Winter tires are, as the name indicates, tires that are to be used during the winter. There are a few things that differentiate them from all-season tires. One of them is that the rubber compound used is completely different; the winter tire compound is optimized to remain soft during the temperature range that is predominant during the winter period. This allows the tires to remain soft and be able to adjust to the surface and allow the rubber to be pressed into the micro-cavities in the surface to create high friction. An all-season tire would become hard at these low temperatures and wouldn’t be able to adjust to the surface. Using winter tires during the all-season would make the tires too soft and would thus wear at a higher rate.
This is why it is very important to change the tires between all-season and winter so that you have the best possible tire for the weather and temperature conditions. All-season tires in winter you have very little if any grip, and winter tires in all-season and you wear out your tires too fast, but you have a lot of grips. With this in mind, it is, of course, better to leave the winter tires on a bit too long or mount them a bit too early versus ending up having all-season tires when it is too cold, or you have real winter weather.
In addition to different rubber compounds, they also have very different tread designs and properties. With studded tires, you have metal studs protruding from the tread on your studded tires so that you have better grip and traction on icy surfaces. You also have a tread design optimized for grip on snow, with the ability to handle slush without experiencing slushplaning.
There are more regulations related to studded tires, and they are not allowed in some states or provinces, which can cause problems if you try to cross the borders with studded tires, so you will need to check what is allowed and what is not. Many areas also regulate the period where you can use studded tires, while there are no restrictions on non-studded tires. So you do have a bit more flexibility when you have non-studded tires, but if you want to have the best possible grip on ice, you should choose studded tires.
You also have the option of using winter approved all-weather tires during the winter seasons, even if you have winter conditions. These tires perform well both in summer and winter conditions and can easily be used all year round. This makes these tires perfect for areas where you might need a full season of winter tires, but you still need to drive in winter conditions. Here you have the safety and the flexibility of always having tires that are safe to drive with. You also have the convenience of being able to use only one set of tires for the whole year and can skip tire changes, even though you do need to rotate the tires.
For more information regarding the difference between all-season and winter tires, visit: https://www.nokiantires.com/