This work is focused on dust or debris produced by the wear of tire tread. Two problems are addressed, which are solved by analytical electron microscopy (AEM): characterization of tire debris and identification of tire debris particles in a heterogeneous specimen. The characteristic morphology, microstructure and elemental composition of tire debris can all be determined by AEM. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) shows that the surface of a tire debris particle has a typical, warped structure with pores. The characteristic elements of tire rubber are S and Zn, which are detected by energy dispersive X ray (EDX) spectroscopy. The identification of rubber particles in heterogeneous debris containing talc and produced by a laboratory abrader is possible by the analytical SEM. Transmission electron microscope images, EDX spectra and selected area electron diffraction patterns characterize tire debris at the sub–micron scale, where the material can no longer be treated as homogeneous.