Requirements for meaningful winter environment traction standards continue to increase. The basic definition of, and continued justification for, special design winter tires intended for improved traction on ice and snow covered roads should be dependent on performance standards. State of the art test procedures and test conditions are reviewed for merit and potential improvement. Specific techniques and controls are recommended to limit the excessive variation inherent in most winter environment tire testing. Performance comparisons are made for special design winter tires versus conventional highway tires under several test conditions and test procedures to illustrate areas of performance differences.