Let’s talk tape!! Upgrade your options!

Picture of Tonya Olson

Tonya Olson

Dr. Tonya Olson, MSPT, DPT
Board Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Certified Manual Physical Therapist

Related Articles

This photo is of an attempt to manage a blister first with Leukotape, then with Duct tape. What I’m not showing is the blister underneath that was exacerbated by the increased friction of the bulky and inflexible nature of the duct tape.

And, the potential for tearing the roof of the blister off when attempting to remove the Leukotape and duct tape due to the strength of the adhesive placed directly on the roof of the blister.


During the course of the race, this runner stopped multiple times to attend to this blister, losing time, increasing their (and their crews‘) stress, and their chance of achieving their race goals and staying ahead of the cutoff times.


Not to mention that at the end of the race, the tape needed to be removed extremely carefully, in a time-consuming manner. I had to cut small pieces, apply lubricant to weaken the hold of the adhesive to tease the tape off so I could address and care for the blister.


Knowing the qualities of your materials and the issues with the tissues at hand is important when providing footcare during a race.


Duct tape is „old school“ and often used by runners and crew. It was fine to use when there weren‘t better options available.




I urge everyone to move into the new millennium and avail themselves of the far better options available nowadays. Your feet will thank you, your crew will thank you, and your chance for reaching your race goals will be greatly increased.


Leukotape is the duct tape of the modern era. It does not stretch, has strong adhesive and is generally „burly“ in nature. For single day races, it‘s best to use on the heels or across the bottom of the feet on tissue that is intact and not damaged.


Coverroll is mainly used to tack down the leading edge of tape placed on the ball of the foot by cutting it into a figure-eight and placing between the toes.


Kinesiology-type tape like Kinesio-tape, Rocktape, K-tape, etc stretches lengthwise, has a low profile and adhesive strong enough to stay on 55 miles and longer. It‘s superior for taping toes because of the stretch, flexibility and forgiving nature.


**Regardless of the tape you choose-Never place tape directly over compromised skin Without protecting it from the tape adhesive by placing a bit of Zinc Oxide over the blister/damaged tissue. Zinc Oxide will help dry the skin, and protect it from the tape**


**with a little bit of practice and an understanding of the materials in your kit, you can save yourself as a runner or your runner as crew from having to repeatedly address a blister during a race**


**Properly applied tape should last at least 50 miles in race conditions**


**Do it right the first time!**


**In my 14 years of experience taping feet at mile 55 at the Michigan Bluff aid station, I routinely see intact tape at the finish line**