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Leukotape Blister Prevention Tape for Running and Hiking

Leukotape-P-Protective-Tape

Leukotape Blister Prevention Tape

Breathable
Sticky Adhesive
Ease of Use
Shelf Life
Effectiveness

Strong Adhesive Sports Tape

Leukotape is a sticky, breathable sports tape used for barrier taping to prevent blisters, that won't come off, even in very wet conditions. Use it to prevent hot spots when running, hiking, and backpacking or breaking in new shoes and boots.

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Leukotape Sports Tape is a sticky blister prevention tape with a strong zinc oxide adhesive that won’t come off, even in very wet conditions. It’s also highly breathable, so it can be safely worn by runners and backpackers for several days at time. It’s best used as a preventative barrier over potential hot spots, especially when you’re breaking in a new pair of running shoes, hiking boots, or are starting an exercise program. Leukotape is not intended for use on pre-existing blisters however, because the adhesive can pull off loose and broken skin.

Priced at just $10/roll, Leukotape is much less expensive and more effective than other blister prevention tape products like moleskin or duct tape. It’s also very different from Kinesotape products like KT Tape or Rocktape, because it’s non-elastic and has no stretch to it. Leukotape’s non-stretch quality makes it ideal for joint immobilization and it’s used widely for patellofemoral taping and therapeutic shoulder realignment.

Although Leukotape is sticky, it’s quite easy to pull off by hand and won’t tear healthy skin off when you remove it. Some people also coat their feet using Tincture of Benzoin before applying Leukotape to make their skin even stickier, but I haven’t found that to be necessary and just use the tape by itself.

Cut the strips into 3-4 inch strips, that you could use to cover your heels
Cut the tape into 3-4 inch strips, that you could use to cover your heels or other hotspots

How to Use

It’s awkward to carry a bulky roll of Leukotape, so most people carry strips of it stuck to release paper, the shiny paper that adhesive mailing labels come on. To make your own, run a few lengths of Leukotape across the paper. Then cut it into strips and carry them in a sandwich bag. They’ll remain sticky in that form for 1 year.

If you always develop blisters in the same place when running or hiking, pre-tape your feet with Leukotape. Trim a strip with scissors by rounding the edges at the corners. This reduces the chance of catching a corner and bunching the tape or peeling it off on clothing.

Leukotape

Apply it to the hot spot and rub it gently with your finger to warm it up and help the adhesive set. It’s best to apply several hours before exercise if possible to get a really tight bond, but not strictly necessary. I’ve often applied it while hiking and then resumed my trip without mishap.

Notes on Use

Many companies sell Leukotape with natural latex in their formulation. Make sure to check the product contents carefully if you are allergic to it. If the Leukotape adhesive gums up your socks, medical adhesive remover is all you need to dissolve it.

Written 2018.

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25 comments

  1. Great idea to put pieces on mailing label paper. I tried carrying it with a piece wrapped around a small medicine bottle (like you would take duct tape) and when it came time to use, it stuck to itself to the point of being almost unusable. Have been carrying a partial roll since that time, but am going to try your mailing label technique on my upcoming AT section hike. Thanks for posting.

  2. This was probably the most important prevention effort I took when I started backpacking again a few years ago.

  3. This stuff has saved my feet! I’ve found it sticks just fine by itself, and mailing labels work well.

  4. “won’t tear healthy skin off when you remove it”

    I’d be a bit more cautious than this statement suggests. Perhaps I just had really good (bad) batch of tape, but I’ve had a lot of issues pulling it off without ripping healthy skin off. I asked Skurka how to remove it once at a seminar and he laughed and said to let it fall off on its own. Great stuff though.

    • Really not an issue if you pull it off slowly. Even from very wet skin.

    • I noticed this week that my local CVS carries a weak version. One of the YouTube ers I follow Evans Backpacking Videos got into trouble when his tape pulled off a piece of tissue. The wound became infected. I have noticed that the glue on every type of tape I use becomes stronger with age. Leukotape should perhaps be replaced frequently.

    • Let’s look at Band-Aids. Adhesive tape with a addressing built in. You want that dressing to be larger than the injury. That’s why most people buy in multisize packs.

      The problem with Band-Aids is that many don’t stick well. Leukotape sticks great and stays in place. If the skin is intact, even if you start to develop a hot spot, apply directly. If the skin has been damaged, you need to apply a non-adhesive dressing, and cover that with Leukotape to keep in place. Essentially you are improvising your own Band-Aid with tape you know sticks.

