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Top 10 Winter Tires

November 27, 2021

 

Ah yes, winter is finally upon us. The cold weather and snowy roads are not nearly as exciting as a smooth, dry road during a hot summer day, but snow donuts are fun at least. 

If you've clicked on this blog, you're in the market for some good winter tires to throw on your car, but you want to buy something decent (or cheap) because you're doing your research. Lucky for you, there's a great selection of winter tires on the market that'll suit your needs and keep you and your car safe on snow-packed winter roads. 

 

EXPLORE WINTER TIRES FOR YOUR RIDE

 

Quick Links:

- Are Winter Tires Worth It? [Winter vs. all-season tires]

- Top 10 Winter Tires

   - Michelin X-Ice Snow

   - Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

   - Continental VikingContact™ 7

    - Cooper Evolution Winter

   - Michelin Pilot Sport Alpin PA4

   - Firestone WinterForce2

   - Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2

   - Michelin X-ICE XI3

   - Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1

   - Atturo AW730 Ice

 

A mint green Mitsubishi Evolution ripping around in the snow

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR | Cosmis Racing S1 18x9.5 +15 | Nitto Neo Gen 245/35 | Tein Coilovers

 

 

Are Winter Tires Worth It? [Winter vs. all-season tires]

In case you've been questioning whether or not you actually need winter tires or if you can get by with your all-seasons, this is for you. 

Generally speaking, all-season tires are not very good at any particular thing because they have to make compromises. 

All-season rubber compounds have to handle the heat of summer and the cold weather in winter, so they can't be the best at everything. It's similar to trying out for every sport's team in middle school—you can only be good at one sport, even though your mom says otherwise. 

 

A black modified Subaru WRX running the Michelin X-Ice XI3 wrapped on The Elder from Artisa ArtFormed Wheels

2019 Subaru WRX STI Base | Artisa Artformed Elder 18x9.5 +35 | Michelin X-ice Xi3 245/35 | Stock Suspension

Winter tires are dedicated to performing well in winter and winter alone. No, running winter tires in summer is NOT a good idea—please don't do that to yourself. 

Winter tires have winter-formulated, soft rubber compounds, many tread blocks with biting edges, and tons of siping scattered around their tread patterns to offer the best winter traction possible—an all-season tire can't compete with this. 

So, long story short—yes, you need winter tires if you live somewhere with a real winter and want to be safe. If you want to learn more about winter tires, we have a blog for you. 

 

READ: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO WINTER TIRES

 

 

The Best Winter Tires

Now—on to the best winter tires. This list is not in any specific order, but it will lay out the facts about each tire's strong and weak points so you can determine which tire is best for you.

 

CHECK OUT POPULAR WINTER TIRES

 

Michelin X-Ice Snow

The Michelin X-ice snow tire is by far one of the most popular winter tires out there—it is a Michelin tire, after all. This snow-tire masterpiece uses an asymmetrical tread pattern packed with super-deep tread blocks and 3D siping to dominate a snow-packed road. Its FleX-Ice™ 2.0 rubber compound maintains the flexibility needed to bite into the snow while having predictable handling capabilities. 

The Michelin X-ice Snow tire sports the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating (3PMS), as all respectable winter tires should, meaning it exceeds industry standards for winter performance. Learn more about the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating in our Complete Guide to Winter Tires blog.

 

A white modified 2018 Subaru WRX Sport-tech running Enkei Tsp6 17x8 +45 wrapped in Michelin X-ice 235/45  and riding on stock Suspension

2018 Subaru WRX Sport-tech | Enkei Tsp6 17x8 +45 | Michelin X-ice 235/45 | Stock Suspension

On a warmer winter day when the roads are clear, the Michelin X-Ice Snow drives smoothly on the pavement and is recognized for its tolerable road noise. This winter tire is also known for its longevity and awesome fuel economy, even with its soft winter-formulated rubber compound. If you plan on racking up some miles over the winter, this tire exceeds expectations. 

You can't expect anything less from Michelin. 

