Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rock Tape vs. Kinesio Tape Field Test

Coming off my marathon training, this is probably a good time for me to share my experiences using the two different tapes: RockTape and Kinesio Tape.

As many of you know, my left Achilles tendon was aggravated a little over five weeks ago. On suggestion from another runner, I checked into the Kinesio Tape.

Then, after wearing the Kinesio tape for a couple of weeks, I posted my feedback on my blog. Scott Regan a representative of RockTape saw my post. He offered to send me a sample of the RockTape to test.

Over the past week I have been wearing the Rock Tape including in my marathon this past weekend.

I decided to use the RockTape during the marathon based on reading the information on the RockTape website. Specifically, I liked that is was designed for endurance athletes. Interestingly enough, I was wearing the RockTape at the Expo on Saturday afternoon and a number of people came up to me asking about it. I shared my reasoning for wearing it and the help that I thought the tape was providing.

RockTape and Kinesio come packaged in several different ways. I started with the standard 5 meter in roll of Kinesio Tape that I purchased. For RockTape, I used the 1.5 meter strip which Scott sent to me.

The Kinesio tape cost about roughly 12 dollars for the 5 meter roll. RockTape cost about 18 dollars for the same 5 meter length.

I did the wrapping myself. For the Kinesio taping I used the following link: I found this link via a Google search.

For the RockTape, I use the following link: RockTape provides a number of videos for taping various injuries. The videos are well worth the time to watch in case you ever get injured.

Both videos illustrate wrapping the Achilles tendon in the similar ways, but there are some settle differences.

In all fairness, I spent more time using the Kinesio Tape so there were more opportunities for research.

Also, I wanted to note that once I applied the tape whether RockTape or Kinesio Tape, I didn't remove it for 7 days. In the case of the Kinesio Tape, I did have to trim the edges of the tape regularly as it started to peel off.

Here's my likes and dislikes for Kinesio


  • Likes:
    • Easy and simple to apply
    • Cost
  • Dislikes
    • Tends to come off it rub against. I guess that I toss and turn at night. The bed covers would rub against the Kinesio tape and cause it to peel off.
    • No explanation on wrapping techniques from the vender's web site.
    • If you don't apply it correctly the first time, pulling it off and reapplying decreases the tapes ability to stick.

Here's my likes and dislikes for the RockTape

  • Likes
    • Sticks very well and easy to apply
    • Good videos to show you how to apply it.
  • Dislikes
    • Where the tape is trimmed with scissors, little strings start to unravel from the tape. Not a huge issue, you can just clip them off.
    • 18 dollars vs. 12 dollars in the budget minded economy will probably send lots of people to Kinesio


A clear winner is difficult to choose. For my every day workouts, I might go with the Kinesio tape because of the cost, but on race day, I would probably switch out to the RockTape. The RockTape tends to stick better and stand the stress of the workout better.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Alex said...

Any idea if i can get a free sample to try out on my pulled groin? Email me at

abw said...

I would suggest you visit if you would like more information on the product and its proper application. The advantages of Kinesio Tex Tape over all other elastic tapes have little to do with price. If you know the theory behind it, and anatomy, and biomechanics, you can apply the tape in many different ways, with various degrees of stretch, to accomplish improvement in circulation, muscle facilitation or inhibition, fascial matrix homeostasis, tendon and ligament support, changes in joint biomechanics and scar reduction. If you don't know the human body and how it works, or how and why the tape works, your application will not be successful. Because Kinesio Tex Tape is very forgiving in that you will get some results despite sloppy or inappropriate application, you felt a little better when you applied it. But had you applied it correctly, it would not have rolled off your leg in bed, nor would it have rolled off during your marathon. Olympic athletes use the tape sucessfully, so there is no reason why you shouldn't. The reason they are successful is because it is applied by people who have been trained in its application.

Cool Down said...

abw, thanks for your comments. Any information that helps us keep enjoying our choosen activity is always welcome.

My post was based on my personal experience and my willing to learn about taping my self.

Aryk... said...

I am a rugby player and cyclist and LOVE kinesio tape... but I have the same problem with it rubbing off all the time. I apply it correctly, shaved leg, washed with alcohol, dry, etc. The regular KT Tex tape (presegmented) isn't any good, but if you get Kinesio Gold, it is better. But it still rolls off. And it isn't nearly as waterproof as suggested.

I am going to try RockTape based off this blog post. Thanks! I hope it holds up as well as it did for you.

Cool Down Runner said...

I am always interested in what other people learn during their trials.

Let me know how your test go?

drkevin said...

