Abstract Combined shear–tensile test have been performed on a closed-cell aluminum alloy foams with three relative densities over a wide range of loading rates in order to probe their failure behaviors under biaxial loading conditions. Quasi-static uniaxial compressive and tensile tests have also been conducted to investigate uniaxial failure behaviors of the aluminum alloy foams. The materials exhibit uniaxial failure stress asymmetry due to different failure mechanism in the uniaxial tensile and compression. Comparison is made between three phenomenological failure criteria and the measured failure stresses under different loading conditions to verify these criteria. The experimental failure surfaces of the aluminum alloy foams provide support for the three phenomenological failure criteria when suitable Poisson’s ratio is employed. The shape of the experimental failure surface in principal stress plane was not significantly influenced by variation in the relative density. The slight expansion of the failure surfaces with loading rate happened to be isotropic for this investigated closed-cell aluminum alloy foams in combined shear–tensile testes.