10 Best Kinesiology Tape Products Reviewed

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Searching for Kinesiology tape also called Muscle tape? Take a look at the best KT-tape of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying it online or in a store.

If you have no idea what Kinesiology Tape is count yourself lucky. The reasons that a runner would become intimately familiar with it are generally not a good ones. Injuries, aches, pains, tendinitis, etc. Elite athletes often wear kinesiology tape, or k-tape, but it’s a easy thing to dismiss if you don’t really know what you’re looking at. So what exactly is it and what is it for?

According to one definition: K-tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. It may seem like a more recent (first becoming truly popular at the 2004 olympics)  phenomenon or practice, but KT taping techniques have been around for over 30 years.

First developed in Japan by Dr. Kenzo Kase back in the 1970’s, the genesis of KT taping came from the goal of extending the treatment of Dr. Kase in between appointments. As a chiropractor (as well as a licensed acupuncturist) he noticed his treatments often helped, but only temporarily. So he developed the tape to extend the benefits of his methods. A great article about the origin of kinesthetic tape, that goes into much greater depth can be found here.

Last Updated: March 15, 2017
By Brian Price:

This buying guide has been updated, offering the most recent top picks from the featured brands.

Beast Tape
  • Beast Tape
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Heat activated adhesive & waterproof material make it great for triathlons
  • Price: See Here
StrengthTape Kinesiology Kit
  • StrengthTape Kinesiology Kit
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stays on for 5-7 days and is water resistant
  • Price: See Here
Vara Kinesiology Tape
  • Vara Kinesiology Tape
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Made of lightweight, breathable high grade cotton
  • Price: See Here

There are quite a few different brands that manufacture Kinesio tape, there is also a variety to the different types of tape. In the following we’ll walk you through some of these nuances and provide our recommendations for 10 of the best types of Kinesiology tape for runners. Sit back and enjoy.

10 Best Kinesiology Tape Products

 

Master of Muscle - Beast Tape

Designed to keep you going longer and at full speed, Beast Tape gets it done by providing adequate recoverability and the reduction of pain. Functionality is even increased when applied appropriately. This option is ideal for those longer distance and triathlon runners, due to the tape's heat activated adhesive and excellent waterproof properties. Runners who are allergic to latex don't have to worry either, this tape is latex free. It really works well for just about any athletic activity, including swimming.

If you're not satisfied, instead of a money back guarantee, the company will actually refund your money and send another roll of tape for free.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Heat activated adhesive stays attached
  • Ideal for injury recovery and pain relief
  • A great choice for triathletes
Cons
  • Like some other products, there were a few suggestions of skin irritation

StrengthTape

Simplicity is in short supply these days. One of the greatest things about the StrengthTape taping kit is that it’s very simple. They sell individualized pre cut kits for specific body parts. So if you know you’ll only use it for knee issues then buy the knee kit, slap it on and be done it with. No cutting, or configuring, no hassle.
Pros
  • Pre cut brace like tape strips specified for a wide range of body parts
  • Strong, extremely durable, can last up to 5 days
  • Includes two applications per package
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Infused with Ion Health Technology
Cons
  • May not be ideal for hardcore sports

YOtape

Designed specifically with the female athlete in mind Yotape is another great variation of k-tape to consider. It’s the first (and perhaps only) k-tape made specifically for women, with its precut strips going on smooth and staying in place. Help keep your blood flowing through circulation points, reduces inflammation, and gives you that tiny bit of support just where you need it. Yotape is a great choice whether you are a world champion athlete or an occasional jogger.
Pros

 

  • Supports motion while reducing muscle pain
  • Pump up your run with bright colors
  • Helpful in preventing injuries
  • Has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee
  • Breathes well and is latex free

 

Cons
  • May not stay on when wet

Vara

Vara
Vara makes the bold claim that its tape lasts up 7 days at a time. While this is longer than many similar products and is debatable situation to situation — one things certain, this is great K-tape. The tape comes without precut splices so how you sculpt it is as you desire. It’s made from high quality cotton and has shown tremendous ability to resist fraying along the edges.
Pros
  • Molds easily to the area where it is being applied
  • Provides pain relief from a wide range of injuries
  • Supports stronger blood flow to the muscles
  • Does well with sweat/water — can be worn in the pool
  • Non Skin irritating & FDA approved
Cons
  • Some of the adhesive may stay on the skin after tape is removed