 

A rear shot of a white Subaru WRX Sport-Tech running Enkei wheels, Michelin tires, and stock suspension

2018 Subaru WRX Sport-tech | Enkei Tsp6 17x8 +45 | Michelin X-ice 235/45 | Stock Suspension

Michelin X-Ice Snow Profile:

- Tread Depth: 10.5

- Load Index: 97

- Speed Index: H

- Warranty: 40K mileage warranty

- Price Point: Starting at $452

 

Wins:

- Excellent winter and ice traction.

- Smooth driving, even on dry pavement.

- Long-lasting treadwear and awesome fuel economy.

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Wet handling could be better.

- Tolerable road noise, but could be better.

 

CHECK OUT THE MICHELIN X-ICE SNOW

 

A white modified 2018 Subaru WRX Sport-tech running Enkei Tsp6 17x8 +45 wrapped in Michelin X-ice 235/45  and riding on stock Suspension

2018 Subaru WRX Sport-tech | Enkei Tsp6 17x8 +45 | Michelin X-ice 235/45 | Stock Suspension

 

 

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

If you've been doing your research on winter tires, you should be familiar with the Blizzak lineup from Bridgestone. This is another fantastic winter tire that checks all the boxes for a solid winter tire, especially if you're living in an area that gets some serious snow and ice, like Vermont, Colorado, or Alaska.

The biggest selling point for this tire is its grip in the snow and on ice. Bridgestone uses their patented multicell ™ technology in their winter rubber compound that "absorbs" water on the surface of the road, creating better traction—believe it or not.

 

A slammed Subaru Crosstrek running  Fast Wheels Fc04 18x9 +40 wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak Ws90 245/40 | ISC Coilovers

2017 Subaru Crosstrek Touring | Fast Wheels Fc04 18x9 +40 | Bridgestone Blizzak Ws90 245/40 | ISC Coilovers

This new generation of the Blizzak lineup also features a larger contact area on tread, giving you better steering and stopping on ice. 

Bridgestone states that the WS90 winter tire features…

- 15% more block edges

- 30% more block stiffness in the tread pattern for an extra season of wear

 

A black and white roller shot of a slammed Subaru Crosstrek

2017 Subaru Crosstrek Touring | Fast Wheels Fc04 18x9 +40 | Bridgestone Blizzak Ws90 245/40 | ISC Coilovers

The only downside to the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is its longevity.

Due to its extremely soft and flexible rubber compound, the Blizzak WS90 lacks slightly in the treadwear department. In its defense, winter tires have to make some comprises to ensure optimal snow and ice traction.

 

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 winter tire performance results

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 Performance Results from Bridgestonetire.com

 

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 12

- Load Index: 104 

- Speed Index: H

- Warranty: Manufactures Warranty Only

- Price Point:  Starting at $550

 

Wins:

- Superior snow and ice traction in acceleration and braking.

- Steering stability. 

 

Areas for improvement:

- Longevity could be better, but its awesome traction may outweigh this for you.

- Moderate road noise.

 

CHECK OUT THE BRIDGESTONE BLIZZAK WS90

 

A roller car picture of a slammed Crosstrek with aftermarket wheels, tires, and suspension

2017 Subaru Crosstrek Touring | Fast Wheels Fc04 18x9 +40 | Bridgestone Blizzak Ws90 245/40 | ISC Coilovers

 

 

Continental VikingContact™ 7

A true contestant in the world of winter tires is the Continental VikingContact™ 7. Its unique and tough name alone should indicate its impressive performance in severe winter weather conditions. 

The VikingContact™ 7 sports aggressive diamond-shaped tread blocks that bite into the snow for that ideal snow-on-snow traction. Paired with thousands of zig-zag siping and a special Nordic rubber compound, the Continental VikingContact™ 7 makes for a fun and safe drive, even in the worst weather conditions. 

 

A black modified Veloster running aftermarket wheels, tires, and suspension

2021 Hyundai Veloster N Base | Konig Tandem 18x8 +45 | Continental Viking Contact 7 245/40 | Stock Suspension

 

Continental VikingContact™ 7 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 10

- Load Index: 105

- Speed Index: T

- Warranty: Manufactures Warranty Only

- Price Point: Starting at $478 

 

Wins:

- Soft and pliable Nordic rubber compound.

- Excellent snow-on-snow grip.

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) 

 

Areas for improvement:

- Road noise could be better.

- Could improve on its wet braking capabilities.

