The best athletic tape

Fitness Gear

Before applying any type of athletic tape, learn and understand the best wrapping and application methods.

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What athletic tape is the best?

Designed to add support and provide protection for your body, athletic tape and wraps are not just for professional athletes. Anyone who routinely exercises, hikes, climbs, participates in recreational sports leagues or is focusing on their training can benefit from athletic tape.

Many athletes prefer using athletic tape rather than a brace because tape doesn’t hinder performance or feel overly bulky. The KT Tape Original Cotton Elastic Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape is ideal for those needing a durable and supportive option.

What to know before you buy athletic tape 

Uses

You can use athletic tape for multiple reasons, and depending on your needs, you may opt for traditional tape or kinesiology tape. Some common uses for athletic tape include joint and muscle support; stabilization of ankles and knees; supporting injured or strained areas; relieving pain; reducing muscle fatigue and overuse; and preventing injury. Check out the full BestReviews athletic tape buying guide for an in-depth look.

Traditional vs. kinesiology tape 

The most traditional forms of athletic tape provide support to injured areas and in some cases, immobilize those areas to promote faster healing. You might apply traditional athletic tape as a preventive measure to high-impact areas or previously injured muscles and joints. 

Many people involved in contact sports utilize a more rigid athletic tape. This style usually is intended for a single use and is discarded and reapplied as needed. It is recommended to use a pre-wrap before application.

Kinesiology tape has superior flexibility and won’t drastically reduce range of motion. While still providing support and pressure to injured or swollen areas, this type of tape, also referred to as KT tape, can improve circulation and help reduce inflammation. You usually apply kinesiology tape directly to the skin and you can wear it for multiple days at a time.

Pre-wrap

Traditional athletic tape is best used in combination with a pre-wrap. Construed from a thin, flexible material, pre-wraps provide barriers between your skin and the tape adhesive, which helps reduce irritation or slippage.

What to look for in quality athletic tape

Materials

Focus on the tape’s material and the adhesive. Traditional tape is primarily made of cotton, while kinesiology tape occasionally is made of water-resistant synthetic blends. If you have allergies or skin sensitivity, there are adhesives that won’t cause an allergic reaction or irritation.

Color and design

The most common color for athletic tape is white. Kinesiology tape has a much wider array of color and design options, which can come in handy when you want to use tape that matches your team’s logo or specific color pattern.

Removal method

If your athletic tape requires scissors to make a precise cut, avoid trying to rip it by hand because it is more likely to fray or come apart that way. Other athletic tape options might feature a pre-cut or an easy-to-rip design. Individual pre-cut designs usually are best used on specific parts of the body because they will provide optimal support to these areas. Choose a method most convenient for you.

How much you can expect to spend on athletic tape

The price of athletic tape doesn’t vary too much, with most options costing between $10-$20.

Athletic tape FAQ

Can you use athletic tape to help prevent blisters?

A. Yes. Anyone susceptible to blisters can apply athletic tape to hot spots to prevent new blisters from forming. Kinesiology tape often is better at preventing blisters than traditional tape due to its direct-to-skin application and flexible design.

Can you leave kinesiology tape on overnight?

A. Yes. KT tape is designed to stay in place up to four or five days on average. This means you can sleep with it on or even shower without it coming undone or losing its adhesive properties.

Should you use athletic tape or a brace?

A. Athletic tape is best used to support minor injuries or for injury prevention, while you would use a brace for chronic or longer-lasting injuries. Braces provide the most support for an injured knee, ankle, wrist etc. but can have a major effect on mobility.

What’s the best athletic tape to buy?

Top athletic tape

KT Tape Original Cotton Elastic Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape

KT Tape Original Cotton Elastic Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape

What you need to know: This flexible and supportive cotton tape is designed for use by all types of athletes.

What you’ll love: Olympic athletes commonly use this brand of athletic tape. Sweat or water won’t affect it. It also has a moisture-wicking design and is available in eight colors.

What you should consider: This athletic tape is more expensive per roll than other options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Top athletic tape for the money

Hampton Adams White Athletic Sports Tape

Hampton Adams White Athletic Sports Tape

What you need to know: Medical trainers and athletes trust this brand, and you can use it in a variety of situations.

What you’ll love: The adhesive doesn’t leave sticky or hard-to-remove residue. It also provides premium wrist and ankle support and you can rip it by hand.

What you should consider: This particular tape may not work as well when used in smaller strips.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Worth checking out

Sparthos Tape Kinesiology Tape

Sparthos Tape Kinesiology Tape

What you need to know: Those looking for specific colors or designs as well as a convenient application guide will appreciate this option.

What you’ll love: Used to reduce overall injury time and hasten recovery, this tape is designed to stay in place even during the hardest workouts or games. If you aren’t pleased with the results, there is a no-risk guarantee.

What you should consider: A few users reported having a skin reaction when using this tape.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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