Help with Motion Sensor

I am hoping to get some guidance on detecting the direction of motion of a wheel.

I thought about using a rotary encoder but its not possible for me to add the necessary hardware to the axle or wheel as well as a solid state solution is optimal.

I need to measure the direction of rotation of a tire, my thoughts are on a solution similar to laser mice, however I have yet to find a sensor that works more then 1-2mm off the surface and I would like at least 2-3 cm of distance between the sensor and the tire.

Does anyone know if I am even in the ballpark, or maybe have some ideas?