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What is turf tape and why do American football players use them

  • 3 min read

Turf tape for football players

With more and more football players spotted with a tape patched from their triceps down to their wrists, turf tapes are gaining popularity in NFL players and are quickly spilling over to your local football team. 

In this article, you’ll know more about turf tapes, how to use them, and everything you need to know about them. Plus, find out why they’re becoming NFL staples.

Table of Contents 

  • What are turf tapes?
  • How do you use turf tapes?
  • What you need to know about turf tapes 
  • Why do football players wear turf tape?
  • Conclusion

What are turf tapes?

Turf tape is a type of athletic tape usually made up of nylon and cotton with a medical adhesive. It is used to protect the arms or body from “turf burns” resulting from body-to-body or body-to-surface contact. 

Turf tapes are used by athletes who are most prone to fast and hard impacts like gridiron football.

Although usual turf tape prevents cuts and scrapes, it doesn’t have the same muscle and joint support as kinesiology tapes which can also serve as turf tape. 

To know more about kinesiology tapes, you can check out the Tape Geeks blog

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How do you use turf tapes?

Most players put the tapes on the back of their arm down to the back of their wrist. But really, any exposed skin that has direct contact with the surface upon collision, can have turf tapes applied such as ankles, shins, and knees. 

In wearing turf tapes, pinpoint which part of your body is most likely to get grazed during impact. Even with clothes, if it doesn’t have additional protective padding, they will most likely be prone to burns and cuts. 

You can apply tapes on these parts as well by simply measuring your desired length and cutting them accordingly. Best to use industrial-grade taping scissors to cut the tapes for easier application. 

Check out our taping scissors at the Tape Geeks Amazon store

What you need to know about turf tapes

These tapes are meant to be placed on the skin and can stay on your skin for approximately 3-4 days. Since it’s designed for athletes, good-quality tapes are sweatproof, water resistant, and gentle to the skin. Most tapes use a flexible material to provide maximum comfort and mobility. 

Now that you know how to put them on, how do you take them out without ripping skin out of your body? In removing your turf tape, here are 5 tips you can try:

  1. Use body oil. Most types of adhesives usually soften when oil is applied. Apply the oil to the tape and let it sit for approximately 15-20 minutes. Start removing them once you feel the tape loosening.
  2. Roll - don’t pull. If you still want your skin in one piece after the tape, you can roll the tape slowly instead of forcing a pull to minimize discomfort.
  3. Pull in the direction of your hair growth. Even if you shaved before putting the tape, it's best if you go in the direction of your hair growth. 
  4. Shave your hair. To minimize pain when removing, the best practice is to shave the area before applying the tape. 
  5. Press down on the tape. If you don't feel like shaving or you just simply forgot to shave and your hair is under the tape, it helps if you press down on the tape while you’re peeling it off.

To know more about tapes and how to use them, check out the Tape Geeks Education page

Why do football players wear turf tape?

Football is a competitive contact sport. Players and aspiring players are eager to know how they can improve their game and minimize their injuries during each game. Unlike sleeves or socks, turf tapes are adhered to your skin and eliminate the risk of sliding down in the middle of a free kick.

With its flexibility, durability, and breathability, turf tapes aid your brisk movements and quick pivots while running your plays. 

Aside from its performance benefits, turf tapes are also a nice statement piece while playing on the field. Whether you’re in the mood to sport bright colors or go with basics, tapes can definitely make you stand out while you run towards your touchdowns.

To see what colors are available, check out our tapes at Amazon


Whether you’re looking for ways in improving your performance or simply preventing being on the sidelines due to injuries, turf taping should definitely be part of your next game plan!

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Did you enjoy the article? Let us know what you want to learn about taping by writing it down in the comments. 

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