Kinesiology tape (sometimes called KT Tape) provides runners with a number of benefits, such as improved recovery times from pain, support for muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments, and a full range of motion coupled with that support.
But not all KT tape is the same. In this article, we cover the best brands and styles bring the best benefits. Our favorite is RockTape’s Original 2-Inch cotton tape. But there are other brands and styles that offer different sizes, levels of adhesion, and flexibility.
So if you want to speed up your recovery times and treat a number of sports related ailments, we have put together a list of the best kinesiology tapes for runners.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
KT Tape Pro
Hampton Adams Premium Kinesiology Tape
Best Overall – Cotton
1. RockTape Original 2-Inch Water-Resistant Kinesiology Tape
RockTape manufactures what we believe to be some of the best kinesiology tape out there. Their 2-inch original gets our vote for the best overall kinesiology tape made out of cotton.
It comes in a 16.4 foot-long continuous roll, as well as pre-cut strips. The Pre-Cut tape provides for easy and fast application, eliminating the need for scissors. Each pre-cut roll has 20 strips, 10 inches long each.
RockTape works by gently pulling up your skin, separating it from muscle and fascia, to increase blood flow and circulation to that part of your body. It’s stretchier, stronger, and stickier than almost all other tapes we tested. It’s popular with medical professionals and athletes alike.
This tape is hypoallergenic and water-resistant. It is composed of 97% Cotton and 3% Nylon, with 180% stretch that allows for a full range of motion. It is free of latex and zinc, and is able to continue sticking for 2 to 7 days.
- Relieves swelling and helps speed recovery
- Helps to increase body position awareness
- Less prep, quick applications with pre-cut strips
- A few users stated that pre-cut tape was not always cut cleanly (with loose strands hanging off)
Best Overall – Synthetic
2. KT Tape Pro
KT Tape Pro relieves pain and offers support when needed. It stays in place for up to seven days, lasting through conditions like hard workouts, showers, hot and cold temps, and even the pool.
The tape is precut for immediate application. The strips have rounded corners that keep them from snagging and the edges from fraying. The twenty 10-inch “I” strips in each roll come to 16.6 feet of 2-inch wide tape.
The tape’s stronger and longer elastic core offers better support for joints, muscles and tendons while providing for a full range of motion and comfort. KT Tape’s synthetic material, while not natural like cotton, is still safe for direct use on skin. It contains no latex or rubber, and is hypoallergenic.
- Can be worn comfortably for 7 days and stays on underwater
- Durable 100% Synthetic fibers
- May be used for alternative emergency medical uses like bracing and splinting.
- May be cut and applied with edema taping method to relieve inflammation and swelling
- More expensive than cotton tape
Top Extra Strong Tape
3. KT Tape Pro Extreme
Sometimes you need the tape to stay on no matter what. If this is the case for you, we recommend KT Tape Pro Extreme, the best extra-strong tape we tested.
This is the strongest sticking tape we found, and is designed for the most extreme and intense conditions. It is made from 100% synthetic fabric for longer elastic core strength.
It can be used by athletes to support joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The tape is drug-free, hypoallergenic, latex-free, lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and approved by the HSA/FSA. It’s also simple to use.
The tape support joints and muscles, and reduces pressure on tissue to help you recover from pain faster. It can be used for shoulder, knee, or back pain, shin splints, and more. The tape comes with reflective print as well as a protective case.
- Extra strength adhesive
- Can be worn comfortably for 4 to 7 days
- Water resistant
- Specially engineered to offer effective support in strenuous activity under extreme conditions
- Can be hard to take off after immediately putting on
Most Water Resistant Tape
4. RockTape Edge
RockTape Edge, another winning entry from RockTape, gets our pick for the most water resistant tape.
This option combines RockTape’s already excellent tape with RockSauce Fire, its proprietary topical pain relief cream, creating a powerful pain relief system.
RockTape Edge can be used for a variety of injuries including shin splints, knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, and back pain.
