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Best Athletic Tapes

last updated Feb 12, 2019

For anyone out there who is serious about their fitness activity, aspiring to be a professional athlete, or is even just sick of the sore muscles and pain associated with exercising, you may need to look into athletic tapes. It may seem silly to apply tape to your body and you may even scoff at the athletes that do it but once you try it for yourself, you will understand why it is so enamored and effective. This type of taping provides support for your muscles while you exercise and can reduce your pain and also can aid in recovery. Yet, as with anything else, it is vital to spend your money wisely on athletic taping and to do so, you need to learn a few things.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

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Spartan Tape
81.6/100 our score
Materials
81
Effectiveness
77
Support
93
Compression
66
Comfort
91
Spartan Tape
Why is it better?

Promotes enhanced blood circulation

It should not irritate your skin

Comes with an online 41-page manual

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Spartan Tape
Test Winner: Spartan Tape
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
8
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
44
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
3
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
28
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Materials Effectiveness Support Compression Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Materials
95 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Support
82 %
Compression
85 %
Comfort
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$17.48
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Materials
93 %
Effectiveness
97 %
Support
83 %
Compression
86 %
Comfort
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$69.97
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Materials
81 %
Effectiveness
77 %
Support
93 %
Compression
66 %
Comfort
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$39.97
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Materials
83 %
Effectiveness
79 %
Support
95 %
Compression
68 %
Comfort
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$15.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
Materials
82 %
Effectiveness
78 %
Support
94 %
Compression
67 %
Comfort
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$16.29
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Materials
95 %
Effectiveness
70 %
Support
87 %
Compression
88 %
Comfort
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$15.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Materials
89 %
Effectiveness
82 %
Support
77 %
Compression
85 %
Comfort
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$9.68
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Materials
79 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Support
90 %
Compression
72 %
Comfort
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$14.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Materials
97 %
Effectiveness
89 %
Support
88 %
Compression
71 %
Comfort
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$7.97
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Materials
92 %
Effectiveness
85 %
Support
83 %
Compression
82 %
Comfort
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.19)
Amazon Link
$14.99

Top 10 Picks

1. Rocktape

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Rocktape
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Effectiveness
96
Support
82
Compression
85
Comfort
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$17.48
Pros:

It is zinc and latex-free

It will stretch 180 percent more than other brands

Used by over 50,000 medical professionals

Cons:

It seems it is not quite as heavy-duty as it used to be

As most consumers who have used this top model are aware of, you really can’t go wrong here. This is latex-free, stretches 180 percent more than other brands and also is used by thousands of medical professionals in the world.

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Main Materials
The fabric composition here is quite unique and is a combination of cotton and synthetic fibers. However, as claimed, it can stretch 180 percent further than other brands out there.

Provided Support
This is a kinesiology tape and it is designed to move and flex with your skin and not to restrict your body. All in all, it helps to treat both sports and non-sports injuries.

Adhesive Strength
Due to the nature of the adhesive material that is used, this is designed to stay on longer during your activities and recovery.

Comfortability
On top of being engineered to stay on your skin longer, this model is also going to do so without irritating your skin, which can be a huge issue for other brands.

Length and Amount
The roll that you are provided measures two inches in width and 16.5 feet in length. Now, you can also receive a version that is four inches in width, if you desire. Plus, you can also buy this in pre-cut and uncut versions.

Overall
Without question, this is worthy of all the praise it receives and a very impressive product overall. At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong here.

2. t Elite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
t Elite
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Effectiveness
97
Support
83
Compression
86
Comfort
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.97
Pros:

The strength of the adhesive is nice

It is supple and smooth for comfort

Is not too much of a hassle to remove

Cons:

You will need a pair of scissors to cut it

This is not quite as popular as various other options on this list but you know what, it is just as impressive if not more. Even though it can be difficult to tear off, it is near-perfect otherwise.

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Main Materials
On top of using no latex, this is also comprised of 100 percent cotton. Do not worry, also, 1st Elite claims they only used the highest quality of cotton.

Provided Support
First off, this is ideal for use on a wide range of body parts including your ankles, wrists, and fingers. Also, it is designed to provide your joints the rigidity they need to perform.

Adhesive Strength
There is a fine line with adhesives as they need to be sticky enough to stay but not so much that they are impossible to remove. It is safe to say that 1st Elite has found a happy medium here.

Comfortability
The general consensus is that the supple and smooth feel provided by this model offers superior comfort with little to no skin irritation.

