why do football players wear tape on their arms

Why Do Football Players Wear Tape On Their Arms?

Football players in the NFL can be seen wearing tape that runs from the wrist to the back of the triceps. What is the purpose of such tapes? Are they wearing the tapes for a show? The tape is called turf tape and usually extends from the wrist to the back of the triceps.

So, why do football players wear tape on their arms? Football players wear turf tape to prevent abrasions and burns when they fall to the ground. When players are tackled to the ground, they can suffer burns due to the tough nature of turfs. Additionally, the tapes prevent minor cuts as players fall to the ground.

Join me below as I discuss why football players wear tape on their arms.

What Kind of Arm Tape Do Football Players Wear?

The tape that football players wear on their arms is called turf tape. It also goes by the name Kinesio tape.

The tape features an adhesive side that sticks to the arm and holds throughout the game. You’ll see the tape covering the entire arm from the wrist to the back of the triceps.

Most football games nowadays take place on turf surfaces as opposed to natural grass. Turf is artificial grass which is a lot easier to maintain. However, it’s pretty tough and can cause scrapes and cuts when players fall under tackles.

Most players wear white turf tape to help protect their arms from cuts. This is the case in the colder months of December when grounds become harder. It is a great choice for players on turf surfaces as opposed to those playing on natural grass.

Turf Tape or Kinesiology Tape

A turf tape of kinesiology tape is a self-adhesive gauze bandage that provides players with arm protection. The tape is usually soft but very strong. It is a tape that can be cut and precisely fit on any part of the arm for protection.

wearing turf tape

Turf tapes come in rolls and are great choices for therapists. They are usually easy to fit. You simply cut and place them anywhere on the skin. The tapes are also easy to remove easily without any residue or adhesive.

Purpose of Tape for Football Players

In football, the NFL rules on the right sportswear and accessories guide players on what to wear. Accessories like turf tapes are worn for various reasons. Below are some of the main reasons players wear turf tapes.

Arm Protection

Arm protection is by far the main reason players wear turf tapes. The tapes protect players from turf burn, which is pretty common in football. When players fall to the turf at high speeds, they are likely to suffer from skin burns.

Players can easily fall due to a slip, a push, or any circumstance on the field. Wearing turf tape can offer protection to the skin whenever players fall down.


Players can also wear turf tape for style. Of course, the tapes look great on you when matched with the sports uniform. Choose a tape that nicely matches your sports dress. Black turf tapes are among the best and easily match any color outfit.

You can find black tapes in multi-colors and with different branding to match your sportswear. So players can wear turf tapes to look great on the field. Some players just want to stand out in a crowd.

Players can wear unique tapes that get them easily recognized from the stands. It is a lot easier for a player wearing turf tape to be seen as opposed to those without one. 

You can see players in high school, college, or the NLF raise their arms and look cool to the crows watching them.

Hiding Tattoos

You’ll find some professional players with tattoos on their arms. Some of these players might want to hide such tattoos from the fans for personal reasons. Wearing turf tape perfectly conceals the tattoos. 

man with arm tattoo

It is another reason for professional NFL players to wear turf tapes.

Hiding Anklets / Bracelet 

Players that wear anklets and bracelets for religious purposes or other reasons might also want to hide them from broadcasters. Not every player might be willing to disclose their religious identities or what the anklets and bracelets mean to the world.

Using turf tape provides a sure way to hide the bracelets. Furthermore, some symbols are never allowed in some football tournaments. Wearing turf tape helps hide such symbols.

Health Safety

The tapes also serve to protect the skin from scratches and bruises. They are basically worn for safety reasons keeping your skin safe. You can also wear the tape to hide minor scratches that can get worse when falling to the ground.

Other Alternatives for Wearing Tapes

If for one reason or the other you can’t wear football tapes, there are a few alternatives to try. These include:

Leg Sleeves

Leg sleeves are great alternatives when you want to protect your legs from burns. These are tight-fitting compression pants that protect the leg from burns and bruises.

player in red uniform catching the football

Most feature flat seams and feel smooth on the skin. Flat seams are preferred as they help prevent skin irritation. Leg sleeves are important, especially in the colder months when the grounds are hard and cold. 

They can offer some protection whenever you fall to the ground.

Turf Sleeves

Players can also wear turf sleeves which offer protection to the arms. These are more than average sun sleeves providing great protection from UV and UVB rays.

Turf sleeves usually feature lightweight and breathable fabrics with great flexibility. They allow you to run and stretch without restrictions. The sleeves feature very stretch fabrics and feel comfortable when worn.

However, most players opt for turf tapes as sleeves can get pretty hot in warm weather. Tapes ensure your body remains cool and dry without having to deal with sweat.

Some positions in football, like quarterbacks, might prefer sleeves to tapes. This is because sleeves fit better and don’t have peeling risks. When throwing the ball, the stretching of arms can lead to part of the tape peeling off.

Football Positions That Wear Tape

Wide receivers, linebackers, and running backs will be seen wearing these tapes more often. However, every position on the pitch can wear turf tapes.

It all comes down to how often you’re tackled to the ground. Positions mentioned above are tackled more, hence prefer wearing turf tapes.

While quarterbacks also wear these tapes, most prefer to wear sleeves. You might wonder what quarterbacks do in football. Mostly, they throw the ball. They wear sleeves because the motion of throwing the ball tends to peel off the tapes.

Overall, high-impact positions in football require tapes to protect against the turf. This is why defensive and linebackers are always seen wearing turf tapes.

What Is The Best Football Tape on the Market

The Battle Sports Turf Tape stands out as the best football tape with a good grip on the turf. It is a latex-free tape, flexible, and easy to cut for precise fitting. 

However, you can also consider the Nxtrnd TRF Turf Tape, which is known for the most superior stickiness. You can play the entire game without the tape coming off.

player punts the football

These two are among the best turf tapes on the market. You can check our picks for the best turf tapes for football

Overall, a good turf tape must stick well and provide a superior grip. It should also feel comfortable and allow for flexible movements. Consider tapes that are waterproof, latex-free, and durable.

Why Do Football Players Wear Tape on Their Wrist?

Football players wear tape on their wrists to prevent turf burns. When players fall hard to the turf, they are likely to suffer turf burns. Wearing the tape protects the skin and prevents such burns.

However, players can also wear turf tape to look cool and hide tattoos, anklets, and bracelets.

What Is the White Tape on Football Players’ Arms?

The white tape on football players’ arms is turf tape. It is a unique type of tape also called the kinesiology tape. The tape material features mesh and adhesive parts. You can put the tape on your arm in a similar manner that band aids are placed.

Instead of small strips that cover specific spots on the arm like the elbow, turf tape covers the entire arm back. The tape is not permitted as one of the main sportswear. However, players are allowed to wear it at their own discretion.

What Is the Tape NFL Players Wear in Their Arms?

The tape that NFL players wear on their arms is a kinesiology tape with a mesh and adhesive part.

on game position

It is a tape that covers the arm from the wrist to the triceps providing protection from turf burns. The tape can also be worn for style and to hide tattoos, bracelets, and anklets.


The primary reason football players wear turf tapes is to prevent turf burn. However, as you’ve seen, there are various other reasons to wear turf tape. Turf tapes can be quite effective for players that hit the ground often. 

A good example is Alvin Kamara, who never misses turf tapes. Apart from protection, turf tapes look cool and help hide tattoos, bracelets, and anklets.

For whatever reason you might choose, wearing turf tape is a great idea. Take a keen look when watching the next NFL game to see which players are wearing turf tapes.

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