Ankle tape has had its ups and downs over the past few decades. Perhaps brought to cult status by Cristiano Ronaldo in the early 2000s, it went to extremes with players wrapping up as high as their mid-calves by the 2010s (Bendtner for Arsenal was a prime culprit), for sometimes nothing more than aesthetic reasons. This prompted a crackdown by officials in some leagues and resulted in the emergence of multi-colored tape.
Taping does however have a specific usefulness to the football player, bringing us back to the reason taping was brought into existance in the first place – to keep your shinguards in place. And as technology has progressed, so has tape. Here are the options you should consider if you decide to go down the taping route.
Probably the best option, cohesive tape is woven in such a way that it sticks to itself but doesn’t adhere to any materials or skin around it. There’s no sticky side, making it perfect for use both on skin and on fabric.
The great thing about cohesive tape is also that it is designed to be flexible and stretchy, sticking to itself in any condition. It also comes in a number of colors, and is generally cheaper than all of its counterparts.
The tape popularized by the Ronaldos, Beckhams and Zidanes of this world. Medical tape is sticky on one side and usually made out of a fabric type material.
There is little stretch factor and the stickiness generally wears off after sometime, especially in wet conditions. Medical tape is on the expensive side, and comes primarily in white, making it harder to camouflage with your kit.
Pre-wrap, as per its name, is designed primarily to protect the skin from from other medical supplies (like medical tape).
It is extremely thin, soft and easily ripped. Like cohesive tape, it sticks to itself and leaves no marks. It also comes in many different colors and widths, and is again on the cheaper side.
The downside to pre-wrap is that you need lots of it. Due to it’s semi-fragility you’d need quite a few layers to make it effective as ankle tape – once you get that however, you’re set for the full 90.
The classy, slick alternative. Electrical tape has a good degree of stretch, a moderately sticky surface and is easily found in any hardware shop making it an easy go-to for many a player.
It usually maintains it’s stickiness for the duration of a match and is very discreet, also coming in many different colors.
The downside? Due to its sheer narrowness it doesn’t always do the best job in holding up those shinguards.
The Don’t: Hockey Tape
Worth an honorable mention for the simple fact that this tape should never be used in football.
Designed for wrapping hockey sticks (hence the name), hockey tape may at first glance resemble medical tape, and is often cheaper. However, hockey tape is extremely durable, has very little stretch, and has an aggressively sticky inside that never fails to ruin a pair of football socks.
Avoid at all costs.