Effects of grooving in a porous faced hydrostatic circular step thrust bearing are investigated using a mathematical model based on the narrow groove theory (NGT). It is shown that enhancement of load capacity by grooving the step is possible at moderate level of permeability of the porous facing. Load capacity drops sharply with the increase of porous facing thickness. However, this drop in load capacity occurs mostly within a small thickness of the porous facing. Considering the coupled effects of permeability and inertia, it is recommended that the dimensionless step location should be 0.5–0.8 and the dimensionless step height should be less than five to take advantage of grooving. The groove geometric parameters such as groove inclination angle, fraction of grooved area and groove depth corresponding to the maximum load capacity are found to be the same for both with and without porous facing. However, with porous facing, the sensitivity of the load capacity on the groove parameters reduces. At high level of permeability, the effects of grooves may become insignificant because of high seepage flow through the porous facing.