What to look for in tyres for winter riding, training and commuting + 11 of the best winter tyres

If you're going to carry on riding through winter, the cold, wet conditions are best handled with heavier, grippier and more puncture-resistant tyres than your summer rubber. Fortunately there are plenty of winter-specific tyres out there.

You'll get more punctures in the winter thanks to the rain. It washes glass, flints and debris into the road, where they lie in wait for an unsuspecting cyclist to trundle over. Water also makes a good cutting lubricant, helping anything sharp cut into your tyres. There's nothing much worse than fixing a puncture when it's lashing down with rain, apart from waiting for a friend to fix a puncture in the rain, that is.

The first aim of winter tyres is puncture resistance. Most manufacturers offer such tyres so there's really no reason not to switch and make your winter riding low-fuss. Such tyres usually have some sort of puncture prevention layer under the tread and beefier sidewalls to stop sharp objects finding a way through.

There are downsides, and weight is usually one of them, but I'll take extra puncture protection over a bit more weight any day. Tyre makers usually use thicker, firmer rubber for the tread and stiffer sidewalls, which affect the rolling resistance of the tyre and ride comfort.

The sidewall contributes heavily towards the feel of the tyre and so a heavier/thicker sidewall will make for a harsher feel. That's where increasing the width of the tyre can make a difference. All other things being equal, a wider tyre has lower rolling resistance, so going fatter can compensate for the increased resistance of a stiffer tyres. You can run fat tyres at lower pressures too, regaining the comfort lost by the change to stiffer sidewalls.

Look for a  tyre with a thick reinforced breaker belt sandwiched between the rubber tread and carcass. This will prevent flints and glass from puncturing the delicate inner tube. The sidewall too can often be reinforced to preview the potholes and large bits of debris ripping through. Lastly, grip is another important consideration. The rubber compound dictates the level of grip for the most part, though if you're riding rough surfaces there's some evidence that a light file tread is better than a slick tyre.

Pressure is important, and especially so in the winter when the roads are most likely to be wet. As a general rule, the wetter it is, the lower the pressure you want to run your tyres at. While it might be fine to ride tyres inflated to 120psi during the summer when the roads are dry, it's a good idea to go a little lower the wetter it is. It's not unknown to go as low as 80-90psi. Many of the tyres below are 25mm wide or fatter and you have to take into account the extra tyre volume when setting the tyre pressure.

Regular cleaning goes without saying, and when you're cleaning your bike pay particular attention to the tyres. Glass and flints can get lodged in there and it's a good idea to remove them. A top tip is to fill the now vacant hole with a little super glue to plug it.

Clement Strada LLG — £22.39

Clement Strada LLG tyres

The Clement Strada LLGs are good, all-round 28mm winter training tyres. They're quick, comfortable and grip well at a competitive price. They roll smoothly too, though the 60 tpi versions we tested aren't quite as smooth as the same tyre in a 120 tpi casing, but they've proven hard-wearing.

Read our review of the Clement Strada LLG

Panaracer Gravel King — £23.99

Fast-rolling and capable of tackling bad road conditions and even venturing away from the tarmac, Panaracer's new Gravel King tyres are a really good option for the winter with rugged durability and great traction.

Read our review of the Panaracer Gravel King
Find a Panaracer dealer

Specialized All Condition Armadillo — £30

The Specialized All Condition Armadillo features a Kevlar layer sandwiched inside the tyre and stretches from bead to bead. It goes a long way to prevent sharp objects from penetrating the tyre carcass and deflating the delicate inner tube. This tyre uses a wire bead which does put the weight up, the 23mm is 375g. 25 and 28mm widths are also available.

Find a Specialized dealer

Schwalbe Marathon Plus — £23.37



Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres are essentially heavy duty, ultra reliable commu-touring tyres that inspire unprecedented confidence without feeling sluggish or barge-like, as the 970g weight for a pair would imply.

Read our review of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres
Find a Schwalbe dealer

Schwalbe Durano S w/RaceGuard — £26.24



Schwable have many options and and the Durano S RaceGuard Tyres offer really good durability with plenty of grip in all conditions.  The grip is good in both dry and wet conditions so would prove a useful addition to any bike during mixed conditions of a typical British winter.

Read our review of the Schwalbe Durano S w/RaceGuard

Panaracer Race D Evo 2 — £34.99

Panaracer Race D Evo 2



Panaracer's Race Type D is a relatively light tyre that still provides good puncture protection and excellent grip, making it ideal for winter training. The 'D' in Race Type D stands for 'Duro' or 'durable', thanks to three key features. The first is dual compound 'Evo 2' rubber which is harder on centre of the tread (the bit in contact with the road when you're vertical) and softer on the edges (the bit in contact when you're cornering). The softer rubber provides more grip when you need it. The second feature is a reinforced casing to help prevent punctures, and the third is a protective belt under the tread to provide additional protection.

Put all that with an advertised weight of 257g for the 26mm version (pretty much confirmed by the road.cc scales at 260g), and it add up to a tyre that's well suited for faster rides on bad roads in bad weather.

Read our review of the Panaracer Race D Evo 2
Find a Panaracer dealer

Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyres — £34.99

Despite a puncture-resisting later, the Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyres roll quickly and gip securely in all conditions. The tread on the sidewall gives sufficient grip in the corners and the hard case has proven more than capable of dealing with the variety of grit washed onto the roads.

Read our review of the Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite
Find a Bontrager dealer

Michelin Pro4 Endurance — £23.99



Michelin Pro4 Endurance

Twelve months of racing, training and commuting — that's the ultimate test of the Michelin Pro4 Endurance tyre, designed with longevity and puncture resistance in mind.

