What is the difference between a snow tire and a winter tire if there is any difference?

A winter tire works very well in all aspects of winter including ice, snow, slush, rain, and dry. A snow tire is an older design tire (if labeled currently) that is really just optimized for the snow. Usually snow tires are the type that can be studded and then become ice and snow tires but otherwise not so great in dry or in the wet weather.

You will hear people refer to all winter tires as snow tires but this is just leftover from the yesteryear.

Basically, it’s the terminology. What you want is to make sure you HAVE winter tires, or snow tires, when winter conditions arrive.

I believe its the new name for snow tires although snow tires had a very aggresive tread that winter tires don’t. You can’t use winter tires in the summer so you have to buy four winter tires mounted on four wheels and get them swapped each season.

A tire with a M/S designation on the sidewall is a Mud/Snow tire. A tire with the snowflake symbol on the sidewall is a winter tire.

An M/S tire has an agressive tread that is good in mud/snow conditions, but the rubber compound used is sensitive to cold temperatures where they’re not effective on ice. That’s why M/S tires can be run all year round. Because they can also be used in mud.

A winter tire however has the same tread design, but the rubber compound of the tire is such where cold temperatures don’t effect the rubber as much. So not only do they get good traction in snow, but they get better traction on ice over a M/S tire. And these are the tires you cannot run all year round.


Winter tyres are a new technology. They perform much better on ice and even better on snow. Most are now winter tyres, not snow tyres. Most drivers will do much better with winter tyres.

Note “All Season” tyres should be called three season tyres as they perform poorly in winter weather.

There are however some all-season tires that are on par with winter tires in the winter.

I own a great set of Nokian WR G2’s that have the snowflake(winter tire rated) on them and my father the Goodyear Fortera also with snowflake. Both sets have no issue in snow and can be used the rest of the year.