TheraBand

TheraBand
TheraBands K-tape is another solid choice if you’re looking to add a bit of support to a body part. All K-tape should stick pretty well, but this is precisely where TheraBand excels. Their tape uses Cramer Sports Medicine’s state of the art adhesion to ensure the tape remains in good contact. Beyond that you can expect a high grade durable tape product that is easy to apply and comes to a wide range of styles from subtle all the way to flashy.
Pros

 

  • 100% latex free product
  • Composed of 0% tension off paper
  • Hassle-free dispenser
  • XactStretch Technology, makes application foolproof
  • Very firmly constructed

 

Cons
  • It will stay on through your run, but may not stay stuck all day

RockTape

RockTape
Another staple of the KT market, RockTape is strong, useful, and engineered to perform at the maximum. As the name implies RockTape is heavy duty and designed to function well in a variety of harsh environments. A nice blend of high grade cotton mixed with 6% nylon, RockTape hugs you skin while providing just the right amount of tactile support and fluidity.
Pros
  • Adheres really well to skin
  • Hypoallergenic materials
  • Decent water resistance
  • reduced chance of irritation
Cons
  • Water resistance works well in rain, but may not hold up when swimming

PRO Elastic

PRO Elastic
Popularity doesn’t always indicate quality but in this case we believe that it does. The Pro Elastic KT tape is one of the best selling products of its kind. The synthetic fibers at the core of this tape are performance engineered with a larger elastic center, giving this tape just that little bit extra backbone. Regardless the body part you are targeting this is a great way to give your body support. Top notch K-tape.
Pros

 

  • Allows for neuromuscular feedback
  • Helps muscles and tendons to fire properly
  • Reinforced 100% synthetic fibers makes this tape extra strong and durable, not to mention lightweight
  • Contains 10 pre cut strips, easy application
  • Comes in 10+ color choices

 

Cons
  • Not for sensitive skin

Kindmax Precut Foot Support

Kindmax Precut Foot Support
While we are not doctors capable or providing professional medical advice, we do know that plantar fasciitis can be a serious drag. Kindmax has created a precut set of K-tape specifically for foot issues of this type. Fortifying your feet with a nice layer of neatly precut tape can go a long way toward warding of pain and stiffness. This tape comes in black and beige and when applied gives your feet an eye-catching spiderman look. Unfortunately this is no sensitive skin option with Kindmax, but that doesn’t change the fact their precuts for feet are a great option.
Pros
  • Easy to apply
  • Helps to reduce pain and swelling associated with plantar fasciitis
  • Will stay on for up to 5 days if applied correctly
  • Includes easy to follow guide
Cons
  • Some felt that the tape was too thin for them

ARES

ARES
Comprised of a polymer elastic band wrapped by 97% high quality cotton fibers, Ares KT is an old classic. As such it has many of the hallmarks you’d expect: it’s dependable, elegant and durable. Some key features that differentiates Ares Tape from others is that it is extremely soft on your skin. The back of the tape contains a medical-grade adhesive that has completely hypoallergenic acrylic. There is also no latex or medications in the tape. If your skin is sensitive this is a great choice of tape.
Pros
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-irritating materials
  • Can be worn in the water, great for events like triathlons
  • Adheres to the skin for quite a while
Cons
  • Some adhesive residue may stay on skin when removed

SpiderTech

SpiderTech
A great place to start with KT tape is with one of its simplest forms. SpiderTech precut tape is great for beginners because it’s precut and you don’t really need to know much to get it right. This product is also favored by experienced medical professionals for the simple reason that it saves time not having to splice each piece in a customized way. There are 16 handy shapes included in pre cut strips so you can slap them on any body part you need. For further info see below.
Pros

 

  • Material is made from original Japanese cotton NITTO DENKO
  • Specifically engineered for prevention and relief of tendinitis, runner’s knee (great for runners!)
  • Available with regular or gentle adhesive
  • Shown to improve circulation, stability, balance, especially when the body is in motion
  • Used by medical practitioners and pro athletes
  • Comes in four core colors

 

Cons
  • Will last through a long run, but may not stay on well through water

The tape itself is constructed from 100% elastic/cotton fibers that generally contain no latex. On the surface of the tape there is a wave-like pattern, which is purportedly put there to mimic fingerprints. So what exactly is KT indicated for? What’s its best use? To name a few K-tape is used for: ITBS, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, tennis elbow, knee pain, muscle strains, chronic pain and even menstrual cramps. Results of each individual will of course be different, but a great discussion on its efficiency can be found in our sources below.