 

CHECK OUT THE CONTINENTAL VIKINGCONTACT 7

 

Up close and personal with the  Continental Viking Contact 7 on a Veloster hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster N Base | Konig Tandem 18x8 +45 | Continental Viking Contact 7 245/40 | Stock Suspension

 

 

 

Cooper Evolution Winter

The Cooper Evolution Winter tire is a solid choice for any type of winter weather driving. Its directional tread pattern features a "sawtooth" center rib design and Snow-Groove™ Technology that aids in snow-on-snow traction and steering stability. Whether the snow runs deep or brushes the surface of the pavement, the Evolution Winter is built to handle everything mother nature throws at it. 

Due to its large and aggressive tread blocks, the road noise is a little more noticeable than some drivers would prefer, so keep that in mind if you put on a lot of highway miles in the winter.

 

Cooper Evolution Winter tire performance results

Cooper Evolution Winter tire Performance Results | From Coopertire.com

 

Cooper Evolution Winter Profile:

- Tread Depth: 12

- Load Index: 100

- Speed Index: H

- Warranty: Full Manufacturer Warranty

- Price Point: Starting at $370

 

Wins:

- Snow-on-snow traction.

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Dry handling could be improved.

- Road noise could be better. 

- Said to be priced higher than most Cooper tires. 

 

CHECK OUT THE COOPER EVOLUTION WINTER

 

 

 

Michelin Pilot Sport Alpin PA4

Another winter that stands out from the Michelin winter tire lineup is the Pilot Sport Alpin PA4. Unlike most tires on this list, the Pilot Sport Alpin PA4 features a non-traditional tread design that favors some rowdy driving. 

Michelin Pilot Sport Alpin PA4 winter weather stats:

- 10% improvement in snow acceleration

- +5% enhancement in handling on snow-covered and icy roads

As the winter brings freezing temperatures, a soft and pliable rubber compound is vital to ensure optimum grip on snow and ice.

The Pilot Sport Alpin PA4 is built with Michelin's Helio Compound™ that does just that, offering a 5% shorter stopping distance on wet roads. 

 

A blue Veloster hatchback running Konig Rennform 18x8 +45 wrapped in Michelin Pilot Alpin Pa4 225/40 and Stock Suspension

2020 Hyundai Veloster N Base | Konig Rennform 18x8 +45 | Michelin Pilot Alpin Pa4 225/40 | Stock Suspension

Michelin Pilot Sport Alpin PA4 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 10

- Load Index: 94

- Speed Index: H

- Warranty: 30K mileage warranty

- Price Point: Starting at $1059

 

Wins:

- Excellent traction and braking performance on snowy roads.

- Comfortable ride and low road noise.

- Built specifically for enthusiasts and performance vehicles in winter.

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Relatively expensive price tag, but you pay for what you get. 

 

CHECK OUT THE MICHELIN PILOT ALPIN PA4

 

A modified Veloster hatchback running Konig wheels and Michelin tires

2020 Hyundai Veloster N Base | Konig Rennform 18x8 +45 | Michelin Pilot Alpin Pa4 225/40 | Stock Suspension

 

 

 

Firestone WinterForce2

The WinterForce2 from Firestone is yet another solid winter tire, especially for those looking for a good deal. This Three-peak mountain snowflake winter tire is known for its general reliability and affordable cost. 

Featuring a directional tread pattern with deep full-depth siping across the tread pattern and open shoulder slots, the WinterForce2 provides respectable traction and braking standards on snow-packed and icy roads. 

With all of that being said, it's not going to perform like your top-tier winter tires, but it does the job very well at its price point. 

 

CHECK OUT THE FIRESTONE WINTERFORCE 2

 

Firestone WinterForce2 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 12

- Load Index: 94

- Speed Index: S

- Warranty: Manufactures Warranty Only

- Price Point: Starting at $460

 

Wins:

- Great snow and ice traction and braking.

- Bang for your buck winter tire option.

- Longevity. 

Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Road noise is less than ideal.

 

Firestone WinterForce2

 

 

 

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2

Another impressive winter tire in the Blizzak collection from Bridgestone is the Blizzak DM-V2. 