Hey Cool Down, I was very interested in reading your thoughts. I'm a sports chiropractor in Toronto and I've been certified in kinseiotaping for the last 5 years. I thought you'd like to know that the kinesio tape made in the states went through a change in its manufacturing when they released kinesio gold. All of my colleagues found that the tape didnt stick as well and i ended up throwing away the rolls i had. Patients would find the tape coming off in one or two days. The company may have corrected the problem, but in the mean time we found that the "kinseiology tape" brand to work quite well. I buy huge rolls of tape of 103' for around $80-100 dollers so that might make the cost come down over the long run.
Recently I've been using the rock tape both for injuries as well as performance taping and i find it to be great. It comes in different widths, which can be useful and the adhesive is great. Also, the tape has more elasticity which can be good too.
I would recommend looking into larger rols of the rock tape to see if you can lower the price to save some money. Im not sure if they make it like that, but i wouldnt be surprised.
Hope this helps!

Cool Down Runner said...

drkevin, thanks for the info. The best thing about the internet is the sharing of information.

In reading your comment, I realized something. I only used the tape when I had a injury that I thought it would help.

What I didn't do was use it strictly for a performance gain.

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to take a 2nd look at it from this perspective.

dorothy said...

Just to clarify, the pre-segmented tape Aryk is talking about (called KT Tape) is not the same brand as Kinesio Tex Tape. It is a completely unrelated product. This sounds like what DrKevin is talking about as well. The real Kinesio Tex Gold may not be as "heavy duty" as RockTape but it stays on quite well nevertheless.

smith said...

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Anonymous said...

Im a physio, runner and kinesiology taping instructor

With regards to stickability I would agree with whats been said- rock tape DOES stick better than KinesioTex.

If you have problems with edges peeling spray-on tape adhesive can be used to aid adhesion. (esp good if its your achilles you are taping)

Its worth clarifying that KinesioTex is the brand of tape and company run by its original inventor Kenzo Kase, they consistently claim to be special/different/better than the rest. I can also disagree, their tape is bascially of the same design and condstruction as its competitors (eg rocktape/ K active etc), but I find their glue is average at best.

When it comes to applying tape remember this:
Stretch the tissue as much as you can
-Apply the tape with no extra stretch for muscles.
-Apply tape with a little more stretch for tendons, ligaments etc.
-The start and end of all tapes should be stuck with no stretch at all.
Generally people stretch to tape way too much.

Simples! Hope that helps

London Runner said...

The two k tapes I've used are rocktape and KTtape so I can't comment on Kineseo Tex. Like you I went with KT first because it's about half the price. What a mistake, the extra $10 for rock is sooo worth it. You can tell the difference in quality immediately: RT is heavier, smoother and just feels more substantial. Almost like the difference between a nice cashmere sweater and cheap cotton sweater.

I naired my groin, showered, and cleaned with alcohol before applying KT. Not joking: simply walking upstairs made it start to peel off, no chance of this lasting for any kind of workout. RT: put on three strips and had no problems for 4 days, it might have lasted longer but it started to itch so I took it off.

KT really bothers me because it's obvious they spend so much of their budget endorsing famous athletes: Kerry Walsh, Beckham, but skimp on product quality. My conspiracy theory is that they just rebrand rocktape for the pros and sell the garbage to consumers. There is absolutely no WAY the KT tape I had could stand up to Kerry Walsh's shoulder webbing, diving through sand and sweat.

Again, I haven't tried Tex tape, but durability seems to be an issue in the review and comments. For $10 more rocktape will stay on for days so I don't mind the extra price.

smallbizrunner said...

In my husband's chiropractic office, we've traditionally used Kinesio Tex Gold. It's certainly helped me through two bouts of ITBS (as a runner) and I swear by it. I can get 3-5 days out of an application. The Rock Tape rep came by one day and swore up and down that his stuff was better, more durable, and stayed on the skin through swimming, showering, and under his kids' hockey pads. Unfortunately, we haven't been as impressed with Rock Tape's longevity. Our most recent example: we taped a patient last week using the Kinesio Tex Gold and her application lasted 5 days. This week we taped her with Rock Tape and her application came off overnight. We actually use a combination of the Rock Tape and Dr. Kase's applications but we will be sticking with the Kinesio Tex Gold tape.

Anonymous said...

Great comparison. I think the Rock Tape adheres slightly better, but I only use it for a day at most, so it's not an issue.

I buy Kinesio in Bulk. With a little research, I have been able to locate a vendor who sells the 103 Foot (2 inch wide) bulk tape for about $60. The Rock Tape is nearly double that for the same bulk quantity....

