Sumitomo Ice Edge Review [2021]: Are These Tires Worth Buying?

Sumitomo Ice Edge Review [2021]: Are These Tires Worth Buying?

Our Sumitomo Ice Edge review is meant to put the Ice Edge winter tires to the test. It will seek to gauge how well the winter tires live up to the hype and reputation they have so far gathered.

It will also sample real and honest online reviews from those who have actually taken the tires for a spin. Plus, it will contrast the Ice Edge against alternative winter tires to give you options, in case the Ice Edge fails to tick the boxes you have in mind.

The review will finally culminate in a final verdict that nicely wraps up the pros, cons, FAQs, and all the main features together.

Ideal for Slippery and Slush Conditions
Sumitomo Ice Edge Studable-Winter Radial Tire | Amazon
$114.96

Certified with the RMA 3PMSF symbol for severe snow performance, the versatile Ice Edge has been specially engineered to meet the needs of users in a variety of winter driving environments. 

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06/05/2021 04:28 pm GMT

Sumitomo Ice Edge – Main Features

Based on Sumitomo’s most recent and advanced technology, the Ice Edge packs all the qualities one can expect of a winter tire. The Ice Edge is designed for the harshest winter conditions, is studdable, combines superior stability, superb handling, solid traction, and enhanced bite and grip even in the coldest weather.

With Sumitomo’s Ice Edge, you have an edge in winter’s worst slush and hardpack at affordable pricing. Here are the main features explained;

Soft Silica for enhanced grip on Ice and Snow

Sumitomo Ice Edge

True, there are all-season tires (see some all-season tires), but seldom are they a match for slush, snow, and wet conditions. This is because in such weather, slipping and sliding make it exhaustively difficult to handle your vehicle smoothly (here is a way out with our winter/snow tires). That is until you get the Ice Edge advantage.

Ice Edge is designed so that the tires can still guarantee solid traction, optimal performance, and excellent handling not only in snowy, icy, slushy but also in cold weather. This will boost your confidence as the tread bites accurately and firmly against such weather. This is made possible by the soft silica material they are made of(here is more about winter snow tires).

To maintain their elasticity even in temperatures below 7ºC, Ice Edge tires contain a natural rubber called silica. This soft rubber has a glass transition temperature that is unmatched by those used in other winter tires.

Glass transition temperatures refer to temperatures where long-chained rubbers, commonly known as polymers, with an example being tires, transition from supple to brittle.

Because of these extremely low transition temperatures, Ice Edge tires will remain flexible, have better road contact, have less snow and ice hitchhiking, and have more solid traction.

This significantly reduces the time taken by vehicles to decelerate to zero speed, increase bite and grip, accumulate less ice, and keep you safer in such slippery weather.

Wide and serrated tread channels

Traction in slippery and wet roads is influenced by a mild of factors that include the tire’s surface area in contact with the road, tread pattern, tire pressure, and aspect ratio.

As temperatures drop outside, so do the air temperatures of the air inside the tire, making the air compressed, reducing your tire pressure. For surface area, the larger the surface area, the better the grip and traction. And now, to achieve this larger surface area, tread depth and pattern come in.

To make the surface area larger, Ice Edge has extensively serrated tread channels. This design encourages maximum packing of dry ice into the tread channels.

Ideal for Slippery and Slush Conditions
Sumitomo Ice Edge Studable-Winter Radial Tire | Amazon
$114.96

Certified with the RMA 3PMSF symbol for severe snow performance, the versatile Ice Edge has been specially engineered to meet the needs of users in a variety of winter driving environments. 

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
06/05/2021 04:28 pm GMT

The dry ice will improve snow-on-snow friction, making for a better grip and traction based on cohesion forces. Pair this with the soft silica material, and it will allow for decreased pressure which further enhances the grip and traction for the tire.

Along the tread channels are deep sipes that toss out water, suck up slush and snow, press it against the ice and tire tread. Continuously crushing it as the supple rubber tire flexes and breaking them into tiny, easy-to-stumble pieces. The result is crisp steering, superb cornering, excellent braking, and a great sense of safety and security.

For the pattern, the Sumitomo Edge features a triangular center tread block. Like the serrated treads, this increases tread contact with the winter roads for superior handling and better stability.

Hard base compound for improved stud retention and handling stability

For winter tires, the game is always about bettering traction. For Sumitomo Ice Edge, the best way to enhance traction is the inclusion of studs.

Studs are tiny steel metal protrusions that are attached to the base of the tire. These studs plow into the ice, increasing grip and traction. They are designed to allow the tire to plow into the ice or snow but still roll over, allowing for either forward or backward movement.

With metal studs, however, another challenge of mechanical injury to the rubber tire arises.

This is why Ice Edge tires feature a hard compound base to be able to provide a base firm enough for attachment, but tough enough to withstand and resist their mechanical damage.

The one advantage to Ice Edge with regard to studs is that they come with an out-of-box capability.

