The features that make winter tyres effective Winter tyres to keep you going, all winter long

Aug 21 2019

A silver vehicle equipped with Blizzak LM005 tyres is driving on a snowy road near a forest with a sunset in the background.

At Bridgestone, we understand drivers face a variety of conditions during the winter season that can range from extreme blizzards to melting snow and ice. See how we engineer our winter tyres to handle mild to severe winter challenges to give drivers confidence and peace of mind on the road.

The types of winter tyres

It’s helpful to know there are three types of winter tyres: lamellen, studded and studless. Lamellen is the material used for most winter tyres that are suited for mild to moderate winter climates. 

Tyres built for more extreme conditions, such as the Nordic region, fall into either the studded or studless tyre categories. Both studded and studless winter tyres offer high-performance gripping and handling in the winter season, but each relies on a different tyre tread.

A studded winter tyre contains metal studs embedded in its tread to bite through ice and snow. There is a time and a place to use a studded tyre because if there is no ice on the road for the tyre to grip, the metal studs will grip the road surface instead. Studless winter tyres, on the other hand, rely on innovations in the rubber compound and tread to attain traction. 

Whether a winter tyre is lamellen, studded or studless is only one factor. Tyre engineers also need to optimise the core features of a tyre to ensure its capable of handling all types of winter weather. 

The features that make the difference

A tyre’s gripping performance is essential all year-round, but especially in the winter time when the temperature and conditions can vary. Tyre engineers must optimise every element of a tyre, including the rubber compound, tread pattern and tread depth, to help drivers stay in control in rain, sleet, snow and ice. 
The Blizzak LM005’s features help drivers stay in control on wet and snowy roads

Tread rubber

The tread rubber on a winter tyre is softer and more supple than summer and all season tyres, allowing it to remain flexible in colder temperatures and achieve a tighter grip on slippery roads. At Bridgestone, we use Nano Pro-tech™ technology, a molecular compound, to enhance the gripping performance of our tyres and improve their fuel efficiency. 

Tread pattern

The tread pattern of a winter tyre is also significant as it helps to maintain traction. A winter tyre's tread pattern tends to be more complex and features more narrow slits or "sipes" to power through snow, ice and sleet while simultaneously channeling water away from the surface. Sipes create better contact between the tyre and the road to enhance the tyre's gripping performance. 

The Blizzak LM005 contains more lateral grooves and 2D sipes in the centre and 3D sipes in the shoulder for enhanced digging and braking on snow and ice.

Tread depth

The tread depth of a winter tyre contains deeper grooves and sipes in comparison to summer and all season tyres. These elements mean a winter tyre can build up and trap snow for improved
traction to create a smooth journey for drivers. 

The Blizzak LM005 contains more lateral grooves and 2D sipes in the centre and 3D sipes in the shoulder for enhanced digging and braking on snow and ice.

The comfort of safety and control

The advanced compound and optimal tyre pattern that help a winter tyre power through packed snow and ice also support its performance in wet weather. Whether it's driving through a sudden rainstorm or navigating a slick road with melting ice, Bridgestone winter tyres help all drivers feel safe and in control, and are a dependable choice to handle Europe's diverse winter climates.