The act of wearing kinesiology tape, also called kinesio or KT, has blown up ever since Kerri Walsh strutted on the field during the 2008 Olympics with the mysterious strips strapped to her body, followed by a slew of other popular athletes during that tournament. Since then, it has blossomed into a multimillion dollar industry due to the number of athletes, weekend warriors and fitness buffs who have taken to using the tape to strap various body parts that might be suffering from one discomfort or the other. Whether it’s for a sore knee, injured ankle or shin splint, people from all walks of life have been using the tape to treat injuries that result from the active lifestyles they practice.
However, just as how there are many people using kinesiology tape, there are also different types of these tapes on the market. All of them fall into two main categories, which are namely natural cotton and synthetic. Of course, each manufacturer usually says that theirs is the best and it is hard for the consumer to make a choice based on all the claims being made by either side. With that said, it’s easier to make a choice between the two types of kinesiology tape if you know what you want and what to look for in the type you are looking to buy. So, what do you look for and which is better? The answer really lies in what you are looking for and what you need it for. The following comparison will shed some light on the differences and help make it easier for you when choosing the best therapeutic kinesiology tape.
Type of Material
The most obvious difference between the two main types of kinesiology tape is that one is synthetic fabric and one is cotton. Of course, you probably knew that but what does that mean? To begin with, cotton is cotton so you basically know what you will be getting since there are so many items, including clothing articles, which are made from it. Cotton is soft, absorbent and breathable and that goes for cotton kinesio tape. On the other hand, the best synthetic kinesiology tapes are made from synthetic microfiber with closely packed fibers like the ones from Warrior – Tape. This may or may not be as soft as cotton but is much stronger and waterproof, while being just as breathable.
Traditional kinesiology tape is made from cotton and is designed to last for an average of 3 days while in use. That means that if it used to strap an injured area, the athlete can only keep it on for three days before it loses its elasticity and may even start to itch by then. On top of that, it can be affected by moisture and chemicals produced by ointments etc., which may reduce the time that it lasts. Many of the best synthetic kinesiology tapes are actually improved versions of the original. As such, the material is much stronger and they may last up to more than twice as long as cotton kinesiology tapes. That’s right; they may last up to 7 days under normal use without losing elasticity. In addition to that, since they are totally waterproof and stand up against other substances such as sweat and pool-water, they will more than likely go the distance. Furthermore, the adhesives that they are made with are designed to provide a superior hold to ensure the tape stays in place, compared to cotton kinesio tapes which often have a lighter adhesive.
It is already established that cotton kinesiology tapes are usually softer based on cotton being a soft fabric. However, being soft is not the only criterion which determines how comfortable the tape being worn is. You see, even though the fabric might be soft, it is often heavier on the skin and the adhesive/elastic that it is composed of can result in skin irritation. Synthetic microfiber kinesiology tapes are ultra-lightweight, hypoallergenic and latex free. These attributes will result in a more comfortable fit, especially if the tape is to be worn for more than 3days.
With cotton being an absorbent material, it will hold water and other liquids that it comes in contact. This, however, can result in an uncomfortable wet and cold feeling on the skin which may prompt the user to change it. Synthetic kinesiology therapeutic tapes, on the other hand, repel water ill hold water and other liquids that it comes in contact. ore than 3days.
soft fabric. Hand therefore dry much faster when allowed to come in contact with liquids. This fast-drying feature allows it to be worn during activities such as swimming, taking showers and even during hydrotherapy. Therefore, you won’t have to remove it either before or after partaking in any of these activities since you won’t have to worry about an icky feeling against your skin.
Although relatively flexible, especially when combined with elastic components, cotton tends to lose its form after a while; hence the reason why most cotton kinesiology tapes can’t get past 3 days. By contrast, like Warrior – Tape kinesiology tape does not only stretch more to accommodate a wider range of body movements, they also take longer to wear out. As a result, they can be used on almost every body part without fear that they will lose form or wear out before time. This is made possible due to the high quality synthetic elastic tape it is made with, along with the composition of the microfiber that is used to make it.
So there you have it, a face-off between two of the most popular kinesiology tapes available on the market. As you can see, there are many advantages to getting a synthetic tape compared to the traditional cotton type. On top of these advantages, many high quality synthetic kinesiology tapes cost about the same or even less than their cottony counterparts. So, which one will you choose?