High Quality Feet Pre-Taping

August 1, 2013 by
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footcare 

Over my years of taping feet, I have seen techniques improve to where pre-taping is more helpful then ever before.

Often times, in the middle of a race, one cannot take the time necessary to do a high-quality tape job. Things may be rushed. The runner may be in a huge hurry to make a cut-off. The feet and skin may be wet. Conditions may be less than ideal – lightening, set-up, workable access/angle to the feet, supplies, etc.

Bad Tape Job

Bad Tape Job

However, before a race, a hike, or run, there is more time to do a high quality pre-tape job. It’s also the time to practice your skills and learn how to do a really good tape job. The first photo here shows a pretty poor tape job on toes. In this photo, the tape will probably peel off from sock changes and general wear. If any one of the pieces comes off, the now untapped toe will be subject to the roughness of the tape on the neighboring toe. It looks like Leukotape, which sticks well, but does not conform to the curves of toes and other places on the foot. It is possible to do a great tape job on toes with Leukotape – but it take time and practice. I must admit I like Leukotape for certain conditions and tape jobs.

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles


A good, high-quality pre-tape job should hold up well, for several days if necessary, and cared for. In this next photo, you can see the right foot of Bogie Dumitrescu after finishing a solo, self-supported crossing of Death Valley followed by up and down to Mt Whitney. You can see how the tape has held for 157 miles in the extremes of Death Valley. It’s hot on the valley floor, but there are two long uphill’s climbs followed by long downhill’s over two passes. An 11-mile trail hike follows that up to and another 11 back down Whitney. The tape job held for 157 miles! In fact it looks perfect.

The tape is Kenesio-Tex on the heels, balls of the feet and big toes. Hypafix tape is used in a figure eight cut to anchor the tape at the forward edge of the ball of the foot, between the toes, and anchored again on top of the foot. This prevents the forward edge of the tape from rolling.

Bogie's feet after 157 miles!

Bogie’s feet after 157 miles!

The next photo shows Bogie’s two feet after the tape was removed. No blisters. One of the reasons the tape held is that Bogie managed his feet well. He kept them as dry as possible. This is important in Death Valley where often Badwater runners get their feet wet when they are sprayed or doused with water in an effort to cool them.

Bogie was fortunate to have his feet taped by Denise Jones, the Badwater Blister Queen. Denise is a master at taping feet and does a precision tape job. This is not a 30-minute tape job. It takes as long as it takes to do it right. Denise and I tape almost identically. If we apply a piece of tape and it looks or feels wrong, we remove it and retape. Our aim is to get the runners on the course and able to finish with good feet.

Danny's Feet Taped Before Badwater

Danny’s Feet Taped Before Badwater

The point of this blog post is to show a good tape job that can hold up over multiple days. The final photo shows Danny Westergaard’s feet that Denise taped for Badwater three weeks ago. Danny’s feet are taped perfectly. You can see the small strip of Hypafix that Denise wrapped around Danny’s big toes to further secure the tape edges.

I commend Bogie and Danny for their runs. Bogie completed his solo self-supported Badwater crossing the week before the official Badwater ultramarathon. Danny completed his 7th Badwater, went to the summit of Whitney and then reversed direction and went back to the start for his 7th Badwater Double.

And I commend Denise Jones for her care of runner’s feet.  She’s a class act. Thanks Denise.

Kinesio, Leukotape and Hypafix tapes, as well as Compound Tincture of Benzoin and other foot care supplies are available at Zombierunner.com.

Disclosure: When you purchase through this link, I make an affiliate small amount of each sale.

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7 Comments on High Quality Feet Pre-Taping

    […] will be many people for whom taping is a successful way of preventing foot blisters. Taping technique is very important in maximising the chance of the tape remainng in place (in spite of perspiration […]

    […] and kept in a snaplock bag to minimise bulk. Either of these tapes, and even KinesioTex Tape (favoured by John Vonhof), can be used for blister […]

  1. Adam Schwartz-Lowe on Wed, 21st Aug 2013 7:00 am
  2. Hi John, you taped my feet a 4 years ago at Western States and since then I’ve been doing the same tape job pre-race. I only have to tape my big toes, as they are the only ones that blister and I follow the guidelines from your book. The problem I have is that during races where my feet are wet for hours at a time the tape comes off and is loose in my sock.

    Do you have any recommendations for helping the tape stay secure during long wet periods? Or is that simply a price to be paid for being wet? Also, is it OK to tape up the night before the race? I have Wasatch coming up, and with the 5AM start I don’t relish the prospect of taping at 3 AM

    thanks for you help,

  3. John on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 3:18 pm
  4. Adam,…. Some time you find old comments that one never sees. Sorry. Hope you did okay in Wasatch 2013. I use Compound Tincture of Benzoin before taping most areas. You could use that on your big toes, and yes, tape the night before will give the tape time to bond with your skin and the adhesive to set. We pre-tape the night before at badwater all the time. I have also moved to either StrengthTape or RockTape H20, which I get from http://www.theratape.com. They are made for wet conditions (and work for sweaty feet too).

  5. Posture Brace on Sat, 11th Feb 2017 8:47 am
  6. Hey will this work for a marathon runner like me? What’s the best tape you recommend for someone who runs often?

  7. John on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 5:27 pm
  8. Leukotape will last and can be fond online. Micropore paper tape or one of the Kinesiology tapes are also good. They can work for any runner who’s feet need patching or for pre-race taping.

    […] Learn how to tape those areas in advance. […]

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