      • I’ve tried this and that built in dressing ends up rubbing my skin and making it worse. If I am forced to use a bandaid, I apply the sticky part to the hot spot.

  5. Leukotape can be used over blisters; just need to dress the blister with something like spenco second skin first and then use the leukotape to hold it in place.

  6. I used this successfully over the last two years. I practised at home with it before using it for hiking. I placed it on two toes and wore it all day. I soaked in the tub each night. After the third night, I pulled it off as it was apparent it wasn’t comi ng off on its own. I was really impressed, I thought it would fall off after a day. I have since hiked using it and the tape has stayed in place. I too use mailing labels. You state it has a zinc oxide adhesive. I wonder if it has any healing properties?

  7. I don’t think it has healing properties. When used as a cream or ointment on baby bottoms, it provides a barrier to prevent continued irritation.

  8. I make up little rolls from the large roll over a soda straw. About 5 ft is more than enough. If you are careful, you can easily create nice neat rolls. Then, trim the straw to the width of the tape. Fits great in a little medical baggie with some bandages, a couple wet wipes, a piece of gauze, various meds, and my tiny Leatherman PS.

    I find that the tape sticks best if you take the time to clean the skin where you need it. Thus, the wet wipes. Water does OK, but you need to be sure its dry. The wet wipes use alcohol and dries better in humid conditions.

  9. I’ve started using leukotape and it does a nice job of preventing blisters. I’m still learning how to tape my feet in the most efficient way possible. Even when I’m taping at home I put the leukotape on release paper and cut it to the size I need. I find trying to cut it without the backing extremely frustrating. I get much cleaner cuts wit the release paper backing.

  10. I’ve been using Leuko P for several years now and beyond bluster/hot spot control, it works great to wrap wounds covered with gauze or to keep a band aid in place. On the trail it will keep either in place well past what typical medical tape is capable of. You can cut a Bic pen tube to length and wrap a decent amount of Leuko tape around it to replace the tape in your first aid kit. Plus it’s nice to have the extra tape on hand just in case you or someone else requires more than the pieces you have pre-cut.

  11. Fantastic article. This may be the most important topic that new and experienced hikers need to know: how to prevent and treat blisters. Everyone gets them. I encourage readers to read the article and the comments – together this is a wealth of valuable info. I am buying a fresh box of leukotape and Senco Second Skin now for the upcoming season.

  12. Fixomul/hypofix is also excellent ad comes on a paper backer which is easier to carry in heel size section. Also soft, strong and conformable – a great multipurpose dressing tape for my fa kit

  13. Are there any issue with the adhesive sweating through the cloth when you’re really hot and sweaty? I applied some of that white sports tape to a hot spot and the adhesive sweated through so then the adhesive got on my clothing and my skin and made my skin stick to things. It was awful.

    • Nope. Not unless the edges curl back when you apply it. Rounding any corners helps prevent this. But the adhesive doesn’t bleed through.
      In general, medical solvent – inexpensive – is the way to get rid of sticky stuff like you get with white medical tape.

  14. Question – after discovering the online enthusiasm for leukotape I started using it about a year and a half ago and I raved just like everyone else and shared it with everyone I knew. Now all of a sudden that it’s time to replace my older roll, almost gone roll – I’ve purchased three new rolls from three very different sources (Amazon, a local pharmacy, and an online pharmacy) and it will not stick. Not even for five minutes of walking and there is no sticky residue anywhere on my feet or my socks. It just bunches up under my heel. The rolls of tape themselves seem far less sticky, the tape pulls off as easy as a roll of Scotch tape – very little resistance and very little pulling needed. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to discover it won’t stick to my heels. So I put on some of the old stuff and went for a super hard, super sweaty hike – bombproof, didn’t move a fraction and left adhesive residue on my heels and socks. I’ve emailed BSN to inquire as to whether they’ve changed the adhesive and they have chosen not to respond. Does anyone else have any info about a change in the product? In the meantime I’ve just purchased some RockTape and will give that a try……..but am open to suggestions.

  15. You can try 3M Durapore “silk tape”. It does not have issues with adhesive, thin, sleek, durable. I have footwear system sorted out so issues with blisters are rear, but I occasionally use silk tape for around six years and very happy with it.

  16. I added this product to my Keep shopping list as well. We lead a 5 night/6 day backpacking trip on the Lake Superior Provincial Park Coastal Trail each September with up to 20 students and there is always someone who has a problem with ill-fitting boots.

    Thanks for this review.

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