The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation of the Best Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape is more than just a sticky roll of stuff you slap on your skin and hope that it helps you perform better. There is a lot of science that goes into the creation and application of kinesiology tape and there are factors that need to be considered before you choose and use this aid to help improve your runs.

There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the kinesiology tapes that made our list. The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the kinesiology tapes that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about kinesiology tape.  Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best kinesiology tapes is explained below.

How easy is this tape to apply?

Not only are there different brands of kinesiology tape, but there are different types of adhesives. These adhesives are an important factor in how easy the tape is to apply in terms of both time and effort. Some tapes required adhesive activation through a heat source while others do not. Most types of kinesio tape require that you shave the area of skin that will be covered by the tape prior to application- this takes extra time. Reading the label of the tape you are purchasing will help you determine what goes into the application of the tape.

How well does the adhesive work?

The purpose of kinesiology tape is for it to stick to your skin and provide relief to muscles and tendons. If it doesn’t stick, what the point of applying it? The effectiveness of the adhesive was an important factor when considering the k-tapes that made our list.

Is this tape pre-cut or available in a roll?

Some k-tapes are sold in roll form, like traditional sports tape or an ACE bandage. Other k-tapes are sold in body area kits and are pre-cut to specific lengths. Both types have their advantages.

A roll of kinesiology tape can be cut to the length needed for any area of your body. The roll helps keep the tape organized and is easy to store and transport.

Pre-cut k-tapes are great for runners with a history of a specific injury, because you know the tape will fit the exact area on which it will be applied. It also saves you the time and hassle of having to cut the tape yourself.

Convenience and versatility were two important factors considered when creating our list of the best kinesiology tapes.

How well does this tape stand up to sweat and water?

Let’s be honest- we sweat alot when we run. And, if you are a triathlete, not only will you sweat, you will also get soaked during the swimming portion of your race or training regimen.

So, if you need to use k-tape to help prevent an injury, it is really important that the tape remains adhered to your body while you sweat or are swimming.

Some k-tapes are strong enough to hold up to sweat. However, not all kinesiology tapes are waterproof, so they won’t stay on your body once submerged in water, like when you swim or crawl through the mud during a Spartan Race. Different types of adhesives have different sticking capabilities, so be sure to read the label to make sure the tape you choose can handle whatever it is that you are going to put it through.

The ability to adhere to skin even when sweaty and/or wet was an important factor when selecting k-tapes for our list.


Other Important Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Kinesiology Tape

There are other details that you should consider when selecting a kinesiology tape to use as an injury and pain prevention measure. The purchase you make should provide you with a kinesiology tape that helps you run at your best, but adheres well and will stand up to the elements you will face during your workout or race.

To help make this decision a little easier, below are some extra features you should consider when shopping for kinesiology tape:

  • Sensitive Skin

You may have sensitive skin if your skin is easily irritated by topical products or environmental factors. Since k-tape uses an adhesive to stick to your skin, it may cause irritation on the skin, but especially so if you have sensitive skin. There is also a greater risk of irritation if you have other skin-related medical conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis. If you are aware of ingredients or products that irritate your skin, make sure you read the labels on available k-tapes prior to making your selection. This will help ensure that the product will not irritate your skin.

  • Allergies

Reading labels of medical products is a very important step in avoiding contact with known allergens. K-tape adhesives vary, so make sure you check what adhesive your specific k-tape uses so you can avoid any topical allergens you might react to.

Another important allergen to look out for is latex. Latex allergies can become very serious very fast, and some k-tapes contain latex as an component. Check the label for latex if you have this allergy.