This adhesive is hypoallergenic and water-resistant. It is composed of 97% Cotton and 3% Nylon, with 180% stretch that allows for a full range of motion. It should stay on for 2 to 7 days.
- Decreases recovery time
- Helps to maintain proper form and posture.
- Moisture Management Technology (the water resistant coating) makes this the most water resistant tape we tested
- Some users complained of rolling edges
5. Hampton Adams Premium Kinesiology Tape
The Premium Kinesiology Tape from Hampton Adams gets our pick for Best Value. For the price of one roll of many competitors’ tape, you get two rolls of Hampton, and they work exceedingly well.
This waterproof and hypoallergenic tape stays on elbows, knees, and feet during the most intense workouts for days on end, without skin irritation. Intended for use by athletes, and for first aid at home, this tape is great for recovery and muscle injuries.
The tape is comfortable to wear and easy to use, treating and preventing common pains and sports related injuries by providing support wherever necessary — including the ankle, Achilles, shin, shoulder, patella, thigh, knee, elbow, foot, and more.
- Trusted by sports medicine doctors and physical therapists
- Sticks for days due to elasticity and resistance to water and sweat
- Easy to use; no residual adhesive after removal
- Safe for use on sensitive skin for medical and therapeutic applications; hypoallergenic and latex free
- 60 day money back guarantee – no questions asked
Best Wide Tape
6. KT Tape Pro Wide
For the best wide kinesiology tape, we recommend KT Tape Pro Wide.
KT Tape Pro Wide relieves pain and offers support to those large muscle groups and to your lower back. It stays in place for four to seven days during any strenuous workouts, lasting through the harshest conditions such as humidity, daily showering, cold, and even the pool.
The tape is precut, making it ready for immediate application. Rounded corners on the strips help prevent snagging and the edges from fraying. The twenty 10-inch strips in each roll come to 16.6 feet of 4-inch wide tape.
It basically the same as KT Tape Pro 2” rolls we recommended earlier, but twice as wide.
- Can be worn comfortably for 4 to 7 days
- Breathable synthetic fibers
- Water resistant pre-cut strips
Top Gentle Removal Tape
7. KT Tape Gentle Tape
If you dread the moment when you have to peel the tape off of your body, try this KT Tape Gentle Tape, which earns our top pick for gentle removal tape.
KT Tape Gentle Tape relieves pain and offers support when needed. It stays in place for up to three days and several lighter workouts, lasting through conditions such as humidity, daily showering, cold, and the pool. But despite its adhesiveness, removing the tape is a gentle, pain-free process, as its adhesive releases from your skin more gently.
The tape is precut, making it ready for immediate application. The strips have rounded corners that keep them from snagging and the edges from fraying. As is standard for pre-cut KT Tape, you get 20 strips, 10 inches each, per box. Each strip is the standard 2 inches wide.
The tape’s elastic core offers support for joints, muscles and tendons while providing for a full range of motion and comfort. The cotton microfibers are latex free, hypoallergenic, and free of natural rubber. Also, the adhesive is gentle on your skin, medical grade, and acrylic based.
- Gentle adhesive allows for easier removal of tape
- Can be comfortably worn for 1 to 3 days
- 100% cotton fibers
- Some users found that the adhesive was so gentle that it didn’t stick properly
Top Fan Cut Tape
8. Kinesio Classic Fan-Cut
Kinesio Classic Fan Cut takes the prize for the best fan-cut tape.
This tape offers the benefits of inflammation and edema taping, saving you valuable time in the process.
Made from KinesioTex, this fan-cut tape helps with the removal of inflammation and edema by directing fluid toward less congested pathways or lymph nodes. The tape can be used for lymphatic flow, circulation, a bruised hamstring, or an ankle or knee sprain.
- Precisely cut, which saves time
- Made of high grade breathable cotton
- Latex-free and hypoallergenic
- Water resistant
- Can be a bit difficult to apply
Best Pre-Cut Patches
9. KT Tape PRO X
Our editors found that KT Tape PRO X offers the best pre-cut patches for targeted relief.
