If you live in an area that experiences very harsh winter conditions and consistently sees large snowfalls, you may be best served with a traditional Studless Ice & Snow tire. These tires feature the most aggressive tread patterns, highest amount of siping, softest compounds and are the most dedicated tool for the job when it comes to mastering the worst winter has to offer. All of these benefits come at a cost however, and the price you must pay is dry road handling and responsiveness.
However, if you reside in a milder climate with only occasional light snowfall, you may choose to pursue a Performance Winter / Snow tire. While still a dedicated winter / snow tire, this class of winter tires trades a bit of traction in deep snow and ice for higher levels of dry grip and reasonable road manners. Drivers of high performance cars will appreciate the high-speed rating on these tires that make the car handle in a familiar manner to their Original Equipment performance tires. Popular tires in this category include the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32, Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 and Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4.
If you have dedicated summer tires or are not happy with the winter traction provided by your all-season tires, either of these two categories is a huge step in the right direction once the snow starts flying. The choice between them should be made after you assess your own driving style and traction needs per your climate.