The universal rule for better winter traction is to get the narrowest possible winter tire with the same (or nearly same) diameter as the stock tire. Rounder casing designs add traction by cutting into the snow’s surface. A stiff tread base and special construction of the tire’s overlay creates an even pressure distribution in the tire footprint. This optimizes grip in the contact patch on snow and wet roads and provides a better steering response on dry roads.


Wide circumferential grooves enhance winter traction by providing efficient channels to drain water and expel snow. The smaller shoulder grooves of modern winter tires provide increased snow and ice traction while maintaining dry handling. Special lug and groove shapes allow more snow to be packed into the tread and expelled as the tire rotates for better deep snow traction.


Many winter tires feature a tread design that moves slush and water out of the way. The more open the tread design, the better the tire will perform in accumulated snow. The larger the tread blocks, the better the handling and steering response. Modern tread design also helps reduce the tire’s noise level.


High-density sipe designs create more biting edges to help cut through water and slush so the tread compound can make better contact with the road. The sipes on the outer edges of the tread squeeze together under hard dry cornering; allowing the tread to act as a solid block to improve handling.