What Are Snow Socks for Tires?

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What on earth are snow socks for tires? We’re glad you asked. Snow socks are highly durable textile products that fit over your car tires to provide extra traction on slippery roads. They take some effort to install, but you’ll be glad you have them in case of a winter emergency.
Winter driving can be tense at the best of times. Snow tires or all-season tires are a good strategy, but sometimes you need a little extra traction. This is where extra accessories for your tires come in.
Before winter hits, make sure you’re happy with your car insurance coverage. Let Jerry help you find a great policy at a great price so you’re prepared for the unexpected this season.
Snow socks and chains are two products intended for short-term use at slow speeds. But which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

About snow socks for tires

Snow socks are an aftermarket textile product that helps provide additional traction on snowy and icy roads. You can expect to pay between $70 and $150 for a pair (and two is plenty unless you have a 4WD vehicle).
As with snow chains, you should not exceed 25 mph while your vehicle is wearing snow socks. They are not intended for prolonged use on highways. Most people keep snow socks in a winter emergency car kit for things like a slippery hill near home.
Most snow socks are designed to work for cars and light pickup trucks, although some brands offer socks for larger vehicles like forklifts. Snow socks are straightforward (if not easy) to install––and they’re machine washable!

How do snow socks work?

Each fibrous thread in a snow sock’s netting contains many smaller fibers. These fibers rub together to create friction, which allows the sock as a whole to achieve traction on the road.
A proper fit is vital to achieving this tight grip. Most snow sock manufacturers offer products built for specific car makes and models as opposed to a few generic sizes.
You install snow socks as a pair for front- or rear-wheel drive vehicles. 4WD vehicles can be outfitted with socks on all four tires.
To put the socks on, you’ll need to roll the tires while pulling the socks over them. It’s nearly impossible to do this alone, and you will definitely get messy.
Snow socks work by creating traction on a moisture-covered road. In contrast, snow chains work by compressing and penetrating the snow or ice to connect the vehicle directly to the road. Note that some—but not all—snow socks are compatible with studded tires.
Key Takeaway Snow socks are durable textile socks for your car’s tires. They can help provide extra traction on dangerous roads.
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Snow socks vs. snow tires vs. chains

Snow socks aren’t the best choice for every winter situation. Chains might be better for heavy snow or crossing a mountain pass, for example.
Let’s consider some key differences between snow socks, tires, and chains:
ItemCostEase of useEffectiveness
Snow socks$$DifficultFairly effective
Winter tires$$$Very easyModerately effective
Chains$ModerateVery effective
Chains are considered the most effective and durable solution for dangerous winter roads. They can be used on dry surfaces for short distances, but this usage can cause significant damage to your wheels. You also should not leave chains on for too long, as they can corrode.
Snow socks are usually more compatible with safety systems like ABS than chains, especially in vehicles that have narrow wheel wells.
Winter tires are the best everyday solution to wet roads, but they won’t provide the high traction snow socks lend for escaping icy slopes.
Overall, snow socks add extra grip that makes winter navigation easier. The general consensus among drivers is that snow socks are good for an emergency kit if you find yourself in a tough spot, like a slippery hill.
Pro tip Snow socks are not acceptable substitutes for snow chains under certain state laws. Conversely, in places where snow chains are prohibited, snow socks (non-metal) are usually accepted. Do your research ahead of time to avoid fines.

Types of snow socks

Michelin Easy Grip

Michelin Easy Grip product image.
Michelin Easy Grip
Price: $101 for a pair
From the trusted Michelin brand, these snow socks offer extra traction.
ProsCons
Reflective tire coveringTakes practice to install correctly
Best on the marketCostly
It’s no fun to kneel in the slush to install snow socks, but Michelin’s Easy Grip set is worth the effort. Little metal clips on the surface of the netting provide extra traction. Reflectors over the hubcap increase your car’s visibility in hazardous conditions.
This product comes with a handy carrying case and a pair of protective gloves, too.
For best results, be sure to peruse Michelin’s selection for the snow socks that will fit your tire size. You can find the tire size on the sidewall.

ISSE

ISSE product image.
ISSE snow socks
Price: $99 for a pair
One of the top three snow sock products on the market, ISSE improves traction in snowy conditions.
ProsCons
More affordable price pointTricky to install with cold fingers
These vibrant red ISSE snow socks are perfect for helping you escape tight situations. While it’s a bit trickier to install than the Michelin Easy Grip, this product faithfully increases your traction on slippery roads.
This model comes with two socks, a pair of gloves, and brings you peace of mind. Studies show that snow socks like ISSE enhance your grip far more than snow tires alone. Be careful to select the right size; otherwise, your snow socks may not work at all.

AutoSock

AutoSock product image.
AutoSock
Price: $220 for a pair
Pricier than its competitors but a top performer, the AutoSock can help you tackle tough roads.
ProsCons
Reflectors for improved visibilityExpensive
Minimal road noiseInstallation can be unpleasant
It bears repeating that installing snow tires isn’t the most pleasant experience. For that reason, the best snow socks you can find will offer the best results, not the easiest installation process.
AutoSock socks are made with the highly reflective material of Michelin’s snow socks and the tough fabric-like material of ISSE.
Studies show that a pair of AutoSocks definitively improves traction in snowy conditions. Plus, they’re machine washable (like the other products on this list) for easy maintenance once you safely arrive home.
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FAQs about snow socks and safe winter driving

Do snow socks work as well as chains?

It depends on the situation.
Chains do a better job at compacting snow and ice, which allows tires to connect directly with the road surface. Snow socks can help you get extra traction on the snow itself if chains aren’t an option where you live.
Snow socks also allow you to drive without risking damage to your tires, which may happen with prolonged snow chain use.

How fast can you drive with snow socks?

You should not exceed 25 mph with snow socks. Manufacturer guidelines vary, so be sure to read carefully before getting behind the wheel. Always remove your snow socks once you re-enter safe road conditions.

Car insurance considerations for winter

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