|The paper concerns the characteristic parameters of the selected isotropic failure criteria, i.e. Mohr–Coulomb, Drucker–Prager, Matsuoka–Nakai and Lade–Duncan. The parameters are determined directly from the failure criteria and stress measurements or by semi-theoretical approach, assuming that the soil obeys the associated flow rule and using the plane strain condition. In the latter case, the parameters can be expressed as functions of the plane strain internal friction angle, which is determined from measurements. The principal stress tensor components, corresponding to the soil peak strength and necessary to obtain the failure criteria parameters, are measured in a series of true triaxial, plane strain tests, on coarse Skarpa sand samples of different initial relative density, subjected to various confining pressures.