level of the best premium max-performance tires. The grip and traction are also amazing, which aids in controllability while drifting.

Thanks to the wide circumferential grooves, hydroplaning resistance is better than expected, which makes this drifting tires usable on the road as well. The Japanese manufacturer even took care to make these tires quieter, which is always welcome.

Finally, Yokohama offers a 25,000-mile treadwear warranty on the ADVAN Apex V601, which is almost unheard in the max-performance summer tire category.


Best Extreme-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

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Pros

  • Best-in-class for drifting
  • High-speed stability is outstanding
  • Excellent handling
  • Usable in wet conditions

Cons

  • Steep price

The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is far from a cheap tire, but it is still slightly cheaper than the Pilot Sport 4S. More importantly, it is one of our favorite tires – the handling abilities of the RE-71R are second to none.

Seriously, when it comes to handling, we don’t have anything negative to say about the Potenza. Responsiveness is simply outstanding – the tire almost telepathically responds to your inputs.

The grip and traction are also outstanding, which gives you more confidence to push forward. This is one of the most controllable tires at the limit, which certainly helps in the middle of a drift.

Unlike most extreme-performance summer tires, the Potenza RE-71R is completely usable on the street. The wide circumferential grooves with hydro evacuations surface ridges on their inner walls and multi-angle "7-shaped" lateral grooves improve wet traction and braking.

Unlike Michelin, Bridgestone sadly doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R.

Best Extreme-Performance Summer Tires for Drifting

Best Tires for Drifting

Pros

  • Mind-blowing responsiveness
  • Very high levels of grip and traction
  • Controllable while drifting
  • DOT-approved for use on the road

Cons

  • Wet traction could be better

Right now, the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is a hot topic on drifting forums and for a good reason – it is one of the best drifting tires around. Oh, and it also won numerous racing series in the past year.

The 4D Nano Design summer tread compound on this tire is super-aggressive, while the sidewalls are super stiff and need for drifting. The result? Outstanding responsiveness, precise steering input, and controllability at the limit. The grip and traction levels are also simply outstanding, especially in warmer weather.

The Falken Azenis RT615K+ can be used on the road safely. However, it doesn’t offer the same hydroplaning resistance as the Potenza RE-71R, so we recommend going slowly when it rains heavily.

Comfort is also not its forte, but that’s expected on an extreme-performance tire. On the positive side, high-speed stability is top-notch.

Best Tires for Drifting: Buying Guide

Summer Rubber Compound is Best for Drifting

The first and most important thing when choosing tires is to choose tires that will work well in hot temperatures. Drifting quickly increases the temperature of the rubber, even if the air and the track are cold. Choosing tires that aren’t designed for hot climates might result in catastrophic failures, such as burning or explosion.

That’s why we always recommend buying summer tires for drifting. These drifting tires are designed to withstand higher temperatures and they perform best when they reach over 86 °F (30 °C). In other words, summer tires stick to the road better in warm conditions and especially after you drifted for a while.

Some drivers might consider an all-season compound. Most high-performance and ultra-high-performance models today are available with this compound. It is designed to give the driver an elevated driving experience throughout the year, even in freezing weather.

However, all-season tires quickly lose their abilities at very high temperatures, which will happen instantly when you start drifting. That’s why we recommend all-season tires only for people that will drive on the street and not on the track.

High-Performance Tires are the Best Choice for Street Drivers

High-performance tires, as their name suggests, are designed to aid drivers in high-performance driving. These tires are designed to provide better handling than normal passenger tires, shorter braking distances, and overall better responsiveness. They also have stiffer sidewalls, which makes them much more controllable at the limit.

However, high-performance tires are only really made for driving on the street. Sure, you can use them on the track, but you won’t’ get the desired performance. That is especially true for drifting, which can be taxing on these tires. Still, they will work well on lighter cars with engines up to 200 horsepower. They are also great entry-level rubber if you’re just getting into drifting, or only doing it casually.

The best thing about these drifting tires is that they are completely usable for everyday driving. They provide the driver with ample traction and grip on dry pavement and excellent hydroplaning resistance in very wet conditions. In other words, they can give you the thrills from time to time but still be usable as daily drivers.

Ultra-High-Performance Tires are the Best Choice for Drifting on Street and Track

The next tires up the performance ladder are called ultra-high-performance. As their name suggests, these drift tires offer overall better performance than normal high-performance tires.

Ultra-high-performance tires are much more responsive and give more information through the steering wheel. They also have much higher levels of grip and traction, both on the street and on the track.

As expected, these models are much better for drifting. The stiffer sidewall is much more durable, while the sticky compound gives better control while drifting. Ultra-high-performance tires are an excellent choice for drifting on the track, even for some regular drifters.

Like their less-aggressive counterparts, ultra-high-performance models are very usable on the street. They provide the driver with outstanding traction and grip, both in dry and wet conditions. Hydroplaning resistance is a tad worse, but nothing to worry about.

Max-Performance Tires are the Best Choice for the Real Drifting Enthusiasts

Now we get into real racing tires, but ones that can still be used on the street. Max-Performance tires borrow many technologies from tires that manufacturers use in races. Thanks to that, they offer much better handling than ultra-high-performance tires.

Naturally, this also makes them a better option for drifting, both on the street and on the track. Thanks to the super-stiff sidewalls and sticky rubber, max-performance tires are very controllable at the limit. They also offer even more precise steering input and more feeling behind the steering wheel.

They can also withstand much higher pressures and temperatures. This is essential for serious drifting as both high pressure and high temperature can wreak havoc on your tires, often making them explode. By choosing max-performance tires, you will be free to explore even greater angles while drifting.

With all that said, while max-performance tires are usable on the street, they aren’t ready to tackle every condition. Due to the shallow tread grooves, max-performance tires are only usable in very light rain and lack proper hydroplaning resistance when driving in puddles of water.

If you’re ready to drive slowly while it’s raining, then these drifting tires are the best wet traction tires for rain driving.

Extreme-Performance Tires are Excellent for Autocross and Track Days

Extreme-performance tires offer the stickiest tread compound and stiffest sidewalls of any other tire type. Thanks to that, the responsiveness on these tires is simply phenomenal, there is a load of feedback through the steering wheel, and the handling is super-precise. In other words, extreme-performance tires are the fastest overall.

This makes them an outstanding option for drifting. With a set of these tires, your drift car will feel super-controllable at the limit, and you will get a lot more information from the road. Extreme-performance tires will let you achieve the tightest drifting angles possible.

Apart from performance, these drifting tires are also super-durable when used for drifting. They can withstand very high temperatures without burning and very high pressures without exploding.

With all that said, extreme-performance tires aren’t the best choice for street driving. Some of the models aren’t even DOT-approved for use on the road, which means that they are illegal. And even the legal ones lack proper hydroplaning resistance for use in heavy rain, even though they are safer on dry roads.

Final Words

As you all know, to choose the best tires for drifting, we mostly included high-quality tires from reputable manufacturers in the list above, and there’s a perfect reason for that. Very cheap tires from manufacturers that you first heard on Amazon are not only bad – they can even be dangerous. 

That is especially true for drifting – very cheap drift tires will quickly burst into flames or explode. If you want to enjoy drifting, do yourself a favor and buy tires from reputable manufacturers.

And if the price seems too high for you, just remember that you’re paying for the fact that premium performance tires were developed in some racing series around the world.

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