It used to be that studded tires were the only good snow tire- good for only the cold season and useless all other months of the year. Advancements in rubberized compounds and technology have changed the industry and made more options available. The two most common winter tires are studded and studless.
Studded tires literally have metal studs embedded into them. These strong pieces of metal are able to cut into snow and ice and provided better traction, especially when driving on non-flat surfaces. Many states only allow studded tires during a few months of the year, including Utah. In the Beehive State, studded tires are permitted between October 15th and March 31st.
During winter, a non-winter tire becomes stiff with cold temperatures and is unable to conform to surfaces and provide traction. A stud-less tires’ tread is designed to continue to mold to the ground, even in below-freezing temperatures. Stud-less winter tires generally have deeper tread, allowing the tire to manage snow and slush dispersion from under the tire. It also allows the tire to provide better snow-on-snow traction by packing it within the tread blocks.
While studded tires are still available almost everywhere, the advancements in tread and rubberized compounds in stud-less winter tires is an excellent option.