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An "inverted tread" is like the tread of most car tires, where the tread area may be visualized as a solid mass of rubber with grooves cut into it. "Knobby" tread, on the other hand, might be seen as a tire with thin rubber over the casing, but with knobs stuck on here and there.
Since tires are made by molding, not by cutting or sticking tread features on, this distinction is somewhat theoretical, and some tires have characteristics of both types.
"Inverted" tread tires typically have a more continuous contact area with the riding surface, so they give a smoother ride on pavement than knobby treads do. They can also give a better grip on loose, uneven surfaces than smooth tires do. They are mainly used as a compromise on- off-road tire. They don't grip as well in sand and mud as serious knobbies, and they are heavier and have more rolling resistance than smooth tires intended for paved surfaces.