Let’s compare kinesiology tape vs. compression sleeves, identifying the unique benefits for people looking to overcome injuries, staying active or perhaps maximizing their performance. Each technology manages pain, injury prevention, and recovery with its own set of benefits. From shin splints to knee injuries and even plantar fasciitis, both methods are popular pill-free ways to deal with pain and stay active.
Whether you're contemplating kinesiology tape for injuries or whether to use compression sleeves for running, we'll try to help you sort through the options.
Price & Durability
Today, there are many brands of kinesiology tape available: KT Tape, OK Tape, TheraBand, and RockTape are just a few. They typically cost between $9 to $15 dollars a roll or $26 to $28 for highly water-resistant versions.
Compression sleeves can greatly vary in price. For a more affordable sleeve like Copper Fit, you can find them around $10, but for a sleeve that features a patented design made from premium materials that delivers enhanced support and durability, you can expect to invest upwards of $80-100 for something, such as Bauerfind. It’s important to remember, though, that even though compression sleeves have a higher price point, they are reusable. Typically, the more you spend, the longer they last and the more comfortable and effective they’ll feel.
Kinesiology tape requires skill and knowledge to apply. While some methods can be self-applied, many tape techniques require a physical therapist or well-trained partner to apply them for you. Depending on the body part the tape is addressing, a taping session can last 10-15 minutes or even longer. Since kinesiology tape can be applied to any part of the body in virtually any pattern, there are limitless use cases for kinesiology tape.
Compression sleeves require no training or skill to use. Just slide them on in seconds and go. However, it’s important to find that delicate balance between snug enough to provide adequate support while staying in place, yet not so tight that the sleeve is “strangling” your body.
When applied properly, kinesiology tape can relieve swelling and inflammation by pulling skin away from painful tissues, decreasing pressure, and increasing blood flow that promotes the body’s natural healing.
Compression sleeves squeeze your veins to speed up blood circulation. By making the size of the vein smaller, compression sleeves create faster, more efficient circulation. When a compression sleeve is stable and snug, they typically alleviate pain and support ligaments and muscles while helping to prevent injury.
Kinesiology tape is the opposite mechanism to compression in that it stretches and lifts the skin to create space in the skin tissues. By creating space in the skin tissues, studies have shown that kinesiology tape takes pressure off the pain receptors and increases blood flow into key muscles, ligaments, and tendons to counter pain while reducing injury recovery time.
The same mechanisms also deliver benefits while active and while recovering from activity. By promoting blood flow and increasing lymphatic drainage, kinesiology tape can assist in reducing fatigue and tightness when worn during activity while also accelerating the recovery time in between activities.
Benefits of Both
While it's possible to wear kinesiology tape and compression sleeves at the same time, you’re doubling your cost and increasing your application time. If you want the most convenient and effective way to achieve all the best benefits of kinesiology tape AND compression sleeves, you’ll want to consider GO Sleeves.
GO Sleeves offer the first and only compression sleeve products with built-in kinesiology taping technology that supports key joints, ligaments, and tendons. Every sleeve contains silicone strips that trigger natural pain reduction, increase recuperating blood flow, and aid in lymphatic drainage. The following diagrams illustrate the kinesiology mechanisms delivered by GO Sleeves and their recuperative benefits.
One of the more unique characteristics of GO Sleeves is their ability to uniformly apply the benefits of kinesiology while being engaged in very active sports and activities. For example, UFC Fighter Niko Price illustrates the combination of therapeutic benefits of GO Sleeves combined with no-slip, no-bunch support.
GO Sleeves are super-lightweight, breathable, washable, reusable and currently offer in knee sleeve, calf sleeve, and elbow sleeve form-factors.
Josiah Middaugh is the Head of Performance Science at GO Sleeves. Middaugh has a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology, 20 years of experience working with athletes of all kinds, and a long list of multi-sport racing accomplishments.
Middaugh’s professional racing accomplishments:
2015 XTERRA World Champion
15-Time XTERRA USA National Champion
6-Time USSSA National Snowshoe Champion
4-Time Fat Bike World Champion
10-Time GoPro Mountain Games, Ultimate Mountain Challenge Champion
2-Time USAT Winter Triathlon National Champion
Middaugh’s favorite ways to use GO Sleeves are to accelerate recovery and to mitigate calf muscle and Achilles tendon tightness. Learn more about Josiah’s coaching practice for endurance athletes at middaughcoaching.com.