If you don’t know what you’re looking for, choosing a new set of tires can be daunting. There are enough categories, vehicle ratings, and options to bamboozle even the most DIY-savvy consumers, and it doesn’t get much easier if you talk to your local tire shop. However, much like cars, there are segment standouts that offer best-in-class cost, longevity, and grip. To kick-start the process, we partnered with the rubber experts at Tire Rack to develop a Best Of list for a wide breadth of needs, from daily runners to knobby all-terrains.
(PS): Performance Summer; (PAS): Performance All-Season; (AS): All-Season; (PW): Performance Winter; (W): Winter, (AT): All-Terain; (TD): Track Day; (D): Drag
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (PS)
Derived from Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport line, the Pilot Sport 4S provides warm-weather grip in dry or wet conditions. Variable Contact Patch 3.0 evenly distributes pressure across the contact patch, and the silica-infused center compound reduces braking distance in the wet.
Tire Rack says: The Pilot Sport 4S really impressed our test team. It managed to improve on the performance of its class-leading predecessor in the wet and the dry while also making gains in noise and ride quality for daily comfort.
Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (PS)
Using techniques developed through competition in Formula 1,the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 is designed to deliver excellent dry handling, wet grip, and refinement suitable for drivers of high-end vehicles.
Tire Rack says: Pirelli worked with some of the most prestigious automakers in the world during the development of the PZ4, and it shows in the finished product. Refined on the road, the P Zero PZ4 also has the performance credentials to keep up with the best in the class.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 (PS)
With a high-grip, summer-weather-focused compound and large outboard shoulder, the Firehawk Indy 500 is designed to deliver high-speed cornering and lateral traction. The main circumferential groove uses Pulse Groove Technology to enhance water evacuation, and the advanced compound delivers high levels of wet traction.
Tire Rack says: The Firehawk Indy 500 has found a sweet spot in the market. It has aggressive good looks, responsive handling, and confident traction in dry and wet conditions, all at a value-oriented price.
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (PAS)
Combining predictable handling and high-speed durability with year-round capability, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ uses sunflower oil and Extreme Silica technology in the tread rubber to increase traction at low temperatures and in wet conditions.
Tire Rack says: The Pilot Sport A/S 3+ has been the king of the hill in our Ultra High Performance All-Season category in dry handling and braking since it was released. Better still, it leads the category in our acceleration and braking tests in the snow, as well.
Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS (PAS)
The all-season compound of the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS is molded into a noise-optimized pattern, balancing performance with quiet comfort. The sipes interlock for improved dry-weather handling, and combined with the independent tread blocks, they create the biting edges needed for traction in wet or snowy conditions.
Tire Rack says: Bridgestone kept us waiting for a long time before releasing the Potenza RE980AS, and it was worth the wait. Best-in-category wet traction is the headline, and it can hold its own in the dry, too.
Vredestein Quatrac 5 (AS)
The high-silica tread compound and asymmetric pattern of the Vredestein Quatrac 5 are engineered with a focus on performance in variable conditions. The lateral notches, independent tread blocks, and high-density zigzag sipes help deliver the snow traction needed to earn the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol.
Tire Rack says: Our testers were thrilled with the complete package delivered by the Quatrac 5, and drivers agree, as it tops our consumer ratings.
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 (PW)
The Pilot Alpin PA4 is designed for enthusiasts who might encounter snow-covered roads in their ultra-high-performance cars. The wraparound shoulder enhances handling and lateral grip, and the Helio Compound+ tread rubber remains flexible in low temperatures for better traction in cold conditions.
Tire Rack says: From cold, clear road handling to wet traction and braking to impressive and predictable capabilities in the snow, the Pilot Alpin PA4 is the complete package.
Pirelli Scorpion Winter & Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 (PW)
Designed as seasonal tires suitable for cold weather, freezing road conditions, and ice and snow, the Pirelli Scorpion Winter and Winter Sottozero 3 feature a tread design composed of arrow-shaped center blocks and rounded shoulders to dissipate water and slush.
Tire Rack says: The Winter Sottozero 3 is a standout performer and a favorite of drivers looking to keep their sports cars (and with the Scorpion, crossover SUVs) on the road year-round.
Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 (PW)
The Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 uses a directional tread pattern with wide shoulder blocks for lateral grip on clear, dry, or wet roads. The sweeping grooves help expel slush and water, and the high-density zigzag sipes create biting edges for enhanced traction in slippery conditions.
Tire Rack says: The Blizzak LM001 lives up to its storied namesake. Consumers praise it for crisp steering and responsive handling in the dry or wet, combined with confidence-inspiring traction when the road gets snowy.
Michelin Defender T+H (AS)
The Defender T+H is designed to provide confident traction, long life, and high levels of comfort for drivers of family sedans, coupes, and small crossovers. The asymmetric pattern allows for smooth and quiet operation, and its high-silica tread compound aids grip in wet or snowy conditions.
Tire Rack says: Michelin took an evolutionary approach with the Defender T+H, with a focus on improving upon its predecessor. The result is a satisfying touring tire with enhanced real-world longevity.
Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady (AS)
The WeatherReady soy-based tread compound is molded into an asymmetric pattern designed to provide the traction needed for any weather condition. Sweeping tread grooves evacuate water from the contact patch, and the zigzag sipes create biting edges that provide the snow traction needed to earn the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol.