Using an adaptive NanoPro Tech Multicell rubber compound with "microscopic bite particles" and a water-absorbent coating on the tread, the Blizzak DM-V2 takes advantage of every traction opportunity possible. 

Similar to the WS90, the DM-V2 lacks slightly in the treadwear department. However, its soft, NanoPro Tech Multicell rubber compound is only present in the first 55% of its tread depth. The remaining 45% features a standard winter-formulated rubber compound.

 

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 13

- Load Index: 102

- Speed Index: T

- Warranty: Full Manufacturer Warranty

- Price Point: Starting at $645

 

Wins:

- 15% more block edges for enhanced snow-on-snow traction.

- Innovative NanoPro Tech Multicell rubber compound. 

- Excellent snow and ice traction and braking. 

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Road noise is less than ideal.

- Bridgestone's special NanoPro Tech Multicell rubber compound is only used in the first 55% of its tread depth. 

 

CHECK OUT THE BRIDGESTONE BLIZZAK DM V2

 

The Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 winter tire performance results

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 Performance Results | From Bridgestonetire.com

 

 

 

Michelin X-ICE XI3

The X-ICE XI3 is Michelin's 3rd generation of the X-Ice® lineup with a traditional tread pattern and predictable winter performance. This is yet another awesome winter tire choice from none other than Michelin. The X-Ice XI3 is also at a lower price point for those looking to get a steal.

Using a FleX-Ice™ tread compound and cross Z siping, this traditional winter tire will outlast most other winter tires without skimping on snow and ice traction. 

 

A close up on the Michelin X-Ice XI3 on the Artisa ArtFormed Elder mounted to a Subaru WRX STI

2019 Subaru WRX STI Base | Artisa Artformed Elder 18x9.5 +35 | Michelin X-ice Xi3 245/35 | Stock Suspension

 

Michelin X-ICE XI3 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 10.5

- Load Index: 95

- Speed Index: T

- Warranty: 40K mileage warranty

- Price Point: Starting at $459

 

Wins:

- Excellent snow and ice traction and braking. 

- More budget friendly. 

- Designed to be eco-friendly with improved fuel economy. 

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Relatively expensive price tag, but you pay for what you get. 

 

CHECK OUT THE MICHELN X-ICE X13

 

 

 

 

Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1

The Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1 sports another unique tread pattern with a pliable rubber compound.  This combination will flex and pack snow deep into its tread voids for optimized snow-on-snow traction. It checks all the boxes you'd expect from a reliable and safe winter tire with the outstanding performance expectations that Falken tires are known for. 

Its durable construction and reasonable price point make this an excellent option for any and all winter driving. 

 

The Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1 winter tire performance results

Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1 Performance Results | From Falkentire.com

Falken Winterpeak F-Ice 1 Profile:

- Tread Depth: 11

- Load Index: 96

- Speed Index: T

- Warranty: Manufactures Warranty Only

- Price Point: Starting at $460

 

Wins:

- Best in class ice braking.

- Exceptional snow traction.

- Studdable. 

- Praised for its safety ratings. 

- Three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF).

 

Areas for improvement:

- Relatively expensive price tag, but you pay for what you get.

 

CHECK OUT THE FALKEN WINDPEAK F-ICE 1

 

 

 

Atturo AW730 Ice

If you're looking for a safe and reliable winter tire without draining your account, the Atturo AW730 Ice has a respectable resume that should suit your bank account's limits. 

If you live somewhere with unpredictable winter weather, the Atturo AW730 Ice is offered in both studdable and non-studdable configurations. 

Featuring a directional tread pattern and contoured sipes, you can expect great grip in snow, ice, and slush while having a comfortable and quiet road when the pavement dries. 

 

 A tread diagram of the Atturo AW730 Ice tire

Photo from Atturo

Atturo AW730 Ice Profile:

- Tread Depth: 11.3

- Load Index: 116

- Speed Index: T

- Warranty: Manufactures Warranty Only

- Price Point: Starting at $438

 

Wins:

- Studdable and non-studdable configurations.

- Budget-friendly option with predictable performance.

- Comfortable and quiet ride.

 

Areas for improvement:

- Road noise. 

 

CHECK OUT THE ATTURO AW730

 

Atturo AW720 Ice winter tire performance results

Atturo AW730 Ice Performance Results | From Atturo.com

 

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