The friction behaviour of the human fingerpad as a function of asperity geometry was investigated experimentally. Surface textures consisting of evenly distributed spherically tipped asperities were used for in vivo testing. Using analytical expressions, a multi-scale model was developed to explain the observed friction behaviour as a function of texture geometry, load and skin properties. Friction is found to increase with increasing tip radius. A minimum value for the coefficient of friction seems to exist as a function of asperity density. A maximum value for tip spacing exists above which the contact is not determined by the texture properties only. According to the model normal adhesion plays an important role in the observed friction behaviour. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.