Length and Amount
First off, you can select from eight, 16, or 32 rolls. Either way, each roll measures 1.5 inches in width and 10 yards (30 feet) in length.

Overall
About the only real issue with this tape is the fact that it is nearly impossible to tear with your bare hands. When in a pinch, you will need a cutting tool. Still, the performance here is golden.

3. Spartan Tape

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Spartan Tape
Amazon Link
Materials
81
Effectiveness
77
Support
93
Compression
66
Comfort
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.97
Pros:

Promotes enhanced blood circulation

It should not irritate your skin

Comes with an online 41-page manual

Cons:

Buyers with sensitive skin have criticized this a bit

This next model from Spartan gets compared to RockTape quite a bit. Both of them are extremely popular and Spartan’s effort is so close to being just as good.

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Main Materials
Being made of a mix of natural cotton and hypoallergenic adhesive, this can stretch up to 180 percent and will mimic your skin.

Provided Support
What is really nice is this is not designed to restrict your movement. Instead, it flexes when you flex and stretches when you stretch for the ultimate support and flexibility.

Adhesive Strength
When this is properly applied to your skin, the adhesive is designed to stick for three to five days. Yes, it will even stick when exposed to water and sweat.

Comfortability
Even though, for the average consumer, this is not going to irritate your skin it has been an issue for some buyers who claim that they have sensitive skin.

Length and Amount
Each roll you buy is 16.4 feet in length and that works out to five meters.

Overall
Due to the performance and the design provided here, you will probably be buying it over and over again. However, if you have sensitive skin, this may not be the option for you.

4. KT Original

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
KT Original
Amazon Link
Materials
83
Effectiveness
79
Support
95
Compression
68
Comfort
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.99
Pros:

This comes in pre-cut strips

It is latex-free

The material utilized is soft on the skin

Cons:

Could have been engineered to stay on longer

Now, we reach yet another option that fitness enthusiasts and athletes around the world will love and have loved. That said it does not stay on quite as long as some of the other options.

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Main Materials
Part of the reason why this option feels softer than others is its breathable cotton makeup. Also, it is latex-free which also assists in avoiding skin irritation.

Provided Support
As with most of the other designs on this list, this model will allow full mobility without restricting your body movements. But, it does so by also providing reduced tissue pressure and muscle support.

Adhesive Strength
Thanks to the latest in adhesive technology, this is designed to stay on your skin for one to three days. But, when compared to the stiff competition, other brands will stick longer.

Comfortability
The soft material makeup that is present here ensures the maximum in comfortability. Of course, it also helps that this is extremely light in weight.

Length and Amount
For some, the fact that you receive pre-cut strips makes all the difference in the world. That is what you get here and there are 20 strips that measure approximately 10 inches in length and two inches in width.

Overall
Of the “big three” on this list (with the other two being RockTape and Spartan Tape), this is the least impressive. However, due to its position on this list, it is better than a majority of other brands.

5. Mueller M-Tape

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
Mueller M-Tape
Amazon Link
Materials
82
Effectiveness
78
Support
94
Compression
67
Comfort
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$16.29
Pros:

Made of bleached backcloth

It is made with a high tensile strength

The colorfast dyes will not bleed

Cons:

The adhesive could be a bit stronger

Residue tends to be left after removal

There is a lot to admire here including the high tensile strength of the material and also the colorfast dyes that will not bleed. Also, you can get six rolls of 10 yards, which is a nice bonus.

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Main Materials
Per the product description, each of the rolls you receive is made out of bleached hospital-grade backcloth. In addition, it has a high tensile strength and is not going to fray easily.

Provided Support
Even though this does stretch a little, it definitely should not be considered elastic. That said, it is ideal for all sports medicine applications.

Adhesive Strength
Though some buyers have raved the adhesive that is used here, others claim it has decreased in quality. Also, there have been some reports that the adhesive leaves a black residue.

Comfortability
Overall, any complaints of this brand are not aimed at the comfortability. Once applied to your skin, it should not cause much irritation at all.

Length and Amount
Just so you know this does come in a pack of three rolls or six rolls. Now, each individual roll measures 1.5 inches by 10 yards so figure out how much you are going to need.

Overall
Mueller is another top brand out there and it is no shock that their model landed so high on this list. Perhaps next time, though, they could improve on their adhesive.

