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The best Apple Watch Ultra bands you can buy
The Apple Watch Ultra is a brute of a smartwatch. Although it’s enticing for outdoor adventurers, it makes a massive statement for those considering an everyday wear timepiece. Choosing the right Apple Watch Ultra band to suit your style, use case, and budget is essential. Here’s everything you need to know before picking a strap, from the best official and third-party options to the Ultra’s compatibility with older bands.
How to find the right Apple Watch Ultra band
Apple offers three official bands for the Apple Watch Ultra, but plenty of third-party alternatives exist. Whether you go with an aftermarket brand or Apple itself, we recommend factoring in a few considerations before choosing a strap for your Ultra.
- Use case: If you plan to use the Apple Watch Ultra to its adventurous fullest, consider a band that will keep up with these demands and withstands your lifestyle. All of Apple’s official Ultra bands are made with particular use cases in mind as described by their names; however, you may want a band better suited to the office or daily wear.
- Material: Dovetailing with the use case, the choice of band material is important. You may love leather bands, but if you’re a regular runner or swimmer, you should rather opt for a water resistant and rugged alternative.
- Function or fashion: Do you want a band that looks good on your wrist and don’t care about its cons, or do you not mind if a band is bland as long as it protects your investment?
- Price: Finally, like the Apple Watch Ultra, its bands can be pretty expensive. Before turning out your pockets, set a budget and work within those confines.
Only one Apple Watch Ultra color and finish is offered, so picking a band is your only physical customization option.
Can I use old Apple Watch bands on my Ultra?
We understand that many users will likely want to use older Apple Watch bands on their new Ultra, and that’s entirely possible. Apple notes that while specifically designed 49mm bands function best with the Ultra, the large watch is also compatible with 45mm, 44mm, and 42mm watch bands. The company recommends that these bands are only used for everyday, casual wear.
This is great for those who boarded the Apple Watch train years back and have subsequently collected watch bands from various models. For instance, while the Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t have a Nike Edition, you can use the 45mm Nike strap on the Apple Watch Ultra. Similarly, if you’ve purchased a 45mm Hermes Apple Watch in the past, you can use that band on the Ultra, too.
Notably, 41mm, 40mm, and 38mm bands are not compatible with the Apple Watch Ultra, but find a band to suit your needs below.
The best Apple Watch Ultra bands
Apple Watch Ultra Ocean Band
The Apple Watch Ocean Band is one of three official straps offered with the Ultra. As its name suggests, it’s marketed to those who enjoy training in water, be it diving, swimming, or alternative watersport. In our opinion, the Ocean Band is the most attractive of the three official bands, sporting a tubular design, a secure clasp design, and a removable metal piece to fasten the excess strap length to the watch.
Apple Watch Ultra Trail Loop
The Apple Watch Trail Loop is among the simpler band you can buy for the Apple Watch Ultra and is best for runners. Unlike the Ocean Band’s more traditional design, the Trail Loop is a long piece of fabric that loops around one side of the watch and fastens with Velcro. The strap features a small pull tab that makes quick adjustments possible. Aesthetically, it’s the least exciting of the three official Apple Watch Ultra bands available.
Apple Watch Milanese Loop
If you don’t plan on using your Apple Watch Ultra in the ocean or on the trail but instead want to accentuate its brutish aesthetics, consider the Milanese Loop. Not explicitly designed for the Ultra, the Milanese Loop will fit the large watch and uses a metal mesh design that’s comfortable and timeless. We wouldn’t recommend taking it on a challenging hike, but this is a great Apple Watch Ultra band for fashionable folk.
Nomad Rugged Sport Band
Apple doesn’t offer a simple silicone band for the Apple Watch Ultra, but Nomad has you covered. The company’s Rugged Sport Band is a chunky fluoroelastomer band that’s waterproof and designed to fit the Ultra without issue. It also packs ventilation channels running the strap length to aid skin breathability. While official Apple Watch Ultra bands are fairly limited regarding colorway options, the Nomad Rugged Sport Band is offered in eight colors, including our favorites Electric Blue and High Volta.
Spigen Lite Fit
Those who like the Apple Trail Loop’s fit and feel but prefer a more secure fastening system should consider the Spigen Lite Fit. It trades Velcro for a metal loop and buckle design. The Lite Fit features neat, tightly-woven nylon that should do well on the trail or on the road. Four colorways are on offer, too, including Black, Khaki, Navy, and Orange.
Spigen Rugged Armor Pro
While the Apple Watch Ultra is durable as is, another layer of protection will help preserve your investment. This is where the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro comes in. The Casio-like case shrouds the entire Ultra in a protective cocoon. It includes a screen protector and raised bezels to minimize impact damage. Spigen offers the Rugged Armor Pro in four colorways: Black, Vintage Khaki, Space Crystal, and our favorite option, the transparent Crystal Clear.
Apple Watch Ultra bands FAQs
The Apple Watch Ultra will work with 49mm, 45mm, and 44mm bands. Apple recommends that 45mm and 44mm bands only be used for everyday casual wear.
The best Apple Watch Ultra band will depend on your use case, personal style, and budget. We like the simplicity of the Trail Loop, but love the orange and yellow colorways of the Alpine Loop and Ocean Band, respectively.
Yes, the Apple Watch Ultra is certified for recreational diving, so a shower is more than within its design parameters. You may not want to wear a leather or fabric band while showering, as both materials will hold onto any water.