A rigorous lower bound solution, with the usage of the finite elements limit analysis, has been obtained for finding the ultimate bearing capacity of two interfering strip footings placed on a sandy medium. Smooth as well as rough footing–soil interfaces are considered in the analysis. The failure load for an interfering footing becomes always greater than that for a single isolated footing. The effect of the interference on the failure load (i) for rough footings becomes greater than that for smooth footings, (ii) increases with an increase in ϕ, and (iii) becomes almost negligible beyond S/B > 3. Compared with various theoretical and experimental results reported in literature, the present analysis generally provides the lowest magnitude of the collapse load. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.