What are winter tyres, exactly?

Snow tyres, winter tyres, contact tyres or mud tyres- whatever you call them, these tyres are up for a challenge.

guide drive in snow 2

What makes winter tyres unique?


Winter tyre are tyres specifically designed to drive safely in temperatures below 7ºC, whether the road is snowy or not.

They are identified by special markings, M+S and/or 3PMSF, situated on the sidewall of the tyre.

Traits of Michelin winter tyres

1. The tread

Winter tyre treads are easily recognisable as they feature numerous, fine, deep cuts. These are commonly known as “sipes”.

These sipes are located on the tyre tread act like “claws”, ensuring optimal performance in dry, wet, snowy and icy terrain.

Winter tyres have better grip than summer tyres in temperatures less than 7ºC, as they are designed with:

  • 10 times more sipes
  • 3D self-locking sipes throughout the entire depth of the tread, which improve handling when driving on dry roads
  • 10% more tyre tread depth, which provides flexibility on slippery roads

summer sculpture michelin pcy4

winter sculpture michelin alpin

2. Specific materials

Winter tyres also differ from summer tyres in terms of the chemical composition of their rubber. It is formulated to stay soft even in low temperatures, increasing its grip on slippery surfaces (wet, snowy or icy conditions).

- At low temperatures (less than 7ºC), the rubber on the treads of summer tyres hardens, inhibiting their ability to grip the ground.

- The unique composition of winter tyres allows them to remain flexible and grip the road surface effectively.

Why should I kit out my vehicle with winter tyres?

Summer tyres are noticeably less effective when the temperature drops. The hardened rubber that results from lower temperatures leads to poor grip on the road. This is why we recommend changing your tyres as soon as the temperature begins to fall below 7 °C.

Developed for the demands of winter driving, winter tyres are made with materials which adapt to the cold. Whether on dry, wet, snowy or icy ground, their flexible rubber coupled with deep tread guarantees better surface grip. The road handling and driveability of the vehicle are optimised, and the braking distance reduced. 


Comparing the MICHELIN CrossClimate to MICHELIN Alpin 5


Good to know:

If you only drive in wintery conditions such as snow or ice occasionally, tyres from the MICHELIN CrossClimate range are perfect for you.

If, however, you are regularly faced with harsh weather conditions, the MICHELIN Alpin range has what it takes to safely get you where you need to go.


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