The influence on the wear properties of ductile iron with Cr-containing steel inserts has been investigated before and after austempering. The microstructure of locally reinforced ductile iron, with and without an austempering treatment, has been characterized using optical microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry. The introduction of such inserts during casting leads to the precipitation of carbides M3C, M7C3 and M23C6 (M stands for Fe and/or Cr) inside the inserts and to M3C and M7C3 in the region surrounding the inserts. After austempering, a partial dissolution of these latter carbides and transformation of the matrix to ausferrite occur. The wear properties of these materials have been evaluated under reciprocating sliding motion using cylinder-on-disc line contact configuration. The results of the present investigation show a better wear behavior of the reinforced material related to the microstructural changes observed.