Reinforced twin steel belts for durability

Etrto

Owing to the nature of weather they best function in, winter tires have a tire load index that is so different from your daily commute tire load index. This rating is set or defined by tire manufacturing organizations such as ETRTO.

Tire reinforcement simply means that the tire is optimized to be able to withstand more pressure as compared to other standard version tires. And this is exactly what winter tires need.

As earlier noted, in winter, temperature drops result in a significant decline in air volume and pressure, meaning that a normally inflated tire may look deflated.

That is why Sumitomo Ice Edge features twin steel belts that can withstand more air pressure for the tires. This makes it possible for them to have more air volume and pressure at lower temperatures.

Other than this, the reinforced steel makes the tires more durable for they have enhanced capabilities to withstand mechanical damage, which is why Sumitomo touts its Ice Edge rides as long-lasting.

On the flip side, the reinforcement makes them produce much more noise than other standard tires that are not reinforced.

Full-width nylon overlay to maintain structural integrity.

Under extreme temperatures, the reinforced double steel belts tend to detach from the rest of the tire carcass. This often begins from the outside and steadily progresses to the inside. This is referred to as detachment and it can, in the least of words, turn tragic.

This is because the vehicle after the detachment loses control and can rollover multiple times leading to injury or even death.

Sumitomo Ice Edge uses a full-width nylon overlay – to minimize such unfortunate occurrences – that circumferentially wraps over the reinforced steel belts. This significantly prevents chances of the steel belts detaching or separating(skip to how to assess your tire’s condition) from each other even in winter conditions.

Solid Bead Apex to Keep sidewall stiff and Sturdy

The tire sidewall has often been optimized to either resist puncture, cuts, or increased ply to make it more durable. On this sidewall is yet another significant part called bead apex.

The bead apex, also called bead filler, is made up of a special hardened rubber compound extending to cover up the entire sidewall area. This makes the sidewall stiff, enhancing better handling.

To better this, Sumitomo Ice edge makes the bead apex solid, doubling its ability to make the lower sidewall stiff and able to bear heavy loads.

3D Sipe Technology

Mechanic

The one challenge tires face in winter is slippery conditions. And this is why Ice Edge uses a unique 3D technology to guarantee crisp steering and confident mobility as your SUV, truck, or any other vehicle drives through snow.

The 3D sipe technology enables the tire to have solid traction and an enhanced bite into snow. This makes the tires have a firmer grip on slush or hardpack-filled winter roads. The plus point is, the grip does not deteriorate with dropping temperatures.

Hydroplaning Resistance

If you’ve driven through wet terrains, you know that panic that sets in when your vehicle fails to respond to any inputs given, be it brake, decelerate, or even accelerate. The severe loss of gripping capabilities that renders the drive hazardous for both the driver and vehicle is what is called hydroplaning/aquaplaning.

But with Sumitomo Ice Edge tires, hydroplaning is a non-issue. This is because it comes with a superior hydroplaning resistance feature which is courtesy of its distinctive serrated tread compound.

For assurance, Sumitomo sought and received this resistance technology’s approval as safe and at par with the US Tire Manufacturers Association standards.

Sumitomo Ice Edge Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Solid traction in snowy roads.
  • Allows for crisp and confident handling.
  • Has strong aquaplaning resistance.
  • Has an excellent grip in very low temperatures.
  • Has a comfortable ride on bumpy surfaces.
  • Affordable.
  • Bears many certifications which improves its value (USTMA, ETRTO & 3PMSF)
  • Free lifetime replacement for workmanship and material defects

Cons

  • Poor performance on dry roads.
  • It wears faster as compared to other tires.
  • They slightly elevate vehicles by a few inches.
  • Noisy on the highway.

Reviews

The majority of those who have had an experience on these tires have nothing but praise. They note that the tires performed above expectations on snow, slush, and ice. They further note that they felt safer and secure with these tires as they have solid traction, especially when braking and cornering.

For handling, they noted that the tires provide for crisp and firm handling that is responsive in both wet and dry weather. Plus, the tread life is worth the price they retail for.

Those who felt that they received the short end of the stick complained that the tires were particularly noisy on dry roads, had poor performance on highways, and wore way faster than most tires.

Alternatives to Sumitomo Ice Edge Tires

Bridgestone Blizzak WS 80

Blizzak WS80

Blizzak WS 80 is the newest product from Bridgestone. The company has been in tire production for decades now. The Blizzak WS 80, just like the Ice Edge, is optimized to provide solid traction in slushy, snowy, and icy weather. But unlike the Ice Edge, it features different cutting-edge technology, optimization, and of course, retails at a slightly higher price.

Unlike its studded counterpart, Blizzak Ws 80 is studless. Despite the absence of studs, it still does not lack on matters traction as it is designed to weather the slushy, icy, and snowy covered winter roads.

To compensate for the absence of studs, Blizzak features a newly developed Multicell compound that enhances traction in two ways. The numerous tiny tubes and cells draw in water forming under the point of contact between the tire and the road by capillarity. This temporarily removes the water, reduces aquaplaning chances, and provides better traction between the tire and the road.