Google Jim Humble and Kinesio tape.

Anonymous said...

I have used kiniseo tape and rock tape for a rotator cuff tear. I ride horses and do hot yoga most days. I had similiar relief of pain woth both but the kiniseo tape peeled off in hot yoga or humid summer riding conditions- rock tape stayed put until I took it off 4 days later.

Anonymous said...

I have tried kinesio and rock tape, applied it myself according to directions and had both orthopid, physical therapist and chiropractor apply them both. While cheaper and slightly mire comfortable because it is thinner, in every instance the rock.tape lasts longer and the kinesio rolls at night in bed and does not handle water as well. It lasts 3 days...5 days for Rock, making the cost worth it for me. I use the kinesio still because of the comfort if I have down time and am just hanging out but after 2 yrs, for me, the rock tape is just a better product despite the cost

Cool Down Runner said...

I understand what you are saying.

Since I apply the tape myself, I actually just take it off after my event.

Then reapply a new taping before the next run.

This actually works better for me.

The tape is always on snug and tight.

Ryan said...

Just my 2¢ worth...

Have tried KT Tape (normal and pro), Kinesio tape and Rocktape.

I use it for my knees primarily for tennis and golf. I tend to leave it on for 4-5 days. The application is derived from a couple of physios and thru the numerous videos. You can say it's a mix-blix of all the info I see. It works for me...

I live in Singapore where it's hot and humid.

The only "real" difference for me is the adhesion factor. Original KT, after cleaning, drying airing is ok. KT Pro falls off after about 30 min. Tried even cleaning my skin with alcohol... Kinesio is marginally better and will last a tennis game or 2. Rocktape requires me to just make sure the skin is dry and stays on for 5 days or until I just want to remove it. I agree that it does fray but it still doesn't come off.

So, hands down, Rocktape... but yes, it costs more... and I have nothing to do with them, I'm just a user!

Judith Cobb said...

I've used Rock Tape and Leukotape K.
The leukotape is a little more expensive but the adhesion is light years better than Rock Tape. Sadly, I bought the super-large economy size roll of Rock tape ($45US on sale) so now I have to use it up before I can justify buying my fav Leukotape.
Leukotape stays put for easily 5 days - including long runs, lung bikes, pool swims, hot tubs, and steam saunas. I usually remove it at the 5 day mark because it's getting dirty and fraying a little.

Anonymous said...

All the tapes mentioned in this post and the comments have different purposes. When used correctly, they each do very well. I have trained in all the previously mentioned taping techniques and use them daily as an orthopedic physical therapist.
I find that having some of each style of tape to be the most cost effective; allowing you to use the tape as it was designed to get the most benefit for your situation.
They do offer training courses for the various tapes. Kinesio Tape in fact does not have videos up for the public because it is for trained medical professional applications (DPT, DC, ATC, MD, MTP). If taped incorrectly, you can cause damage.

Kinesio Tape I personally believe is more for practitioner application. It is lighter than the Rock Tape because of intentional design, not to be cheaper like someone mentioned. The lightness of the tape makes it more "skin like", allowing injured tissue to recover with less pain. There are also certain lengths of anchor portion of the tape that need to be considered in order to get the durability you may be looking for. Using the black Kinesio Tape versus the beige or red (hot pink) also improves durability. I have successfully taped athletes for their events, yes including sand volleyball, with the black Kinesio Tape with excellent results. The tape is however water resistant, not water proof. Expecting it to function well after full immersion for considerable time (instead of a shower) is beyond the scope of the tape design.
Rock Tape is also an excellent tape with its focus being the competitive athlete. That is it's focus. NOT the injured athlete (which is Kinesio's main focus, athletic enhancement merely an additional benefit). It is designed to hold up to greater humidity, water environments, sweat, and stress.
Leukotape has no flexibility. It is not even in the same category as the other tapes because it's purpose and design is considerably different than Rock Tape and Kinesio Tape. It inhibits movements, transitions forces, changes alignments by force.
All the tapes have their uses. And when used correctly will last considerably well. When it comes off, the number one thing I check for is Technique in Application. The vast majority of the time, there is an adjustment to be made. And when something as little as a 10% stretch difference can change the stressors and focus off the tape, you need to be careful in how you use it.

Anonymous said...

Thx, Anonymous Jan 2014. Which type do you think would be most beneficial for extremely hypermobile joints/creating stability, not for athletics but daily general motion? Working with an excellent PT on core strengthening but he doesn't tape. I tape almost daily as needed with KT regular strips but thinking of trying Rocktape.