In the 1960s, we were introduced to a new form of control on ice: the studdable winter tire. Small metal studs were inserted into tires for enhanced traction on the iciest of roads. Working together, the studs combined the vehicle's weight with centrifugal force to create intensified traction. In other words, they chipped away at the icy road. They also chipped away at the road if the ice wasn't thick enough—which is why studded snow tires are illegal in certain places. (Read more.)
However, where they remain legal, studded snow tires have proven to be very useful in harsh winter driving conditions. We recently tested the Firestone Winterforce, Pirelli Winter Carving Edge, and General Altimax Arctic. Read the results in the following article: "Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Studdable Winter / Snow."
All the same, many of the studdable winter / snow tires on the market today can be used without studs. If the tires are new, or if there is a significant amount of tread depth remaining on older tires—these tires are an excellent winter option. (Read more.)