Which kinesiology tape is best?
Kinesiology tape is used for a variety of reasons. You may have injuries or arthritis you want to treat, or you may want to add support to your body while you’re working out. Kinesiology tape can even help bruises fade faster. And it comes in dozens of colors, so you can showcase your personality while you heal and work out.
The best kinesiology tape is Bear Komplex Athletic Sports Tape. It’s built tough to resist water and sweat, and it’s easy to tear off the piece you need from the roll.
What to know before you buy kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape possible benefits
Kinesiology tape is said to have multiple benefits. Among those claimed for it:
- Pain relief: Kinesiology tape can help to relieve pressure on your joints and muscles, which in turn lowers the pain you feel.
- Inflammation and swelling: By stretching out the area it’s applied to, kinesiology tape can help the fluid in these areas drain faster, so your tissues heal quicker.
- Bruising: As it does for swelling and inflammation, kinesiology tape can help the pooled blood that causes bruising to dissipate more quickly.
- Muscle recovery: Your muscles become sore due to a buildup of lactic acid. Kinesiology tape can help decrease this acid buildup.
- Cramps: A common cause of cramps is insufficient blood circulation, which kinesiology tape can help to improve.
Solid vs. precut
Kinesiology tape comes in rolls that are either one long piece or precut into strips. Precut strips make it much easier for beginners to get a handle on proper application, but can be restrictive for experienced users.
Some solid tapes have cutting guidelines on them to make trimming easier. Others are designed to be easy to tear so you don’t need to cut at all.
What to look for in quality kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape is designed to stretch the skin, muscle and joints, and it accomplishes this with increasingly higher percentages of elasticity. Tapes typically come with 120%-180% elasticity, meaning the tape can stretch up to 120%-180% of its original size.
The higher the elasticity the better, as the tape becomes easier to apply, is less limiting and is more effective. That said, higher elasticities are also more expensive.
Kinesiology tape is made of layers, with the outermost layer the most important — and the most varied. Typically, this layer is cotton or a synthetic material.
- Cotton is popular for its breathability and lightweight, but it can struggle to stay on when exposed to too much moisture.
- Synthetics, such as nylon or polyester, aren’t as breathable as cotton but tend be more water-resistant, so they stay on longer.
How much you can expect to spend on kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape typically costs $10-$75, depending on factors such as the elasticity and size. Basic, small rolls sell for $20 or less, with midrange rolls costing roughly $20-$40. The largest, most elastic rolls cost around $40-$75.
Kinesiology tape FAQ
Has kinesiology tape been scientifically studied?
A. Yes. Most studies, such as those discussed by the National Institutes of Health, come to the same conclusion: that kinesiology tape has minor to little positive effects on the issues it’s designed to treat or manage. However, studies have also suggested that there’s no harm in using kinesiology tape and that its placebo-like effects are potentially helpful.
How long does the adhesive last on kinesiology tape?
A. The adhesive used by most kinesiology tapes is strong — strong enough to stay put for nearly a week, in some cases. In fact, kinesiology tape is frequently worn for several days at a time before being removed. If you plan on wearing it this long, however, make sure it’s water-resistant so it won’t come off from sweat.
Does kinesiology tape cause irritation?
A. It’s possible. Most tapes are made of hypoallergenic materials and adhesives to prevent it, but everyone’s body is different, so you may have a reaction. If you feel any irritation, immediately remove the tape. You should also avoid applying it to damaged skin, including rashes, cuts and scrapes, as it can worsen these areas.
What’s the best kinesiology tape to buy?
Top kinesiology tape
Bear Komplex Athletic Sports Tape
What you need to know: It’s effective and comes at a great price.
What you’ll love: It comes with four or 12 rolls that are 2 inches wide and 14.75 feet long. It absorbs sweat to reduce irritation, even in the midst of the most extreme workouts. Its surface is smooth and nonslip.
What you should consider: A few consumers had problems getting the tape to stay in place. Others had issues with bunching if the tape wasn’t applied tautly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top kinesiology tape for the money
What you need to know: It’s cheap and comes precut for simplicity.
What you’ll love: Each roll includes 20 strips that are 2 inches wide and 10 inches long, plus it’s available in two colors. It’s made of cotton with a touch of spandex to be waterproof, comfortable and effective. It uses a visual application aid to help you apply it perfectly.
What you should consider: A handful of customers reported the tape to leave marks on the skin after it was removed. Others found the adhesive to cause itchiness.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Physix Gear Sport Kinesiology Tape Pro
What you need to know: This tape comes with a guide, making it perfect for those new to kinesiology tape.
What you’ll love: It’s available in 10 colors and comes with one or two rolls that are 2 inches wide and 16 feet long. It’s hypoallergenic and latex-free, plus it’s water- and sweat-resistant. The underside of the tape has grid lines as a cutting guide.
What you should consider: If not applied correctly, it can cause irritation or even blisters. It can be difficult to remove and to cut to the desired length.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.