6. Powerflex Stretch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Powerflex Stretch
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Effectiveness
70
Support
87
Compression
88
Comfort
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.00
Pros:

Ideal for areas that need flexibility

It will stick to itself

Stays tight during your activities

Cons:

Does not tear easily

It can be difficult to get it tightly applied

Is this one ever interesting here? As opposed to several of the other options on this list, Powerflex tape does not have an adhesive. Instead, it can be used in place of pre-wrap and sticks to itself.

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Main Materials
The best way to describe this material is that it is more of a wrinkled fabric than it is a gauze-like fabric. All in all, it is a bit opaque.

Provided Support
While this is not like a normal design, it is often used in medical settings to hold IVs and catheters in place. Of course, it can still wrap around your wrists.

Adhesive Strength
As mentioned before, this does not have an adhesive. But, it does adhere to itself and this allows it to hold other bandages in place. On its own, though, it will not stick to your skin.

Comfortability
On top of being both water-resistant and sweat-resistant, this has a natural comfort that most buyers will laud.

Length and Amount
Each individual roll you receive measures six yards in length when fully stretched out.

Overall
Simply due to the nature of the design, Powerflex is not going to be a suitable solution for everyone. Given the fact it is not designed with an adhesive, it is better suited as an add-on.

7. Ace Sports

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Ace Sports
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Effectiveness
82
Support
77
Compression
85
Comfort
79
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.68
Pros:

Works great with ACE Sports Underwrap

ACE is a well-trusted brand

It is ideal for wrists, fingers and ankles

Cons:

Does not rip very well

Not the stickiest tape in the world

When it comes to elastic bandages, supports, and other type products, ACE is one of the most trusted brands out there. Even though their design only lands seven on this list, it is beyond stellar.

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Main Materials
Per one user’s experience, this material is probably going to end up fraying on you. It is not too bad and what one would expect from normal athletic tape, to be honest.

Provided Support
Though there are some issues with this overall design, this is not one of them. In fact, the tough design here offers firm support and will provide protection to injured joints.

Adhesive Strength
While this is not the stickiest adhesive that you will ever see, it suffices for the most part. When you start sweating profusely, though, it may begin to lose adhesion.

Comfortability
You would think that thanks to the firm support, this may be a bit uncomfortable. But, based on consumer feedback, that does not appear to be the case at all.

Length and Amount
For your convenience, ACE offers this in either a four pack or individually. Either way, you decide to go, the size for one roll is 1.5 inches by 10 yards (width by length).

Overall
As claimed, though there are some flaws in this design, it is hard to deny the performance benefits that ACE delivers here. At the end of the day, that is the main purpose.

8. Vara Fit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Vara Fit
Amazon Link
Materials
79
Effectiveness
92
Support
90
Compression
72
Comfort
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.95
Pros:

It is both sweatproof and waterproof

FDA approved and latex-free

Feels light on your skin

Cons:

The durability is only decent

Can struggle to stay on in water even though it is waterproof

VARA Fit certainly was not perfect or flawless with their design but at the end of the day, their athletic taping is still good enough to be considered one of the ten best. Not bad at all.

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Main Materials
Not too many buyers have raved about the durability here. That said, the lightweight cotton construction is far from bad and is also latex-free.

Provided Support
No matter what type of injury or ailment you are enduring, this tape is sure to help and can provide dramatic pain relief.

Adhesive Strength
It is actually claimed that the adhesive used here can stick for up to seven days at a time. In fact, it is guaranteed that the super adhesive will last to this extent.

Comfortability
Though the durability is not the greatest, the comfortability sure is fantastic. The cotton is both breathable and lightweight, which is an ideal combination of comfort.

Length and Amount
This is a continuous roll and is not cut up into strips, for the record. As for the size of the roll, it measures two inches in width by 16.4 feet in length.

Overall
Perhaps no other design on this list was closer to ascending astronomically than this one. The reason for this is outside of the noted durability concerns, everything else is phenomenal.

9. Master of Muscle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Master of Muscle
Amazon Link
Materials
97
Effectiveness
89
Support
88
Compression
71
Comfort
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$7.97
Pros:

Does not restrict your blood circulation

One of the more breathable options out there

Features superior adhesive material

Cons:

The ends typically peel off

It does tend to leave a bad residue

When you dub your product Master of Muscle, you are making quite the audacious claim. For the most part, Master of Muscle, the brains behind this model, ensures their model lives up to its name.

