Kinesio Tape Throwdown: KT Tape vs RockTape

Products Tested: KT Tape and RockTape

Kinesio Tape Throwdown: KT Tape vs. RockTape

You may be asking yourself, what is kinesio(logy) tape and why should I care?¬†Kinesiology taping, developed in 1979 by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in an effort to ease muscles and keep blood flowing, allowing injuries to heal quicker than traditional methods which focused on restricting motion and compression. I won’t get into all the specific, but you can read more at HowStuffWorks: How Kinesio Tape Works. Suffice it to say, I believe the scientific merit behind the tape, and trust the many studies that have been done testing the effectiveness of kinesiology tape.

With us being a running group rather than a group of scientists, we tend to just put stuff on and try it out, relying on anecdotal evidence rather than lab results, because in the end, if it works for you but not somebody else, it still works for you, and that’s all that matters.

Having heard the benefits of kinesio tape from fellow runners, I was really looking forward to this comparison as my IT band in my left leg had been bothering me lately. Perfect timing, right? There’s no better way to try this stuff out than when you’re actually in pain and can see which one feels best. For my comparison, I chose the two biggest names in the running scene for kinesiology tape: KT Tape and RockTape.

So to start, what are some uses of  kinesiology tape? Among several other uses, popular running treatments include:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Jumpers knee (PFS)
  • ACL/MCL issues
  • Groin and hamstring pulls
  • Shin splints

The Comparison

While the methods for applying the two tapes are similar, there are differences between the two in how they function. The most noticeable one in my testing being how well they adhered to my skin. To test the adhesion, I applied both tapes in the same manner, and even shaved my legs to remove hair from the equation. I tested them both during the day and at night, running and in normal day-to-day functions. While applying the tape, both went on very easy and felt great, but the RockTape stayed put much longer, lasting up to 3 to 4 days, compared to the KT Tape coming loose within 10 to 12 hours of application. In fact, within just a few hours after applying it, the ends of the KT Tape would start coming up, with the rest of the tape slowly following. The RockTape easily won this comparison, including staying put while taking long baths for multiple days in a row.

The only other noticeable difference between the two was the construction of the tape and the elasticity. RockTape gets the nod here as well, as it felt stronger in my hand and seemed to offer a tighter compression when applied.

The Conclusion

In the end, you can’t go wrong with either tape, as KT Tape and RockTape both worked well in alleviating the discomfort in my inflamed IT band, but with the superior adhesion and better compression, RockTape was the clear winner in my mind.

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4 Responses to Kinesio Tape Throwdown: KT Tape vs RockTape

  1. jakekimfox January 31, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    I agree RockTape is a superior product. I use the tape on alot of the guys at our facility. We are a Jiu Jitsu academy. RockTape is the only kinesiology tape (specifically the H2O tape) that I have found that will stay on with what our guys do. Though the sweating and the abraisivness of Jiu-Jitsu both Gi and no-Gi the RockTape survives. I have used KT tape before when I was out of RockTape, the adhesive was not nearly as good. It wouldn’t even stay on while I was playing ball. I also disliked the fact that they were precut to a specific size. We are not all the same and trying to use pre cut strips sucks. I would rather cut it to a size that fits me. Its basically a waste of the product you just paid for if you only need a 4 inch strip but you have to use an 8in.

  2. Val Nardone April 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    I agree, Scott. KT Tape doesn’t stay put long enough for me. I wasn’t running when I tested it. I had it applied by the KT Experts at a booth at Ironman Las Vegas. I was working the Medical Tent. Within just a couple hours the ends were curling. I ended up just pulling it off as it became a nuisance. The idea was great though and I did feel the difference at first. However, if it isn’t going to stay on, then I won’t use it. Like you said, if it works for someone and if it stays put for others, then it’s a great product! I haven’t tried Rock Tape. I’ll add it to the list! Thanks for the review.

  3. Ryan Hong April 26, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    Tried both products. Cleaned it, allowed it to dry, made sure there is no tension etc… KT lasted me 2 games of tennis… Rock is still on the next day.

    Simple huh?

  4. miriam June 25, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    I just tested both in my morning run. I applied them before going to bed, with socks on. I woke up and went running first thing in the morning. I used them on my feet since I have plantaar faciitis and tight calfs (I had been hurting).
    Anyways, I did a 2m run in extremely humid and hot NYC weather. The K tape started to come undone!! The Rocktape stayed put. As I showered, both came off easily- Rocktape feels sturdier.
    My feet did well! I think I’ll buy Rocktape, though I have a roll of Ktape and will use it till it’s gone.

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