The best Apple Watch bands and straps will help you make the most of using an Apple Watch. No matter which model you have, changing the band or straps can make your smartwatch look more sporty, fashionable or simply contemporary — and you can switch the style as often as you please.
While a number of the best Apple Watch bands come from Apple, there are lots of third-party options available at affordable prices, too. There are Apple Watch bands for women and Apple Watch bands for men — anyone can find the right Apple Watch band for them, and that’s what makes the Apple Watch the best smartwatch you can buy.
Because the band can change the look of the Apple Watch, there are sport bands, leather bands, metal bands and rugged Apple Watch bands to consider. Here are all the best Apple Watch bands you can get, tested and rated based on material, comfort, appearance, durability and value.
What are the best Apple Watch bands?
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To come up with this list of the best Apple Watch bands, we tested 15 bands of all types and materials from Apple and third parties with the Apple Watch Series 8.
The best Apple Watch band overall for sports, hitting the gym or general everyday wear is the Apple Watch Solo Loop, available from Apple. It’s among the most comfortable Apple Watch bands overall and can be worn in most situations, like using the Apple Watch for hot yoga or playing tennis with the Apple Watch.
When it comes to nicer-looking materials, the Marge Plus Genuine Leather is the best leather Apple Watch band and the Apple Milanese Loop is the best metal or stainless steel Apple Watch band. The Marge Plus is also a top value pick on this list, while the Milanese loop remains one of the most sophisticated Apple Watch bands on the market.
If keeping your Apple Watch safe is your top priority, the best Apple Watch band is the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro. This is both a strap and a case for your Apple Watch, meaning it can protect your smartwatch’s screen from scratches, cracks and other possible damage. For more options, see all the best Apple Watch bands below, listed based by material.
Be sure to check our guides on how to change your Apple Watch band and how to use the Apple Watch for more tips.
The Apple Watch Solo Loop is the best Apple Watch band for anyone who needs something sporty but stylish. Unlike most Apple Watch bands, it has no clasp or other closure — it’s designed to stretch over your hand, yet fit snug on your wrist. It’s sweat-proof and is a great choice for working out, but the smooth finish makes it suitable for professional or social scenarios as well.
We’ve loved the versatility and all-day comfort of the Solo Loop ever since it came out alongside the Apple Watch 6. That said, you must be careful about size selection. For the most comfortable fit, it’s important to pick the Solo Loop in the right size for your wrist. Use this printable tool for assistance. As long as you select the proper size, you’ll benefit from one of the most reliable Apple Watch bands we’ve ever used.
For a sporty Apple Watch strap that’s not made of silicone, the Apple Sport Loop is the best nylon Apple Watch band. The watchband comes in several two-tone finishes, which Apple regularly updates based on the season. It is made from double-layer nylon with dense loops on the skin side to allow for soft cushioning. The other side is made for durability, and taking a beating.
With help from the hook-and-loop fastener, you should be able to get this band to fit your wrist with ease. We found the Velcro lasted a long time, even with frequent sports and activity. But given the woven material, we discovered the Sport Loop needs to be cleaned more often than silicone. While it somewhat wicks sweat away, it’ll get soaked in a shower (or in our case, when we do the dishes.)
More often than not, when you buy an Apple Watch, the Apple Sport Band is the default, included strap. It’s perhaps the most recognizable of all the best Apple Watch bands we tested, made of an ultra-durable fluoroelastomer material that feels highly substantial compared to regular silicone. We’ve never seen a Sport Band break in all our years of wearing an Apple Watch.
The design is rather basic, though Apple sometimes offers seasonal colors to help shake up the strap’s style. This is a favorite one to collect in multiple finishes and swap out to match your outfit. And while we like the secure, yet discrete pin-and-tuck closure, we have a harder time putting this strap on than many others. It’s a similar experience to putting on a bracelet or traditional wrist watch one-handed. But as long as you’re a bit patient, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
Nike makes the best Apple Watch bands for athletes who love a brand-name. The Nike Sport Band features a blatantly sports-focused design; it’s made from fluoroelastomer, which is designed to hold up during intensive activity. The strap is lined with perforations, making this by far the most breathable Apple Watch band on this list.
As you might expect, this band is also water-resistant, so it’s a good choice for swimming or other water sports. Plus, it’s smooth enough that it won’t be a nuisance while it’s on your wrist, while the pin-and-tuck closure (like the one on the basic Apple Sport Band) holds the strap secure. Long story short, this is the Apple Watch band we recommend to those who use their wearable primarily for working out. How else are you going to close those Apple Watch rings?