KT Tape PRO X relieves pain and offers support when needed. It stays in place for one to three days during any strenuous workouts, lasting through the harshest conditions such as humidity, daily showering, cold, and the occasional swim.
The tape is pre-cut, making it ready for immediate application. Rounded corners help the fabric not to snag or fray. There are 15 pre-cut X-shaped patches in each case.
The tape offers support for joints, muscles and tendons while providing for a full range of motion and comfort.
- Easy and convenient to apply
- Can be used in place of half-strips of KT TAPE
- Can be used alone for targeted pain relief or together with 10inch strips
- Some users complained that it was not sticky enough
Best for Pain Relief and Injury Recovery
10. KT Tape Recovery Patch
When it comes to the best tape for pain relief, injury recovery, swelling relief, and inflammation relief, KT Tape hits it out of the park with their KT Tape Recovery Patch.
The tape helps with the removal of inflammation and edema by directing fluid toward less congested pathways or lymph nodes. The tape can be used for lymphatic flow, circulation, a bruised hamstring, an ankle or knee sprain, and more.
- Drug-free method for reducing pain
- Breathable design can be worn comfortably for 1 to 3 days
- Easy to apply
- Water resistant
- Some users found it confusing to use
Top Blister Prevention Tape
11. RockTape Blister Kit
If blisters are a problem for you, we recommend this Blister Kit from RockTape.
You can stop hot spots and blisters before they begin, and treat blisters easily on the go with the Blister Kit. The gentle yet strong adhesive protects your skin even in the most trying conditions. It is good for feet, shoulders, hands, and hips.
The sticky and ultra-strong tape is hypoallergenic and water resistant; it is composed of 97% Cotton and 3% Nylon, with 180% stretch that allows for a full range of motion.
- Prevents hot spots and blisters before they start
- Made with RockTape’s winning formula
Best For Kids
12. OK TAPE Kid
If you are looking for the best tape for kids, go for OK TAPE Kid. It is easy to remove and does not harm the skin.
This tape can promote healthy and proper support and posture as kids are growing by improving blood flow, eliminating swelling and pain, promoting lymphatic drainage, and stabilizing muscles and joints. It can also relieve your teen’s growing pains.
The adhesive is specially engineered to prevent damage to delicate or sensitive skin. The tape is water resistant and can last for up to 3 days. The strips are pre-cut and come with kid-friendly designs.
- Gentle on delicate or sensitive skin
- Promotes healthy and proper support and posture as kids are growing
- Kids may not like wearing tape
Top Reusable Elastic Tape
13. Rocktape RockFloss
The best reusable elastic tape is RockFloss from RockTape. This tool will help you to move with less pain. The big bonus is it’s reusable and convenient.
RockFloss unglues stiff and sticky muscles, reduces joint and muscle pain, and improves flexibility by using the science of fascial shearing and compression to unstick your joints and muscles. It can be used on almost all parts of the body, such as shoulders, wrists, knees, hips, elbows, ankles, and more.
- Unglues stiff and sticky muscles
- Reduces joint and muscle pain
- Improves flexibility
- A bit pricier
What is kinesiology tape and how does it work?
It is an elastic tape that provides support and sensory input to an area, while still allowing for a full range of motion.
When was the tape invented?
It was developed in Japan in the 1970s by Kenzo Kase, a chiropractic doctor. However, it has only gained wide popularity among runners in the last few years.
What does kinesiology tape do?
It is designed to decrease recovery time from injuries while also providing support to muscles and joints. Because it’s made from flexible tape, it can be worn 24-hours a day and won’t restrict motion, making it ideal for active recovery.
When should you use kinesiology tape?
Kinesiology tape can be used to help with pain relief and reduction of inflammation. It also works to help injured muscles 24-hours a day by increasing blood flow to the injured area. Finally, the tape can be used for extra support on sore ankles, tendons, and knees.
How long can you wear the tape?
It is designed to stay on for an average of 3-4 days. The adhesive is heat-sensitive, so you (or your doctor/physical therapist) will rub the tape to make sure it adheres to your skin. After 1-2 hours, the tape should be totally adhered to where it was applied.