This study explores the effect of substrate roughness on peel force for tape peeling. In order to assess the effect of substrate roughness on peel force for tape peeling, a new approach based on a peel zone model was established, including rough surfaces as substrate. This approach is applicable for rough surfaces and accomplished by using contact and adhesion theories. Experimental values were used to calculate peel forces for surfaces with a different level of roughness. The results indicated that the peel force for a rough substrate for the same peel angle is smaller than the one for a flat substrate and that increasing root mean square roughness decreases the peel force. This study is a different approach to prove conclusions that may be proved with experiments by using real animals such as Gecko, lizard, etc. Also, this theory is useful for explaining how some animals such as Gecko peels-off from rough surfaces more easily and quickly than from smooth ones. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.