As strength sports have evolved, so has the equipment we use to support the body and enhance performance. One of the many pieces of supportive strength gear that’s evolved with lifting is kinesiology tape. In the last decade, we’ve seen growth of multiple types and brands of kinesiology tapes used for a variety of purposes.

Before kinesiology tape there was cotton tape, which was used to provide support, but also produced some performance limiting factors such as decreased blood flow and mobility. Today, kinesiology is promoted to be used for many purposes including: reduced fatigue, joint support, promotion of blood flow, and enhanced recovery and performance.

There are multiple reasons strength athletes enlist kinesiology tape in their supportive arsenal. One of the best parts of tape is that it’s not limited to one type of athlete. In fact, with so many styles of tape, multiple athletes can benefit from it, if used properly. Below are a few of the major reasons why strength athletes use tape.

Below are our top brand picks for various uses of kinesiology tape, along with in-depth explanations, comparisons, and other options below in the article:

Best Kinesiology Tape Picks

Best Sensitive Tape
Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape
Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape
Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape

A cotton based tape that will last through sweaty work outs, and will be forgiving on the skin when removing.

Best Swimming Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape

A 100% synthetic based tape that is designed to move with the body and provide ample support.

Best Tape for Lifters
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape

This kinesiology tape is designed to last for multiple hours and form fit the skin with its strong adhesive.

Best Tape for Money
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape

This kinesiology tape is designed to last for multiple hours and form fit the skin with its strong adhesive.

Best Knee Tape
FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape
FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape
FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape

A synethic tape that's designed to last for multiple hours of sweaty workouts.

Best CrossFit Tape
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape

A pre-cut kinsiology tape designed to last multiple hours in both wet and dry settings.

Best Foot Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape

A 100% synthetic based tape that is designed to move with the body and provide ample support.


Read further below for even more categories and picks!

Why Kinesiology Tape?

One of the biggest reasons athletes use tape is for joint support. Kinesiology tape is designed to move with the skin, so its adhesive will stick and support the joint in a way that moves with the body, as opposed to against it. Will it completely stabilize the joint? No, but it could be a useful tool for those who experience limitations due to instabilities caused by injury and fatigue.

In terms of recovery, kinesiology tape is often said to promote the flow of both blood and lymphatic fluid (though more research is generally needed in this regard). The tape works to lift and pull the skin in a way that increases the natural flow of both of these around taped areas. After workouts, the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is one of the many keys to recovery.

First, the increased blood flow may help transport oxygen and nutrients to the surrounding taped area. Second, the movement of lymph could help support recovery by moving unwanted fluids and preventing pooling, this can help limit inflammation of the joints/muscles.

StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape Fit
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape Fit

Kinesiology tape may also enhance athletic performance. This point ties in with the above aspects of support and recovery. With an additional layer of support that moves with the body, you may be able to perform longer. This becomes especially important for athletes who have prolonged bouts of activity, and may need extra stability when fatigue kicks in.

If you can utilize better mechanics for extended bouts of exercise, then you’ll be able to perform longer by targeting the proper musculature.

Different Types of Kinesiology Tape

There are a lot of different kinesiology tapes out there, and finding the perfect tape can be a daunting task, especially for new tape users. Fortunately, of all the types of tapes there are two base options: cotton and synthetic. From these two choices, we can further break down aspects of tape that will help you further choose your best fit.

Cotton

Cotton tapes have a few callouts that will make them different from their counter synthetic tapes. First, cotton tapes are softer on the skin and body. These tapes will be less noticeable when applied, so they’re typically a go-to for athletes in need of light support.

Second, these tapes tend to be better for sensitive skin users. Tape can cause skin irritation, so a cotton, or cotton nylon blend, may be the best choice for those with sensitive skin issues.

Synthetic

Synthetic tapes are more supportive due to the material they use. They’re often stiffer than cotton tapes and utilize materials designed to provide the joint and musculature with an increased feeling of rigidity. These tapes will be best for athletes who need increased support for prolonged periods of exercise.

One thing to keep in mind with synthetic tapes is the possible skin irritation. Most tapes avoid using latex and zinc, but some synthetic tapes do. If you know your skin is prone to irritation by adhesives and other materials, then this should be accounted for.

Duration of Use

Each tape has their own guidelines on suggested use. This factor can impact an athlete’s tape choice due to their activity of choosing. For athletes undergoing multiple workouts in a span of a few days, they may reach for a tape that lasts longer and doesn’t need to be reapplied frequently.

Master of Muscle Beast Tape Review
Master of Muscle Beast Tape Review

When you apply kinesiology tape it’s recommended you rub them in to produce heat. This heat will promote the adhesive’s stick to the skin. If you need a tape to last multiple days, then it’s recommended having someone help apply heat to the targeted area.

Average Cotton Tape Days of Wear

Every tape will have different guidelines, but from the tapes we reviewed, the average cotton tape will stay on the body for 1-3 days. Some cotton tapes may last longer, but we felt after three days most of these tapes lost their effectiveness.

One factor we found that influenced the cotton tapes use was the amount of moisture you’re exposed to. Cotton tapes are not nearly as water resistant as synthetics, so athletes who sweat a lot, workout in hot climates, and partake in water-sports should keep this mind.