Several of the best leather watch bands for the Apple Watch deliver a high-end look, but not always at the best possible value. The Marge Plus Genuine Leather has been one of our favorite Apple Watch bands for several years now because it provides a genuine leather option without needing you to empty your wallet. For under $20, it’s the ultimate bargain.
Made from premium-feeling leather, this band can accommodate most wrist sizes and it’s available in 13 colors, from brown and red to pink and teal. There are even multiple options of the same color with different metal clasps, if you want to match your Apple Watch finish. We wouldn’t wear the Marge Plus Genuine Leather band for physical activities, since it absorbs sweat and could deteriorate over time. But look no further for a professional, yet affordable, leather band.
The Nomad Modern Band is perhaps the most purposeful leather Apple Watch band we’ve tested. By that we mean we noticed a deep attention to detail, from the trimming to the shape of the adjustment holes to the subtle indents on the free and fixed loops. We surprisingly like the lack of stitching — it makes for a very modern look, which the Nomad brand is well-known for.
Yet as other Nomad leather products, the Modern Band is subject to patina, or changing color due to oxidation, over time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some people might love achieving a one-of-a-kind look. But it’s important to know beforehand, so you’re not confused if the material appears different after a bit of wear. The band comes in brown and black leather options, with the choice of black or silver hardware.
Apple has a long-time collaborative relationship with Hermès on a handful of designer-quality Apple Watch bands. The most recognizable band is the double-wrap Attelage Double Tour, and it’s gorgeous — though very expensive. Popular phone case brand Casetify sells an affordable alternative for those wishing their Apple Watch looked more fashionable. It’s still not Hermès, but it’s the best lookalike we’ve found.
Wrapped twice around our wrist, the stylish Casetify 2-in-1 Italian Leather Watch Band is a total conversation starter. When you want something simpler, an additional attachment turns the strap into a more traditional single-wrap band. This versatility is a major advantage. We found Casetify’s leather a little rigid at first, but after a few days of wear it felt comfortable enough to wear from a long day in the office to a fun night out.
Though it might not look like a traditional leather watch strap, the INI Adjustable Leather Strap offers leather material in a perfectly simple, streamlined design. Instead of regular closure and adjustment holes, it straps around your wrist with a magnet, much like the Milanese loop. This made it easy for us to take our watch off and put it back on, whether it was to shower or charge.
Apple has a similar-looking, in-brand version of a textured leather band with a magnetic loop, but this is one of those instances when you can spend less for style. Better yet, the INI Adjustable Leather Strap comes in 14 color options and even has an extended length version for those with larger wrists. The one caveat? We found that exposure to water or humidity made the material a bit sticky, so we recommended taking it off for exercise or washing dishes.
If you’re a fan of hand-made leather products, the Bluebonnet Case The Maverick Italian Leather Band will bring an artisan feel to your Apple Watch. Of all the best Apple Watch bands we tested, this one had the most authenticity and character. Distinct light-blue stitching detail paired with a slim shape and simple clasp make for an unassuming, yet sophisticated Apple Watch strap.
The material is subject to patina — it will change color with oxidation over time, so just don’t be surprised if it looks different than it did when you took it out of the box. Given the hand-made nature of the Bluebonnet Case The Maverick Italian Leather Band, we also don’t recommend wearing it while working out. That’s not to say we’re worried about durability — in fact, the band showed resilience in our day-to-day, as though it’ll last a long time.
The Apple Milanese Loop has been around for many years now, but remains a modern classic in terms of design. The stainless steel mesh, available in several metallic colors, delivers an elevated look to the Apple Watch that can’t be found with the basic sport bands that come in the box. Better yet, the material melded to our wrist better than perhaps all the best Apple Watch bands on this list.
We also like how simple it is to take the Apple Milanese Loop on and off. The magnetic closure is not only adjustable but surprisingly secure. In fact, the magnets are so strong that they pinched our skin every once in a while, but as long as we were mindful it wasn’t a major issue. Given the combination of style, comfort and ease-of-use, it’s no wonder Apple keeps the Milanese Loop around.
The Milanese Loop might be the best metal Apple Watch band overall, but at $99, it’s not the most affordable. We found the Sonnywoo Metal Stainless Steel Mesh Band the most comparable alternative for under $20, offering a similar look for less. The most obvious difference is that this band’s loop buckle is placed in the middle of the strap, instead of concealed where the strap attaches to the Apple Watch like you’ll see on the Milanese Loop.
As a bonus, it comes in multiple metallic color options, striking a balance of sleek and fun; however, we noticed the colors are subject to chip or fade over time. This is the trade-off for the low price, so we wouldn’t recommend it for working out or rugged activities. We’d consider it a fashion-only strap.