If you do have a reaction to k-tape that you have applied, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

  • Terrrain/Race Environment

It is important to remember that not all k-tapes are waterproof. If you plan on participating in training or a race that involves submersion in water, make sure you purchase a kinesiology tape that can stand up to being wet.


FAQ

 

Q: What exactly is kinesiology tape?

A: Kinesiology tape, or k-tape, was developed by a Japanese chiropractor and accupunturist named Kenzo Kase. He wanted an alternative to rigid tape that would move naturally with the body to help it heal and maintain full range of motion while also providing support and stability.

K-tape feels very similarly to your skin, and is engineered to move the same way, too. When you apply k-tape, it lifts your skin in a microscopic way, allowing increased blood and lymph flow, which increases circulation. Increased circulation helps to reduce pain. The tape also helps with muscle relaxation and joint stabilization.

 

Q: What is the difference between kinesiology tape and regular sports tape?

A: Well, there are quite a few differences, since there are quite a few different types of athletic tape! For your convenience, here they are, listed and explained:

  • Kinesiology tape (aka k-tape): This ultra-flexible tape adjusts to the movement of your skin and glides with you during physical activity. It is commonly used for both injury management and prevention.
  • Rigid tape: This very stiff tape is most commonly made with a zinc oxide glue adhesive. It is used to reduce joint movement.
  • Under tape: Used to create a layer of protection between rigid tape and your skin.
  • Elastic tape: This very flexible cotton tape moves with your body. Since it is made of cotton, it is very breathable. However, this also means that as it lets moisture out, it also let’s moisture in, so it definitely isn’t waterproof.
  • Felt tape: This tape is used as a barrier between environmental factors and your skin. It does not use an adhesive to stick, but can stick to itself.
  • Cohesive tape/bandages: This type of tape/bandage also does not contain an adhesive because it can stick to itself. It is soft and flexible, and is used to provide support to weak or injured joints and muscles.

 

Q: What is the benefit of using kinesiology tape?

A: K-tape, when applied correctly, has many benefits, including:

  • Increased blood and lymph flow
  • Increased circulation
  • Reduced pain
  • Joint stability
  • Relaxation of the muscles

Q: How do I apply k-tape?

A: To get the best results out of your k-tape, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Clean the area where the tape will be applied. It must be dry, and free of lotions and oils. If you are hairy, shave the area of application, or else the tape will not stick to your skin.
  2. Put the area of application in a stretched position.
  3. Apply the tape to your skin, pressing down 2-inch sections at a time, making sure there is no tension in the ends of the tape.
  4. After applying the tape to your skin, use the palm of your hand to rub the tape vigorously to activate the adhesive.
  5. Wait at least 30 minutes after applying the tape to begin physical activity.

Here is a short video on applying ankle support:

Q: How long does the tape last?

A: Kinesiology tape can stay on the skin for 3-5 days. However, there are factors that can prevent it from adhering well. Keep the following things in mind during and after applying your tape:

  • Shave the area to be taped. If you don’t, the tape won’t stick to your skin.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after applying the tape before you begin training or competition. This allows the tape to become fully activated, and therefore fully adhered, to your skin.
  • Don’t go outside into very cold temperatures immediately after the application of your tape. The cold temperatures and extreme temperature change will keep the adhesive from sticking to your skin.
  • Wait at least one hour after application to get the taped area wet. This includes swimming and showering. If you get the tape wet any sooner than this, it won’t adhere.

Here is a list of sources we used when conducting our research on the best kinesiology tapes:

We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are scholarly or clinical sources, some are information provided by medical and dietary professionals, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in information that is relevant to our topic.

Sources

  1. Julia Kirtland, Let's Go to the Tape, Informational Running Website, May 08, 2012
  2. San Diego Running Institute, Various Brands and Types of Kinesiotape, Running and Medical Website, Dec 16, 2013
  3. Laura E. Marusinec, MD, 9 Signs of Sensitive Skin, Informational Health Website, Dec 02, 2015
  4. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Latex Allergy, University Medical Website,
  5. Jonathan Flynn, How, When, and Why to Use Athletic Tape, Informational Fitness Website, May 21, 2015
  6. Physical Sports First Aid, Six Good Reasons to Use Cohesive Bandage as a Strapping Tape, Informational Health and Fitness Website, Jan 16, 2014
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