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Taping for Blisters

If your feet are prone to blistering, taping may be a lifesaver.
While you may consider duct taping an extreme, consider the benefits of taping if you are highly susceptible to blisters. You can tape before your event as a proactive preventive measure or in a reactive mode after hot spots or blisters develop. Keep in mind that the overall goal of taping is prevention. While taping is a great skill to learn, you need to be sure the shoes you wear are the best fit possible for your feet. With shoes that fit well, your taping needs will hopefully be minimal.
Below are several methods of taping the feet using duct tape or Kinesio-Tex tape. Each method can be used with the other types of tape mentioned earlier. Following a description of each of these methods are descriptions of how to tape different parts of the feet. Remember, any tape that moves or shifts is worse than no tape at all. For more information on taping, read the article: The Two Tape Test.

Taping Basics

There are many types of tape available to try. Duct tape, Kinesio Tex Tape, Leukotape and Micropore have become popular with ultrarunners and adventure racers. Elastikon, HypaFix, EnduraSports and EnduraFix tapes can be used as well. Athletic white tape is not well suited for taping feet. The medical tapes can be found at or ordered through most medical supply stores or through Internet searches. The most commonly used tapes can be found at ZombieRunner.com.

Types of Tape

The following tapes are available through drug stores unless otherwise noted.

KINESIO-TEX tape is made with an elastic polymer and cotton fabric, is very thin and very porous, and has a heat activated medical grade acrylic adhesive. It is commonly used in physical therapy. It is a ribbed tape that stretches longitudinally. Designed for muscle taping, it comes in 2-, 3-, and 4-inch widths. This tape is very smooth and breathable, Be sure to use the water-resistant type. I like this tape for most taping techniques. Here's why:

  • It has a much smoother texture and is far easier to apply.
  • It's very sticky and has a nice longitudinal stretch and is resilient.
  • It can be used on the toes, unlike Elastikon, which is too abrasive for toes and may blister the toe next to it.
  • It's much easier to work with.

After applying, rubbing the tape briskly generates heat, which bonds it to the skin. I prefer it on the toes now, compared to Micropore, which was difficult to keep on. Kinesio-Tex can be ordered through KMS, a U.S. distributor, and ZombieRunner.

DUCT TAPE is a 2-inch-wide, very sticky silver tape with a fabric core that has excellent adhesive qualities. It does not breathe but is very strong and tough. Buy high-quality duct tape, which is available at any hardware store.

ELASTIKON, from Johnson & Johnson Medical Inc., is a medium-thickness, stretchy, breathable tape that comes in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-inch widths. It is thicker than most tapes and requires an edging tape like Micropore. It has a rough surface and does not hold up well in extreme heat. Available through ZombieRunner.

ENDURAFIX is a 2-inch breathable tape, with a removable backing, that provides extra comfort and protection especially to sensitive skin. It works well on toes, over hot spots, on heels, and for anchoring tape between the toes. It is similar to HypaFix.

ENDURASPORTS tape is breathable, and has a specially formulated zinc-oxide heat-sensitive adhesive is triggered to ensure secure adhesion-even with perspiration, water or cold weather. This 1-inch tape is strong and similar to Leukotape, working well on the balls of the feet and heels.

HYPAFIX is a 2-inch woven, breathable tape with a removable backing. Works well on toes and between toes and around the heels.

LEUKOTAPE P is a nonbreathable tape made by BSM Medical. It comes in one width, 11⁄2 inch. It is strong and very sticky-a good choice as an alternative to duct tape. It works well on the bottom of the feet and heels. Available through ZombieRunner.

MICROPORE is a paper tape made by 3M that comes in 1⁄2-inch and 1-inch widths. It's an excellent tape for toes. For areas other than toes, it needs to be applied over a tape adherent base in order to stick well.


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