Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 3 years ago

What Kind Of Tyre Should You Be Using In Winter?

Believe it or not, there are six main categories of tyre to choose from, but which should you be running in winter?

Remind me later

As the weather takes a turn for the worse, you might be considering switching out your summer tyres for something better suited for chilly conditions. But with five other categories of rubber to choose from, which is the right one to go for?

To confuse matters further, you might find not all types are available in your market, and what they’re called can also - unhelpfully - vary from country to country. Thankfully, Jonathan Benson of Tyre Reviews is here to help make sense of it all.

Nokian makes a tyre in each of the six main categories
Nokian makes a tyre in each of the six main categories

In this comprehensive test, Benson looks at six tyres from Finnish manufacturer Nokian. We have summer tyres, US market all-seasons, a European market all-season (which in the USA would be referred to as ‘all-weather’), winters, Nordic or extreme winters, and finally studded. All bar the summer and US all-season tyres have grooves known as ‘sipes’ cut into them, which aid traction in very cold conditions at the expense of dry and wet weather feedback.

You can probably predict the order they come in for each of the tests, but it’s interesting to see how big or small the differences in performance can be - particularly the gulf between the summer and US all-seasons in the initial snow tests.

To answer our original question, then, which is the best tyre for winter? All we can say is it depends - mostly upon where you live.