Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 vs Michelin X Ice XI3

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and Michelin X Ice XI3 are both winter tires especially designed to provide a comfortable driving experience in winter conditions including below freezing temperature, icy roads, and snow-packed tracks. WS90 shows optimum traction on paved surfaces by providing a strong grip and fully commanded steer response.

On the other hand, Ice XI3 gives better performance in snow-packed paths due to its better snow evacuation capacity. Find out further details about their tread qualities and pricing in the given sections below.

Comparing Blizzak WS90 with Michelin X Ice XI3

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90


Michelin Ice XI3

WS90 exhibits a unique tread with a continuous crisscross central rib having two wide grooves along its sides, a zigzag siping pattern, and two small disjointed longitudinal grooves formed by traction notches over shoulder blocks. It has narrow grooves, and it’s crisscross central rib is wide and continued circumferentially, making the contact patch of tread higher, therefore, the grip of tread on the surface is firm and better in comparison. Large shoulder lugs with traction notches provide firm steer handling. It has narrow grooves which makes it less capable over snow-covered paths than its competitor, as only a limited snow evacuation is offered by these voids.

Ice XI3 characterizes an aggressive tread having five circumferential and numerous lateral grooves among curved and rectangular lugs, prominent zigzag sipes, and tiny dimples. The presence of a relatively higher number of grooves makes its contact patch lesser, leading to reduced grip on paved tracks. However, traction over wet is improved to some extent due to hydroplaning resistivity provided by wide zigzag sipes, small dimples, and grooves. Shoulders offer minimal handling while turning over the corners as their lugs are comparatively smaller and lack traction notches. A high void ratio due to the increased number of grooves causes better traction as it rolls over snow-covered paths because more space is provided for the evacuation of snow.

Road Grip Comparison

WS90 shows superior ability to grip on road as more surface area of tread is in contact with the road. Its zigzag central rib is continuous circumferentially without any lateral grooves, providing a massive contact patch to hold on strongly over dry paved surfaces.  Stopping from 50-0 mph on the dry road it covers only 89.3 feet. Deeper and wider grooves along with full-depth zigzag sipes account for better grip on wet because water is wiped off efficiently through these slits. On a wet road, it stops from 50-0 mph with a braking distance of 124.20 feet while the braking distance for the icy road is 30.40 feet when stopping from 12-0 mph. Over the surfaces covered with light snow, WS90 loses the competition as narrow grooves have decreased snow evacuation capacity. Stopping from 25-0 mph its braking distance in the snow is 50.70 feet.

Michelin XI3 shows lesser grip on dry paved tracks as an increased number of grooves reduces the surface area of tread in contact with the road. Tread finds it difficult to grip strongly on the dry road due to a minimal contact patch. Its dry braking distance is 94.50 feet when stopping from 50-0 mph. Although sipes, dimples, and voids provide hydroplaning resistivity by removing water from the wet road yet decreased depth of grooves limits its grip on these surfaces below its competitor. Its wet braking distance is 131.50 feet when stopping from 50 to 0 mph and braking distance over ice is 32.20 when stopping from12-0 mph. A high void ratio maximizes snow traction as it provides the effective capacity to throw out snow and slush while moving ahead. Stopping from 25-0 mph its braking distance in the snow is 49.90 feet which are better than its counterpart.

Handling Comparison of the tires

In terms of dry handling, WS90 gives superior performance owing to its large shoulder lugs. Traction notches over lugs further enhance biting capacity to maintain firm traction as the vehicle steers along the corner. It can provide better handling on the wet road due to deep grooves formed by notching patterns and full depth multidirectional sipes over the shoulder lugs to wipe away water and offer good steer response.

Steer handling offered by XI3 over the dry road is lesser than its competitor due to smaller shoulder lugs. The limited contact patch of shoulders cannot maintain traction while turning along the corner. Shallow grooves minimize wet traction, leading to a reduction in steering control while taking turns over wet roads.

Comparison of Hydroplaning Resistance 

Both tires have efficient siping patterns for the removal of slippery liquids, but a higher depth of grooves makes WS90 perform superior in terms of hydroplaning resistance. In comparison, water squirms out quickly through its zigzag sipes and deeper grooves, crisscross texture of the central rib act like an efficient water wiper and further enhance slip resistance over wet and icy surfaces.

Ice XI3 offers satisfactory resistance against hydroplaning as its voids along with wide zigzag sipes and dimples over lugs make removal of slippery liquids, possible. However, its comparatively shallow grooves (there is a difference of 1.5/32’’ in tread depth for the tested size) account for lesser hydroplaning resistivity than its competitor.

Comparison of Rolling Resistance

WS90 faces more rolling resistance in comparison as it has a higher contact patch due to a lower void ratio. As more surface area of tread is in contact with the road, more hysteresis (energy loss) is caused, and more fuel is consumed to roll smoothly over the surface.

Michelin XI3 can rollover the road relatively easily as the contact patch of its tread is reduced due to the higher void ratio and there is less rolling resistance to overcome. As less energy is used for rolling, its fuel average is also better than its competitor.

Comfort and Noise Comparison

Over paved tracks, WS90 is a noisy tire as sound waves find a lot of space for reflection and resonation in its deeper voids, making much noise. However, due to superior traction abilities, it offers standard ride comfort on road.

Ice XI3 produces less noise in comparison as its relatively shallow grooves have less space for resonation of air particles. Thus, it offers quieter and comfortable driving on road.

Durability and tread wear

Blizzak is less durable than its competitor due to two reasons; first being its tread composition and secondly, it wears faster as it faces more rolling resistance due to higher contact patch. The dual-compound structure is employed for the composition of its tread in which the first 55% is NanoPro Tech Multicell compound, offering hydrophilic property and better snow and ice traction, and the remaining 45% is Bridgestone’s standard winter compound. It wears down faster especially after the consumption of Multicell compound and does not come with any mileage warranty from its manufacturer.

Michelin MaxTouch Construction makes XI3 last longer than its competitor. Its strong tread compound wears slowly and lasts many seasons. It is backed by a treadwear warranty up to 60,000 kilometers which makes it stand out in terms of durability among winter tires.


Ice XI3 costs lesser than its competitor and has the benefit of longer, warranted tread life. On the other hand, Blizzak WS 90 comes with better on-road traction but for a higher price.

Quick Summary

  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and Michelin X Ice XI3 are both winter tires.
  • WS90 performs better in terms of traction on dry, wet, and icy roads.
  • Over snow-covered paths, Ice XI3 gives superior performance.
  • Michelin XI3 produces less noise on paved tracks, comparatively.
  • Blizzak WS90 has a lesser tread life in comparison.
  • XI3 is priced lower and comes with the financial benefit of a better fuel average and a mileage warranty.