Average Synthetic Tape Days of Wear

The average synthetic tape will remain on the body for 4-7 days (some tapes boast 8-10 days). These tapes have a more rigid feeling, so they do a better job at providing support over extended bouts of time.

Additionally, synthetic’s material is typically designed to resist water, so moisture is less likely to get into the creases of the joints and muscles.

Best Tape for Sensitive Skin

Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape

Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton tape is made of a 100% cotton material, so it’s an easier feel on the skin. Second, the adhesive is hypoallergenic and latex free, which are often two contributing factors to possible irritation.

Learn more in our Kinesio Tex Gold 100% Cotton Kinesiology Tape Review.

A common issue that sometimes arises with kinesiology tape is skin irritation. In most cases with skin sensitivity, it’s the environment (hot & humid) or synthetic tapes that are the irritants. This is when cotton tapes can be useful for a strength athlete.

Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape
Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape
Kinesio Tex Gold Cotton Tape
A cotton based tape that will last through sweaty work outs, and will be forgiving on the skin when removing.

Best Tape for Swimming

Nordic Lifting’s Prime Tape

Nordic Lifting’s Prime Tape has a softer synthetic build, and its ability to resist water. One of its main purposes listed on the box was swimming, so this tape lived up to its functions.

Most kinesiology tapes are designed to be water resistant, but we found synthetic tapes to fair much better with excessive moisture. When it comes to swimming, the application of the tape is the key to long-lasting in-water effects.

Best Tape for Lifters

TheraBand Kinesiology Tape Feel

TheraBand Kinesiology Tape

Our favorite tape for all around lifting is the TheraBand Kinesiology Tape. This tape earned our top spot due to its well-made adhesive, easy application, prolonged light support, and ease on the wallet. Additionally, we thought this tape was great for providing support without limiting mobility.

Learn more in our full TheraBand Kinesiology Tape Review.

A best kinesiology tape for lifters will be dependent on an athlete’s strength sport. With so many styles of tapes and levels of support, there’s no one-size-fits-all tape. We broke our best tape for lifters into three different categories, which include: light support (with no limit in mobility), moderate support, and the most support.

TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
This kinesiology tape is designed to last for multiple hours and form fit the skin with its strong adhesive.

Best Kinesiology Tape for the Money

TheraBand Kinesiology Tape Price

TheraBand’s Kinesiology Tape

TheraBand’s Kinesiology Tape takes the number one spot in the best for the money. This tape starts at $11.99 for a 16-foot roll, which comes out to $.75 cents per foot. What sealed them as our number one pick besides their cost efficiency was how their tape performed. This was our favorite tape overall, plus the price point is great.

This category focuses around one premise, and that’s the best roll for the money. Kinesiology tape can be expensive, so we picked our top tape that provided support, but didn’t break the bank.

TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
TheraBand Kinesiology Tape
This kinesiology tape is designed to last for multiple hours and form fit the skin with its strong adhesive.

Best Tape for Knees

FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape Price

FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape

FlexU Supreme Kinesiology tape offered an exceptional amount of support, while remaining in one place for a prolonged period of time. The adhesive moved well with the knee, even when walking for prolonged periods.

We judged a kinesiology tape for the knee in three different categories. First, how much support does it provide this joint? Second, how well does the tape move with the body? Third, how effective is the tape’s adhesive, and did it remain in the same spot?

FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape
FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape
FlexU Supreme Kinesiology Tape
A synethic tape that's designed to last for multiple hours of sweaty workouts.

Best Tape for CrossFit Workouts

StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape Fit

StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape

Our top pick for functional fitness workouts was StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape. This tape is the official tape of Ironman, so it’s designed with versatility in mind. It wasn’t the strongest tape in terms of stability, but it moved well trough a variety of exercises.

A great tape for CrossFit®-style workouts is a tape that’s versatile, provides support, and doesn’t lose its adhesive very easily. Synthetic and cotton tapes can be useful for this style of workout, and should be selected by athlete’s discretion and needs.

StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape
StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape
A pre-cut kinsiology tape designed to last multiple hours in both wet and dry settings.

Best Tape for Plantar Fasciitis

KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape

KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape’ssynthetic base provided ample support, while remaining in one spot on the foot. We also liked that this tape was able to provide tension, even as we moved around a lot in cardio based movements.

A common issue some lifters have is Plantar Fasciitis, which is the tightening of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Kinesiology tape is often used to relieve some of this pressure and provide the foot with support to avoid additional inflammation.

Symptoms vary significantly from person to person, and while some athletes report symptom relief from taping, others do not. Just something to keep in mind when looking to taping as an option here.

We found synthetic tapes often worked best for this relief, due to the foot getting excessively sweaty and cotton tapes losing adhesion quickly.

KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape
A 100% synthetic based tape that is designed to move with the body and provide ample support.

Wrapping Up

Kinesiology tape is a piece of supportive strength equipment that has a variety of uses. If you’re new to tape, then it’s recommended to do research on both proper application and uses. Tape can be a great tool if used correctly, and with so many rolls, it’s nearly impossible to not find your perfect fit.

If you’re in need of light or heavy joint support, or enhanced recovery, then kinesiology tape may be a good addition to your gym bag.