If you’re browsing the market for new winter tyres, you’ve got a number of options to select from. How can you know which kind will fit your needs the best? Start with the fundamentals. There are two main sorts of winter tyres, studded and non-studded. Studded tyres were always considered to be the best for winter conditions, however advances in rubber compounds and different winter tyre technologies have changed the minds of many drivers.
Studded snow tyres are made with actual metallic studs integrated in the tread of the tyre. The purpose of these tiny metal pieces is to dig deep into the ice to provide good grasp. When the surface is not covered with ice, studded tyres are not always superior. Modern winter tyres have seen a lot of improvement in their quality and performance. Because of the long-term product development, studs have become lighter and shorter, which minimizes road wear and ensures a comfortable noise level.
Rather than relying on steel studs protruding from tread, modern non-studded tyres focus on advances in rubber compounding and tread designs. In extreme cold conditions, non-winter tyres will become stiffer and less capable of adapting to the road surface. Modern studless snow tyres are capable of keeping flexible in freezing temperatures, due to advances in rubber compounding technologies. This rubber flexibility permits tyres, to keep traction on snowy, cold, moist and dry driving surfaces. Studless tyres usually also have a more distinct tread pattern than summer or all-weather tyres. These tread patterns allow the tyre to manage snow and slush dispersion from below the tyre. Another characteristic you will note are hundreds of tiny slits in the tread pattern, called sipes. These act as thousands of biting edges on ice that help with acceleration, deceleration, and prevent sliding.
So as can be seen, both tyre options are very capable of handling winter conditions. The choice depends more on if you will be experiencing a lot of ice, where the studded is far superior due to the studs, if not the non-studded winter tyre should be suitable for your winter needs. You might want to check if there are any restrictions with winter tyres in your area, or any area that you plan to visit with your car, to ensure that you comply with local regulations.