© 2016 Future Medicine Ltd. Aim: To characterize inter- and intra-strain variability of variable-number tandem repeats (VNTRs) in Mycoplasma pneumoniae to determine the optimal multilocus VNTR analysis scheme for improved strain typing. Methods: Whole genome assemblies and next-generation sequencing data from diverse M. pneumoniae isolates were used to characterize VNTRs and their variability, and to compare the strain discriminability of new VNTR and existing markers. Results: We identified 13 VNTRs including five reported previously. These VNTRs displayed different levels of inter- and intra-strain copy number variations. All new markers showed similar or higher discriminability compared with existing VNTR markers and the P1 typing system. Conclusion: Our study provides novel insights into VNTR variations and potential new multilocus VNTR analysis schemes for improved genotyping of M. pneumoniae.