Why Do Football Players Wear Tape On Their Arms?

It’s becoming a new trend, both in the NFL and college. Player’s are wearing tape which expands all the way from the wrist, to the back of the triceps. This tape is also called turf tape that extends from the triceps down to the back of the wrist.

Football players wear white tape on the back of their arms to prevent burns and abrasions caused by the field turf. The Kinesio tape helps prevent small cuts and when the player hits the ground.

In this article, we’re going to show you why football players wear tape on the back of their arms. 

White Tape Football Players Wear

Football players in the NFL, college as well as high school can be seen wearing white tape on the back of their arms. This look has become a trend for most running backs and wide receivers.

Similar to how we talked about spatting and how it gives the ankle support, turf tape on the back of the arms works a bit differently.

alvin kamara tape on the back on their arms

Instead of small strips covering important parts such as elbows or knees, notably, Alvin Kamara wears the strips all down his arm. Many have speculated why he wears this tape. Kamara admits that this has become part of his standard look, and he’s always protecting the back of his arms with the white turf tape.

Although it’s not permitted as one of the main pieces of equipment, players may wear this type of tape at their own discretion. 

What Kind Of Tape Do Football Players Wear On Their Arms?

It’s called turf tape or Kinesio tape. It’s an adhesive that sticks directly to the arm and prevents them from getting scraped by the turf. The adhesive sticks directly to the player’s arm and will last the entire game.

Football players will wear this tape from the back of the tricep, all the way down to the bottom of the wrist.

Football games were often played on grass fields up until the late ’90s. The innovation of field turf has since transitioned the game to these synthetic surfaces.

Turf is easier to maintain and manage, but football players are more likely to get cuts and scrapes playing on turf. This is why players will wear the white turf tape on the back of their arms, as they play on these turf surfaces.

Why Football Players Wear Tape On The Back Of Their Arms

When players (like Kamara) move at a high rate of speed, hitting the ground can feel like hitting a hard surface like concrete. Especially in colder months like December, the ground will naturally harden and provide less comfort when a player lands.

Players in the NFL wear the white tape for both style and protection purposes. Alvin Kamara, the running back of the New Orleans Saints, wears turf tape almost every game.

One user on Reddit suggests that he made a comment that his family would be able to see him in the stands from afar (Kamara is 5’10 tall).  He also complained to Madden for not featuring his swag in the new Madden 19.

Alvin Kamara Tape on the back of his arms

This elbow cosmetics may be part of Kamara’s overall branding, as he’ll inspire younger players to start sporting the elbow protection.

White tape that football players wear can be found here on Amazon.

Prevent Turf Burn

Turf burn is caused when any part of the skin hits the turf at a high speed. It causes a scrape on the skin which will feel like it’s burnt. An untreated burn can lead to infection if exposed to sweat and bacteria on the turf.

Turf burn when not wearing white tape

Turf tape can help prevent these burns, as the most frequent part of the body to hit the ground is the elbows and lower knees. Although knee pads in the pants do cover the middle and upper portion of the knee, the lower knee can be exposed when making contact with the ground. 

If you’re someone who frequently gets turf burn on your elbows or knees, and you don’t want to wear tape, here is a cheaper alternative:

Turf tape can not only help prevent burns, but it can also help prevent infection from the sweat and bacteria that are on the field.

The only way currently to prevent turf burn is to have the skin covered. Often, players don’t want to wear long-sleeve shirts or long spandex under their pants in warm weather. The long layers often will make the heat overbearing.

In order to prevent turf burn, players can wear turf tape to help prevent the skin from directly rubbing against the turf when landing. The tape should be placed primarily on knees and elbows, two joints that tend to hit the turf most often.

What Football Positions Wear Tape On The Back Of Their Arms?

Any position can wear turf tape. We often see skill positions such as running back and wide receivers wear turf tape, as they are the main target to be tackled. Offensive linemen can wear turf tape if they frequently hit the ground as well.

As for defensive players, any defensive player can wear it to protect themselves against turf burns. Especially if you’re in a high impact position like defensive line or linebacker, it would be beneficial to have elbow and knee protection against the turf.

Turf tape has been used as a cosmetic and a way to show off for looks; however, it’s an important piece of tape that can help prevent small painful cuts. We recommend turf tape for any team that frequently practices or plays on turf surfaces.

Where Can I Purchase Football Turf Tape?

Turf tape can be purchased here on Amazon, or at your local sports store. A simple amazon search can help you locate turf tape if you’re unsatisfied with our recommended option. 

white turf tape football players wear

If you’re unable to find the exact kind of tape that Kamara uses in a local store, a substitute may be Kinesio tape as a mix-up for turf tape. Although they’re used for different purposes, if you’re using it for cosmetic reasons, it will look similar. 


Turf tape can be effective for players (like Kamara) who tend to hit the ground 40+ times a game from blocking or carrying the football. Turf tape will help prevent burns and scratches, as it acts as another layer of skin. 

As Kamara has established himself as an all-pro talent, wearing turf tape for cosmetic reasons has started to rise in popularity for younger players.

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