Other than capillarity, the tubes and cells are coated with a special hydrophilic (has a high affinity for water) material, making them draw in more water and faster than the previous tubes and cells.

Great Budget Alternative
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Tire | Amazon
$91.88

Optimized construction new cavity shape distributes contact pressure uniformly across the entire footprint area for even wear and dry, ice and snow performance.

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06/05/2021 09:18 am GMT

The second way comes in the name of embedded microscopic-like studs. Rather than use studs, Blizzak WS 80 has embedded stud-like microscopic bite particles that continuously plow into the hardpack, snow, or even ice providing solid traction.

Blizzak WS 80 uses a combination of the Multicell compound and Nano Pro-tech to keep the tires pliable and supple for better traction. And just like the soft Silica in Ice Edge, the technology prevents the Bridgestone tire from getting brittle and cracking even in low transition temperatures.

To make the tire durable, Blizzak uses an optimized new cavity shape. This ensures that the pressure exerted by the vehicle’s weight is evenly distributed across all contact points of the tire footprint, leading to uniform wear across all weather conditions.

It also has serious tread, which is courtesy of the 3D zigzag sipes that allow the vehicle, using the bite particles, to achieve solid traction useful in cornering, braking, and stability on winter roads. You can get the Bridgestone Blizzak WS 80 here to see how well they match the features above.

See how Blizzak WS80 compares to WS90.

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Good Year Ultra Grip

If you drive sedans, crossovers, minivans, and carrying coupes in winter-prone areas, then you must have come across Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT. If not, worry not, for we have gathered enough about them to guide you to make that definitive decision before fall.

To start or stop in slush or ice is always a challenge, especially for non-winter tires (see where to buy tires). To counter this inability, Ultra Grip Ice WRT features two-dimensional blades in the center. These blades effortlessly cut into the ice, ensuring that your vehicle can start or stop smoothly and efficiently.

It also features a special winter grip compound that is embedded into the tread to enhance traction on slush, hardpack, and ice-covered roads.

Unlike the studded Ice Edge, or non-studded Blizzak WS 80, Ultra Grip Ice WRT comes optimized to be fitted with optional metal studs. This makes them have enhanced winter traction that can be regulated in different ice conditions. That is, it can be fitted in heavy ice and be taken out in light ice (check out other Goodyear tire models).

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT Winter Radial Tire | Discount Tire
$103.04

The actual Tread Pattern for your specific tire may vary slightly from the displayed images based on the size and/or width of the actual tire ordered.

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On the point of contact between the tire and the ice surface is always a thin water film. This film makes it impossible for vehicles to respond to inputs (hydroplaning).

To constantly channel out this water, Ultra Grip Ice WRT has an ultra wet traction applied to its tread pattern. This resulting pattern draws and channels the water and slush from beneath the tire, allowing for better grip and traction.

The Ultra Grip Ice WRT also features a Rim protector and a 3D TreadLock technology which comes in handy in cornering stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why are studs on Sumitomo Ice Edge illegal in some states?

Answer: This is because the studs have created considerable damage on roads with no ice.

Question: Does Sumitomo Ice Edge have a studless option?

Answer: No. Sumitomo has no studless tire option. However, you can check out our winter tires or all-season tires for some studless winter tires.

Question: Are Sumitomo Ice Edge good tires?

Answer: For the purpose, they are meant for (winter conditions), yes they are good tires. However, their performance on conditions, other than what they were meant for is wanting.

Final Thoughts; Do Sumitomo Ice Edge Tires Deliver?

Ideal for Slippery and Slush Conditions
Sumitomo Ice Edge Studable-Winter Radial Tire | Amazon
$114.96

Certified with the RMA 3PMSF symbol for severe snow performance, the versatile Ice Edge has been specially engineered to meet the needs of users in a variety of winter driving environments. 

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
06/05/2021 04:28 pm GMT
 

The link between the road and car is through tires. But for this link to be of significance, the tires must have solid traction with the road for proper stability and control (skip to different types of tires).

However, with slush, snow, and slippery roads, the scales tip to more than just grip and traction. It instead leans to maintaining flexibility, channeling water from beneath the tire, and preventing hydroplaning. One such tire that is designed to deal with such slippery and slush conditions is Sumitomo Ice Edge.

Ice Edge is specially designed to prevent hydroplaning and channel water from beneath the tire to provide a solid traction surface. Has studs to plow into ice, allowing for enhanced grip. Soft Silica to keep it supple and flexible even in low transition temperatures. Full-width nylon overlap for durability and solid bead apex to stiffen the sidewall. And all this is at affordable prices.

The downside to all this is their inability to handle well on dry roads plus their rapid wearing.

Overall, Sumitomo Ice Edge packs enough technology that will last you the miles it promises, give you crisp handling, but the ride may not be that comfortable.

David Borgogni

David has been working with cars for over 10 years and is a freelance writer who specializes in automotive technology. He covers the topics that matter most to the consumer. Anything new in the automotive industry? David will likely be able to tell you about it.

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