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Main Materials
Though the ends are prone to being peeled off, this is made without latex which is a huge bonus.

Provided Support
Per the norm, Master of Muscle engineered their design to work and move with your muscles and not restrict them. So, this will flex when you flex and will not cut off blood circulation.

Adhesive Strength
It is advertised that the adhesive used here is both waterproof and heat activated. The end result for you is tape that will stay on your skin for up to three days.

Comfortability
A few consumers went out of their way to note just how breathable this option is. Given that some of your workouts can raise your temperature, this is ideal.

Length and Amount
To accommodate for the most people possible, this has been made to be continuous. So, you are provided with five meters of usable kinesiology tape.

Overall
Perhaps you would believe that a product dubbed BeastTape would be higher on a list like this. Well, it is what it is and all things considered, it is still a very good option.

10. Prairie Horse Supply

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Prairie Horse Supply
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Effectiveness
85
Support
83
Compression
82
Comfort
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.99
Pros:

Very flexible

It adheres to itself

It is both soft and lightweight

Cons:

Overall, this is pretty light-duty

What is really nice about the last option on this list is you receive quite a bit of tape for the price. But, then again, due to its light-duty nature, the extra amount will be needed.

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Main Materials
The main issue with this product is its durability. Due to the lightweight and light-duty construction, these wraps are going to wear out quicker than you desire.

Provided Support
Though this may not last that long, while it lasts, it offers great support. Even when used properly with padding, it is not going to cut off your blood circulation.

Adhesive Strength
What is really nice about this model is it adheres to itself. Now, it will not stick to your skin but because it does adhere to itself, you do not need clips or fasteners.

Comfortability
Overall, the material that is utilized provides a lightweight, soft, and overall comfortable experience when on your skin.

Length and Amount
You receive six individual rolls of wrap and each one measures five yards in length when stretched. So, if you do the math, you end up with 90 feet of wrap.

Overall
Though this is going to wear out quicker than you like, it performs very well for the short time being. Plus, you receive so much wrap that your purchase is warranted.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

Not all athletic taping is going to be made of the same materials. This is probably not news to you and it goes without saying. However, you need to assess the different types in order to conclude which material you prefer. Two of the most common materials, for example, are cotton and synthetic. Most of you are fairly familiar with cotton as chances are, a majority of your clothing either includes the material or is 100 percent cotton. A few properties of cotton are its superb comfortability, softness and absorbent properties. However, as opposed to synthetic blends which are typically made from synthetic microfibers, it is not nearly as strong and is not waterproof.
In addition to this, synthetic tapes are designed to last longer as they will not lose as much of their form as cotton tapes will. The latter is usually advertised with a three-day lifespan and this can be any longer when dealing with synthetic. What is specifically nice, though, is some designers will create a blend of synthetic fibers and cotton to gain the benefits of both materials.

Support

The main reason why you even use athletic taping in the first place is you want it to provide support for your muscles and help to alleviate the overall pain in your body. However, not every single model is going to produce the same amount of support. There are actually different design types and each of them has different properties. For example, there are white tapes out there that have little to no elasticity purposely. These will help to limit the movement of a specific joint while also delivering the support that joint needs. Of course, you also have types that will offer elasticity and this can provide support for key areas such as your elbows, shoulders, and knees.
Then, there is kinesiology tape and this may be the most popular form out there. Given the fact it has been dubbed magic by some, it goes without saying that it is incredible stuff. Basically, with kinesiology tapes, the elasticity is going to lift your skin ever so slightly to reduce pressure. This can benefit you in a number of ways including overall pain relief and also reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels.

Durability

For those of you who do not know, the word adhesive is referring to the substance that is used to allow any of these tapes to stick to your skin. Much like anything else, you use adhesives to get one object to stick to another. But, the strength and power of the adhesive is everything. While other factors will come into play, including the materials themselves, the strength of the adhesive goes a long way to determining how long it is going to stick on your body. Also, they will be most effective during their first application, so keep that in mind.
Of course, not all options will actually utilize an adhesive that sticks to your skin. Some will merely be wraps that, ideally, will stick to themselves and will then act as a great additional layer. Oh, and you also need to remember one last thing. Some adhesives will leave strong residues and if they do, you may want to consider pre-wrap. That way, they leave the residue on your wrap and not on your skin.

