Abstract In this experimental-analytical study of wheel-soil interaction, a technique based on the finite element method is used for predicting continuous wheel performance and subsoil response behaviour. The evaluation of wheel-soil interaction performance at any degree of slip is performed using energy principles. The analytical technique utilizes experimentally determined wheel-soil particle path as displacement input for load simulation to predict the soil response beneath the wheel. An incremental loading approach is adopted to satisfy as closely as possible the soil loading path. The solution requires initial conditions which establish the soil at zero energy level (no stress history) and proceeds to stationary wheel positions with wheel-soil penetration equal to its dynamic sinkage. The method of analysis then proceeds to the steady-state wheel travel mode. The predicted drawbar pulls and subsoil behaviour results are presented and shown to compare well with the experimentally measured values.