Tire Rack says: With the Assurance WeatherReady, Goodyear is the first mainstream manufacturer to offer a full line of Grand Touring All-Season tires rated for severe snow service.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 (W)
The WS80 is for drivers who want maximum control in winter’s worst conditions. Zigzag sipes increase the number of biting edges, and the hydrophilic coating absorbs a micron-thin layer of water that improves traction on icy surfaces.
Tire Rack says: The Blizzak WS80 continues the storied tradition of its namesake and is still the go-to for drivers whose primary concern is having the best traction when winter weather is at its worst.
Continental TerrainContact A/T (AT)
TerrainContact A/T tires feature a mild all-terrain tread pattern with large, independent tread blocks for off-road traction, closed shoulders to extend tread life and resist uneven wear, and grooves for grip in snowy conditions.
Tire Rack says: The TerrainContact A/T was designed to excel in the way most on-/off-road all-terrain customers actually use their tires. That means good wet and snow traction, a quiet and comfortable highway ride, and moderate off-road capability.
Michelin X-ice Xi3 (W)
Combining confident grip in deep snow and on ice with predictable cold-weather handling in both dry and wet conditions, the X-Ice Xi3 has a compound that is firm at higher temperatures for wet and dry stability and flexible at lower temperatures for snow and ice traction.
Tire Rack says: With deep snow and ice performance, plus ride, noise, handling, and wet traction akin to an all-season tire, the X-Ice Xi3 delivers all the positives of a top-tier winter tire with very little trade-off.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 (AT)
The aggressive, high-void all-terrain pattern of the All-Terrain T/A KO2 combines off-road durability and traction with on-road handling and noise comfort. Upper shoulder sidewall armor helps resist punctures when off the beaten path, and the serrated shoulder design provides the clawing action required for rough environments.
Tire Rack says: No all-terrain tire conversation is complete without the All-Terrain T/A KO2. This perennial favorite gets rave reviews from consumers for its off-road prowess, longevity, wet performance, and even ride and noise comfort.
Hankook Ventus R-S4 (TD)
Featuring broad, rigid shoulders flanking a continuous center rib, the Ventus R-S4 is designed to deliver motorsport levels of grip in a tire that can be driven daily in warm weather, including track use.
Tire Rack says: Ventus R-S4 has carved out a niche of its own. Although not quite as fast over a single lap as the top extreme-performance summer tires, the R-S4 has proven consistent and heat-tolerant, and it delivers significantly longer wear than those options.
Yokohama ADVAN A052 (TD)
With internal construction focused on precise handling and Yokohama’s motorsport compound to provide extreme grip levels, the ADVAN A052 offers Yokohama’s highest level of DOT-approved performance for the most demanding track-day enthusiasts.
Tire Rack says: Building on the success of the popular ADVAN A048, the ADVAN A052 steps it up a notch. Gone is the old directional pattern, replaced by a modern asymmetric sculpture designed to deliver motorsport-level performance on a dry road.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (TD)
Designed using technology developed in competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the PSC2 provides fast and consistent performance for track-focused drivers. The hardness of the tread rubber in the enormous outboard shoulder is fine-tuned for maximum grip, and the inboard elements are engineered for precision steering.
Toyo Proxes TQ (D)
Developed for enthusiasts looking for top qualifier dragstrip performance from a streetable tire, the Proxes TQ is versatile enough to drive to and from the track yet focused enough to provide the traction that racers demand.
Tire Rack says: If you’re looking for a drag racing tire you can drive to and from the track, the Proxes TQ is a sure thing. Our consumers are happy with the performance, and the attractive price makes it that much better.
Before you finalize your tire order, treat yourself to a new set of wheels to go along with the new rubber. Every wheel you see here is available in various sizes, colors, and widths, so make sure you pick the right one for your needs.
TR Motorsports FF10
Aside from aesthetics, lightweight sport wheels shed rotational mass, usually improving handling and acceleration. This is especially important for light, low-power sports cars like the Mazda Miata and Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, where momentum is more important than tire-shredding torque. Tire Rack’s in-house TR Motorsports line offers the FF10, a lightweight and attractive wheel usable on and off the track. Sizes range from 15 to 17 inches, with four- or five-lug configurations.
OZ Racing Atelier Forged
For the same reasons you don’t put a cheap, chintzy bracelet on a nice watch or drink top-shelf whiskey out of a Styrofoam cup, you don’t scrimp on aftermarket wheels for your high-end sports car or supercar. OZ Racing has been in the big-money business for years and offers a wide portfolio of wheels for big budgets. The Atelier Forged series is one of the sharpest, especially when paired with a centerlock hub.
Sport Edition A8
Trust us: Having separate sets of wheels for different seasons is ideal. Aside from the ease of swapping sets, a dedicated winter wheel keeps your summer rims free from dings, pitting, and rash incurred from crunching through ice, sliding into curbs, and crashing through potholes. When it’s messy out there, the affordable Sport Edition A8 wheels are great cold-weather bashers.
KMC XD Series
Let’s be honest—it’s difficult to find a truck or off-road wheel that isn’t gaudy. KMC’s nearly ubiquitous XD Series has some flashy chrome designs but balances out the bling with some tasteful darker wheels wearing matte black accents for a more subtle appearance. The XD Series isn’t the first choice for desert pre-running, but it will stand up to moderate trail work.
Enkei Classic Compe
When it comes down to style, you just can’t beat the classics. For drivers of compact sports cars, the retrotastic Enkei Compe is as good as it gets, especially for vintage JDM models. Short, fat spokes give the Compe a pseudo-Minilite appearance, similar to what you might see on a period-correct Datsun 240Z or Toyota Celica.