Why Do Football Players Wear Tape On Their Arms? Explained

By Alex Mercer

January 22, 2019

It’s becoming a new trend, both in the NFL and college. Players are wearing tape that expands from the wrist to the back of the triceps. This tape is also called turf tape, which 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 tape (also known as Kineso tape) helps prevent minor cuts when the player is tackled to the ground.

In this article, we will show you why football players wear tape on the back of their arms. 

Tape Football Players Wear

Football players in the NFL, college, and 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.

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

Instead of small strips covering essential parts such as elbows or knees, Alvin Kamara notably wears the tape strips down his arm.

Many have speculated why he wears this tape. Kamara admits 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 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 it 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 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 white turf tape for 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 commented that his family would 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 elbow protection.

Prevent Turf Burn

Turf burn is caused when any part of the skin hits the turf at 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 elbows and lower knees are the most frequent part of the body to hit the ground.

Although knee pads in the pants 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 are cheaper alternatives:

  • Elbows – Turf Sleeve
  • Knees – Leg Sleeve 

Turf tape can help prevent burns, but it can also help prevent infection from the sweat and bacteria on the field.

The only way 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.

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 often hitting the turf.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Football Articles Here

Football Positions That 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 targets to be tackled. Offensive linemen can wear turf tape if they frequently hit the ground.

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 essential piece to help prevent minor painful cuts.

We recommend turf tape for any team that 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 unsatisfied with our recommended option. 

white turf tape football players wear

If you cannot 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, they will look similar if you use them for cosmetic reasons. 


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 increased in popularity for younger players.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}