The Fullmosa Stainless Steel Apple Watch Band is the best Apple Watch band for anyone who wants their Apple Watch to look more like a traditional wristwatch. It comes in a variety of metallic finishes, all of which match existing Apple Watch colors, including silver, black and even red and blue. We found it makes the Apple Watch feel more sophisticated than it would with a sport strap.
Better yet, the Fullmosa Stainless Steel Apple Watch Band comes with a length adjustment kit and spare links, so you can custom-fit the strap to your wrist. It’s simple enough to change, so no need to visit a jeweler. While it’s great for a business meeting or nice dinner out, just note we don’t recommend this band for working out. It gets sticky with sweat or humidity, which could irritate your skin.
Rugged and protective bands
Depending on your regular activities, or even your career, it might be difficult to protect your Apple Watch from damage. That’s when you’d want a protective strap that also features a case for keeping your Apple Watch safe from scratches and other damage, like the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro. Thanks to raised bezels, even if you drop your Apple Watch, the screen should remain intact.
It won’t limit how you use your Apple Watch, either. The Spigen Rugged Armor Pro features precise cutouts for the smartwatch’s speakers, digital crown and side button. Our one problem with this band is that it’s only compatible with 44mm or 45mm Apple Watch sizes, so those with the smaller sizes of the Apple Watch (and those with the Apple Watch 3) can’t benefit from the same protective strap option.
If you want a strap that will last a long time, clean easily and look nice all the while, the Carterjett Tire Tread Apple Watch Band is the best Apple Watch band for you. It features a unique tire tread design that’s equal parts rugged and fashionable. It’s very stretchy, yet substantial when secured to your wrist, which is necessary for anyone who might not be gentle with their devices. Similarly, we found it’s a breeze to clean, whether it’s exposed to dirt, crumbs or even paint.
The Carterjett Tire Tread Apple Watch Band has a buckle clasp and comes in multiple color options, including a fun glow-in-the-dark version. Our only concern is that the free loop (the part that holds the extra length of strap in place) felt fragile compared to the the rest of the band.
The Supcase Rugged Band is the best Apple Watch band for construction work and outdoor sports, given its ultra-rugged and ultra-durable design. We feel it’ll protect the Apple Watch no matter what, from tall drops to tough terrains. The design reminds us the most of a G-Shock, a fan-favorite look for outdoor sport enthusiasts. Because, yes, G-Shock watches are still in style.
There are several thoughtful hardware details included in the Supcase Rugged Band design, including cutouts accommodating the Apple Watch’s buttons and speakers, added padding around the corners of the watch face and raised bezels. We wish it also came in a option for the 40/41mm Apple Watch size, but as long as you have the 44/45mm size watch you can benefit from all this rugged and protective Apple Watch band has to offer.
How to pick the best Apple Watch bands for you
When shopping for the best Apple Watch bands, we recommend all the options on this list. But the best Apple Watch band for you depends on what activities you do when wearing your Apple Watch. If you’re generally active or an avid gym-goer, a sports band is a great choice for you. Sweat may deteriorate leather or metal materials over time, not to mention feel uncomfortable while exercising. If your band has seen better days, here’s how to clean an Apple Watch band.
Alternatively, if you wear your Apple Watch as an everyday timepiece for business, errands and dinners out, you might want an Apple Watch band that looks more traditional. Either leather or metal will do in this case. Your Apple Watch band can make a fashion statement, and multiple options give you the chance to swap straps based on your outfits.
Finally, if you’re most concerned with keeping your Apple Watch protected, or need a band that can withstand the elements, a rugged Apple Watch band is best for you. Just make sure you pay attention to the size at checkout — you’ll usually find two options, 38/40/41mm and 42/44/24mm. If you don’t know your Apple Watch size off the top of your head, check your wrist. The size is listed on the smartwatch’s underside.
How we test the best Apple Watch bands
We conduct hands-on reviews of all the best Apple Watch bands considered for this list. We call in a number of Apple Watch bands, then wear them for for several days throughout our normal routines. During this time, we test how easy (or not) the bands are to put on and take off, as well as the overall comfort of the bands. This helps us decide whether they’re fine choices for working, or whether they’re simply for style.
The bands that ultimately earned our recommendation had something unique to offer, whether it’s a stylish design, sporty fit or protective casing. We also take in account the price of all the Apple Watch bands we test, in search of best value Apple Watch bands. Sometimes the bands Apple itself sells are the superior choice, but in certain cases we’ve found that budget options from Amazon and like perform just as well at a lower cost.