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A "footprint" refers to the tread pattern of an all-terrain tire. Offroading lovers debate the importance of the footprint based on the on or off-road performance. When it comes to traction in tricky situations, some drivers want that extra advantage, saying bigger is better. Other drivers hate the louder highway noise generated by big-footprint all terrain tires. They don't mind the trade off of a smaller footprint and a smoother and quieter ride on the way to the trail. Better street handling means reduced performance off-road, but these tires also have an appeal to those who only rarely drive off the street. The diehard dirt devil may sacrifice a bit of comfort on the way to the trail-once there, the real fun begins.