- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Over the past few years, our northern editors have tested tires from all the major brands, but it’s been quite a while since we ran a set of Michelin X-Ice snow tires (“X-Ice Snow” is the tire name). Industry-wide shortages meant Michelin wasn’t able to get them into our hands until mid-November, which is later than we like to put them on; but because of a very mild fall in the East we didn’t have any early winter weather to contend with.
Earlier this year Sailun launched the latest evolution of the brand’s Ice Blazer line of tires. As it’s the first new winter tire from the manufacturer in quite some time, the new Sailun Ice Blazer WSTX is a big deal. It’s also the perfect opportunity for us at AutoGuide to perform another in-depth, winter-long tire test.
Living in Vermont, I’ve gone through snow tires like some people eat mints. Even a decade ago, there were only a few snow tires that I’d have been willing to call “serious” winter tires—Bridgestone Blizzaks, Nokian Hakkapeliittas, Michelin X-Ice, a few others. And I stuck with them, buying them (usually Blizzak tires) generation after generation, and for every car.
Tire manufacturers have done an amazing job at using modern rubber compounds and computer tread designs that give studless winter tires more grip than the studded tires from just 30 years ago. While that’s made studded tires less popular than they were in the past, they haven’t gone away. Why? Because some parts of the country still see winters where the snow is measured in feet, not inches. Where there is more ice on the road than there is sun in the sky for half of the year.
Just because it’s cold, wet, snowy or icy doesn’t mean you can’t drive a sporty or high-performance vehicle. The best high-performance winter tires and snow tires are designed for drivers that want enhanced dry road handling from their winter/snow tires, while sacrificing maximum snow and ice traction. But don’t get us wrong: winter tires in this category are still great for winter driving, and far better than all-season tires in low temperatures and winter conditions. While they’re among the best snow tires, we did not include any studded snow tires in this list. We’ve driven on studded tires and they’ll get you through anything, but they’re not legal everywhere and are definitely not your first choice for spirited driving.
You can buy just about anything nowadays. Ralph Lauren sells dog sweaters embroidered with the Polo logo, chihuahuas dare not venture into the snow without their booties and now you can buy socks… for your car. Is this consumerism run amok?
Maybe not, there’s a new safety product aiming to replace snow chains and it’s called the WeissSock. Essentially it’s a cover that slips over a car tire, kind of like the shower caps your aunt Bertha used…
Here’s the idea: drivers living in areas where snowfall can be sporadic but heavy might find this product to be useful and more convenient than slipping chains around their wheels during nasty weather. The WeissSock is made by Italian company Wiessenfels and uses a material that helps tires stick in dry snow conditions, allowing tires greater grip.
WiessSocks cost about $84 each, which works out to roughly the same cost as a set of chains. Much the same as the traditional equipment it competes with, you can’t drive fast or stomp on the brakes without damaging them. We haven’t had a chance to test the product ourselves, but they seem to work based on videos of actual use posted online. You can watch one of them below, and we apologize in advance for the elevator music. It’s terrible, we know.