Abstract Wear of the tape edge of magnetic tape in sliding contact with a stationary guide pad is investigated numerically. The thickness profile of the tape is discretized and each node of the profile is considered to act as an independent spring compressed by the guide pad. Archard's wear equation is used to predict wear of each node as a function of nodal force and materials properties of the tape. The simulation results show the evolution of tape edge wear as a function of the number of repeated wear passes. Good qualitative agreement is found between numerical predictions and experimental measurements.