Michelin's Pro4 tyres are now available in six guises, Service Course, Comp, Comp Limited, Grip, Tubular and Endurance. This is the tyre intended for going the distance and lasting a long time. And that's exactly what it does, being impressively puncture-resistant into the bargain. To round out the goodness, Michelin has just introduced a 28mm version alongside the 23mm and 25mm carcasses.

Read our review of the Michelin Pro4 Endurance

Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyres — £25.25

The Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyres bill themselves, as suggested in the name, as extreme weather tyres - so perfect then, for three seasons of UK riding.

Read our review of the Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme
Find a Vredestein dealer

Vittoria Open Pave CG — £31.49

Vittoria Open Pave CG

It's an expensive choice but many swear by the venerable Open Pave CG for riding through the winter. It's an exceptionally good tyre and has been a favourite for pro cyclists in races like Paris-Roubaix, where its puncture resistance and superior grip comes into its own. Its distinctive green stripe may not be to everyone’s liking but the 240g weight for a 25mm tyre is on a par with the lightest here.

Read our review of the Vittoria Open Pave CG
Find a Vittoria dealer

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season — £31.99

A lighter option is the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season. A tough Duraskin mesh and two Vectran anti-puncture layers beneath the tread make this a good choice. And at 220g it's a good weight, for the rider wanting a fast winter tyre. Conti's max grip silica rubber compound provides a good level of grip. A good choice for winter and one that can be used in spring and autumn too. If you desire even more protection, the Gator Hardshell is a good option, with a third layer of Polyamide in the sidewalls.

Find a Continental dealer

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.


ribena [179 posts] 9 months ago

I've been looking at Schwalbe Marathons and i'm not sure the weight of those Marathon Plus's is correct, they start at 600g EACH for the 25c and up to 960g each for the 38c (1.92kg the pair) http://www.schwalbe.com/gb/tour-reader/marathon-plus.html

Standard Marathon is a lot lighter.

watlina [51 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

If you're looking for a commuter tyre I can highly recommend the Marathon Plus. Yes, it's heavy and it rides like lead but they really are pretty much puncture proof.

About half my commute is down glass strewn shared use cycleways. I got completely fed up with regular punctures with Conti's (great tyres just not punture resistant enough). I've now run the Plus's for the last two years without a single punture and I've inadvertantly run over piles of broken glass.

I run the 28C on my Marin Hybrid


bristol2brisbane [6 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I cycled 10,000 miles on Marathons plus, with out a single puncture!!

34285011 [20 posts] 9 months ago

26*1.35 Marathon Pluses fitted on my old Dawes hack and they've been on there for around 4 years and do around 30 miles per week, I make that about 6000 miles give or take. They were a pig to fit, but all I do is check the pressures and remove any foreign objects from the tread weekly and that's it. Tread's getting thin and cut up, but they have been excellent. Another bonus is the reflective sidewalls, a bit of added visibility in the dark. yes

Saint Mikie 41 [57 posts] 9 months ago

I swear by the Specialized all condition armadillo. Have them fitted to my winter bike and summer as well and to be honest I don't notice the weight. I generally get about 3000 miles out of set before they start to go off.

bumble [16 posts] 9 months ago

Marathons on my commuter, to deal with all the broken glass (what is it with people?), effectively rendering it harmless. 3 years, 100km per week, zero punctures. I use a standard marathon on the front, and a plus on the rear - where a standard marathon was puncturing once a month,  usually in the rain.

Durano on my weekend bike, a durano plus on the rear during winter (when it's likely to be wet - which lubricates any cuts)


Duncann [618 posts] 9 months ago

+1 for Marathon Plus. Durano Plus are pretty good too, although not as tough (or heavy, admittedly)

bendertherobot [1106 posts] 9 months ago

You appear to have omitted from your list "whatever is on offer at Planet X."

So, for me, Hyper Voyager 37c in wet conditions and Marathon Winter Studs in Icy ones.

Gus T [261 posts] 9 months ago

I'm another +1 for Marathon Plus, have them on my winter commuter & on my tourer. Only had to replace 1 through tyre damage & that was because of a piece of thin sharp edged metal stuck in the tarmac which acted like a knife blade & cut straight through the tyre, still managed to get another 5 miles to a LBS thanks to a Slime filled inner tube.

madeupname [3 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Does the author know that Vittoria seems to have discontinued the Open Pave... (My favourite sporting winter tyre)

Marathon plus great for commuting, and makes switching back to race wheels a real pleasure when you shed so much weight!

Duncann [618 posts] 9 months ago
madeupname wrote:

Marathon plus great for commuting, and makes switching back to race wheels a real pleasure when you shed so much weight!

Yes, who needs specific winter training when your commuter is a tank!

Richardip7 [4 posts] 9 months ago

Very happy with the Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyres i have fitted to my winter/commuter bike. I've had a punture on both front and back but it seemed to be general tube damage as a result of my shoddy fitting skills as there was no cuts in the tyres and no specific cut in the tube. 

Rustykwak [3 posts] 8 months ago

I must say I bought a pair of Vittoria Open Pave CG 25mm during the black friday sales and have been very impressed with them in all conditions! 

monkeyhumanoid [10 posts] 7 months ago

Open Pave still being sold on Amazon http://preview.tinyurl.com/openpave 


I have had 2 sets and love them, they are very grippy in the wet, feel fast and have good pumcture resistance. I also like having the green stripe on my tyres  1