A few weeks ago, the folks at RAPIDFORCE sent over a sample pack of their kinesiology tape for me to review. As I wasn’t very familiar with RAPIDFORCE’s products, I went to their website to find out some background on their product. They claim to have a patented layering system which is 15 times stronger than kinesiology tape and does not require layering or specific taping patterns to bring relief. This maximum support, combined with superior stretching in all directions the body moves, is supposed to make the difference in faster healing. Their tape differs from most other companies’ tape in that it is precut into shapes specifically designed to support individual body parts. I’ve used my fair share of KT tape in the past, so I was intrigued by their claims.
I decided to test the RAPIDFORCE tape on three areas: ankle, lower back, and calf. I have slight injuries to each area, but none of these are seriously injured enough to need medical attention, making them the perfect areas to test some KT tape.
For the first two weeks, I experimented with the kinesio tape solely before/during/after training sessions. Once I established that it wasn’t going to cause catastrophic bodily harm, I used it for three different OCR races.
Instructions say to stretch it taught for explosive exercises, and moderately (less than ½”) for light exercises and daily wear. I found this to be pretty accurate, and it didn’t take much stretching of the tape to feel significant support. The application process was very much simplified in comparison to other tapes. With only one piece of tape to worry about, RAPIDFORCE went on quickly and easily. Each individual shape came with instructions for correct application, which were very easy to follow. One thing to be very aware of: You MUST shave any body hair in the areas you are going to be applying the tape to! Some brands I’ve used have worked decently over the top of hair. This is not the case with RAPIDFORCE. The adhesion process needs a completely clean, hairless area in order to effectively stick. To be fair, this is explicitly stated in the instructions. So, fair warning to any of you who, like me, regularly make up your own directions: This is one time not to!
The RAPIDFORCE tape feels much different than other kinesio products I’ve used in the past. The first thing I noticed, right out of the box, was the thickness of the tape. It feels at least 2-3x thicker than average KT tape. It also has much less elasticity to it. Once the tape is on, there were no noticeable areas of variable tension. The tape supported evenly in all directions, which matched up with RAPIDFORCE’s claims. The only issue I found with this tape, comfort wise, was the thickness of the tape. This wasn’t an issue anywhere other than my ankles. I am super sensitive about how my feet feel in shoes. The RAPIDFORCE tape felt slightly bulky inside my running shoes, which led to me noticing it more than I would prefer to. That being said, I generally forgot about it within 10 minutes or so of activity.
RAPIDFORCE claims their tape can be worn for anywhere from 1-5 days. In my testing, I found no reason to doubt that claim. I never attempted to wear the tape longer than 2 days, as I don’t like accrue more than one or two workouts worth of sweat on anything I wear before removing it. However, there was usually no sign of breakdown or loss of stickiness during those two days. Naturally, I saw more breakdown when I wore the tape for OCR races, but that is to be expected. I also prefer to remove the tape post-race and reapply fresh tape once I’m all cleaned up. I had some spots start to peel during one particularly wet and thorny race, which is why this tape didn’t get a full score of 5 in this area. However, OCR has to be one of the most abrasive sports for KT tape, so I didn’t dock the score too much.
I did not enter this test expecting for the tape to cure me; that’s not the point of KT tape. However, I was hoping to feel some relief of symptoms during workouts and post competition. For both my ankle and my calf, I felt a definite reduction in pain during workouts. I absolutely felt that the tendons and muscles were receiving more support than usual. Afterwards, I had less swelling in my ankle and less pain in both areas. As for my lower back, I felt the additional support, just not where I needed it. The reps at RAPIDFORCE were unsure if KT tape would be able to give me any help in the region where my lower back pain resides, so I was prepared for this result. I used it on my back just on the off chance I might stumble upon a miracle cure. Sadly, I did not. During races, I didn’t notice the tape at all. This is probably the best thing you could say about a supportive device. The last thing I want during a competition is to be aware that I have something clinging to my body. This tape did not impede or annoy me in any way during races, which was a definite bonus. Post-races, I noticed much less soreness in my ankle. It was great to walk around without hobbling in the days after each race.
RAPIDFORCE KT tape looks pretty much the same as any other tape once it is applied. The version I received was black and had no designs on it. It did the job. You can’t really go wrong with black. Unfortunately, the only other color currently available is sand. There are no design options or fancy colors, if that’s your thing. I’m not in the habit of wearing KT tape as a fashion statement, so this was not important to me. But, based on what I see at the majority of races, there is a whole market out there for flashily designed tape.
OVERALL SCORE 4.5/5
I’m not placing too much emphasis on appearance, and there isn’t much else wrong with this product. RAPIDFORCE has created a very useful entry into the kinesio tape industry. For me, the two factors that set this product apart were the pre-cut shapes and the ease of application. I know that ease of use ultimately determines whether or not I use a product. This tape is not something that will get pushed aside due to complexity. I loved being able to slap it right on and forget about it. No measuring, no cutting; just mindless application. Exactly the way it should be. If the tape is anywhere near their claim of 15x stronger than other brands, then that is obviously the ultimate benefit, but I had no way of testing for that. All in all, I feel confident recommending RAPIDFORCE Kinesiology Tape.