This paper presents the finite-element simulations of the behavior of strip footings resting on sand beds, with different density of soil, reinforced with geocells of different dimensions. The strength and stiffness of sand confined with geocells is represented by an equivalent composite model developed from triaxial compression tests. The additional confining pressure due to geocells, calculated using hoop tension theory, is used to obtain the apparent cohesive strength imparted to sand due to geocells. The elastic modulus of the geocell encased sand is related to the elastic modulus of the unreinforced sand and the tensile modulus of the geocell material using an empirical equation. Load-settlement response of strip footings on geocell reinforced sand beds obtained from the numerical simulations are compared with the corresponding experimental results and the match is found to be good. In addition, numerical results showed that with the provision of a geocell layer, the mobilized shear stress contours become horizontal and shift downwards, indicating that the geocell mattress transmits the footing load to a deeper depth, thereby bringing about a higher load carrying capacity. © 2009 ASCE.