Comfort

There is a fine line with athletic tape much like there is with a running shoe, in this sense. In both of these instances, there needs to be an adequate amount of support. But, they also both need to be comfortable because if they are not, you will be seeking new models very quickly. The fine line is they both need to offer support and comfortability, and not merely one or the other. Switching the focus back to just tapes, this is where the material comes back into play. The great aspect of cotton is that it is super soft and generally feels nice up against your skin. Of course, with this softness comes girth and for longer periods of time, cotton can become cumbersome.
Also, cotton is going to absorb water and moisture and when this happens, it could leave the tape feeling clammy and cold. As for synthetics, these tend to be lighter in weight and less absorbent. Speaking of which, and this is huge for some consumers, you may want to look for latex-free synthetic.

Size

Last up, let’s discuss the size and quantity. In regard to how much of this stuff you are going to need, it really depends on your preference. Sometimes it is nice to start off with a little to get acclimated to the brand to see if you like it. If so, you can then buy in bulk. But, be aware that this comes in a wide range of forms. For example, you have single rolls which are typically 16 feet in total length. But, you also have bulk rolls which may hold up to 100 feet of tape.
In addition, they are also sometimes sold in precut strips. Some of you will prefer this as strips will be ready for specific body parts. Plus, this can eliminate potential fraying caused by cutting with scissors. Then again, you get what you get and can’t really customize them.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How Should you Store It?

a:

A lot of sellers will inform you that their product is really only good to use one time. That is, once you apply it to your skin, it should probably just be thrown away after. So, you need to use it wisely and that means that you will need to store it. Depending on how much you invest in any way, you probably will end up storing excess away. The question then becomes, how are you supposed to do that?
For starters, allow it to sit in a cool and dry location. This means you need to keep it away from humid environments. But, you should also keep it packaged as it was when you received it. It needs to keep its shape so you need to avoid storing it in areas where it could be prone to squishing.

q: How do you Apply the Tape?

a:

Even though the actual application process is not long or strenuous, there is a bit of a science to it. To keep this in Layman’s terms, you need to apply the tape in the area that you need to be supported. When doing so, though, your muscles need to be in a stretched position and not slouched. Part of the reason you want to do it this way is to prevent any stretching of the tape itself.
However, the process is also reversed depending on if you need the material for support or rehabilitation. For the former, apply it from the origin to the insertion of the muscle and for the latter, do so the other way around.

q: What can you do to Care for It?

a:

Okay, so it has been mentioned a few times already that you will probably only be able to get one use out of the strip of tape you use. However, there are still some tips you should keep in mind when it comes to caring for it as a whole. In addition to storing it properly, which was already discussed, you should also avoid allowing it to be exposed to the sunlight. This is not as much referring to when the tape is on your skin as it is with the roll that is not being used.
Also, there are some options out there that are water-resistant. In this sense, you could actually swim, bathe, or shower with the wrap applied to your skin.

q: Any Suggestions for Optimum Results?

a:

For the record, this question is referring to how you need to apply the wrap, to begin with. Once it is applied properly, you are free to perform whatever activities you need to. But, for anyone who knows anything about adhesives, you know that they need to be applied to clean and dry surfaces. If not, it can compromise the overall effectiveness and stickiness of the adhesive. Because of this, when you apply it to your skin, you need to ensure that your skin is free of any sweat, lotion, dirt, oil, or any other substance.
After you do apply it, though, you should also press it down on your skin to activate the heat-sensitive glue. And, once again, avoid stretching it too far while you are applying it.

q: Should you Shave Beforehand?

a:

Yes, this question is for both the men and the ladies. Depending on which body part you need supported, there may or may not be an excess amount of hair. For the most part, though, shaving beforehand is not going to be necessary. Especially for your arms, shoulders, and other such areas, it will not be. But, if you find that the adhesive struggles to stick on your skin, you certainly can try to shave beforehand. Without question, it will help with the adhesion as the cleaner and barer the surface, the better. Still, it is not mandatory.

q: Is there any Difference at all Between Colors?

a:

Believe it or not, this question actually gets asked quite frequently in the realms of the internet. Heck, there are even rumors and speculation out there that different colored tapes actually perform differently. Well, put those rumors to bed because the actual color does not make a difference granted there is not a physical or chemical difference between them. Instead, the color you choose is merely indicative of your personal preference. A lot of times, you are provided multiple colors for compatibility with color therapy.
The only factors that are going to change the performance are the materials and the adhesion (and also how you apply it and the weather you use them in). But, as for the color, that is entirely up to you people.