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The best Apple Watch bands to show off your style

The best Apple Watch bands are hard to find in a sea of accessories, but we've done the hard work for you.
The Best
By
October 24, 2021
apple watch series 6 review watch strap
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Our quick picks for the best Apple Watch bands:

The Apple Watch is one of the most versatile and stylish smart watches you can buy, but the default band leaves a bit to be desired. To help you take your watch to the next level, we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff and done the research for you to pick out the best Apple Watch bands on the market.

Our picks include sport bands, leather bands, rugged bands, and more. Looking for more accessories for your new Apple Watch? Check out our other guides below.

See also: Best Apple Watch accessories | Best Apple Watch chargers

Editor’s note: We’ll update this list of the best Apple Watch bands as new options launch.


Best Apple Watch band for working out: Apple Sport Loop

Apple Watch Sport Loop
Apple Watch Sport Loop
Light, breathable, and stylish
The Sport Loop's breathable nylon makes it perfect for both working out and going out.

Pros:

  • Light and comfortable
  • Breathable nylon material
  • Large variety of colors

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Feels cold in winter

When it comes to the best Apple Watch band for working out, the new Apple Sport Loop is unbeatable. The breathable nylon material ensures sweat won’t accumulate on your wrist, and the new color options make it a stylish companion outside of the gym, as well. Since it’s an official Apple product, it run at tad pricey at roughly $50, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Looking for more Apple Watch workout band options? We also recommend:

Apple Watch Nike Sport band

If you want something for swimming, the fluoroelastomer Nike Sport Band is completely impermeable. The perforated surface allows some breathability and adds a touch of sporty style.

Buy now from Apple

Apple Watch band Catalyst

This third-party band is great for working out, and comes in at roughly half the price of official options. It’s made of durable silicon that’s perforated to reduce weight and allow breathability.

Buy now from Amazon


Best leather Apple Watch band: Nomad Modern Band

Apple Watch Nomad Modern Band
Nomad Modern Apple Watch Band
Aging with grace
Nomad's Horween leather Apple Watch band will look great the day you buy it and develop an attractive patina over time.

Pros:

  • Quality Horween leather
  • Develops patina over time
  • Hardy stainless steel fittings

Cons:

  • Only two colorways, both dark
  • Quite masculine

The Nomad Modern Apple Watch band features a high-quality leather that’s hard to find in this price range. This particular model has a streamlined look, but the company also offers a Modern Slim version that will fit better on smaller wrists, a bulkier Traditional version, and a waterproof Active Band Pro version. All of them are built to last and will develop an attractive patina over time.

Looking for more leather Apple Watch band options? We also recommend:

Apple watch bands leather link brown

If you can afford to spend a bit more, Apple’s official Leather Link band is an attractive option. It features a unique textured design, high-quality leather, and a variety of color options to suit your style.

Buy now from Amazon

Spigen Retro Fit leather Apple Watch band

On the other end of the spectrum, the Spigen Retro Fit band brings leather style at a much more affordable price point. Granted, it’s a synthetic leather, but it’s still soft and comfortable for all-day wearing.

Buy now from Amazon


Best metal Apple Watch band: Nomad Steel band

Nomad Apple Watch Steel Band
Nomad Steel band
Robust, classic look
This heavy-duty stainless steel link watch features a scratch-proof coating and will last for years to come.

Pros:

  • Classic metal-link look
  • High-grade stainless steel
  • Scratch-resistant coating

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No feminine options
  • Cold in winter

When it comes to metal bands, you have some excellent options. Our top pick is the beefy Nomad Steel band, which comes in silver and graphite for that timeless metal-link look. There’s also an even sturdier titanium model, but that will put you back a pretty penny.

Looking for more metal Apple Watch band options? We also recommend:

Apple watch band milanese loop stainless steel

For a more modern style, Apple’s official stainless steel Milanese Loop band is a fantastic option. It’s still a durable stainless steel, but the tiny mesh loop pattern makes it feel as smooth as fabric. It’s unisex, extremely stylish, and although it’s still expensive, it’s still much cheaper than the option above.

Buy now from Amazon

Spigen Modern Fit metal Apple Watch band

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get a great metal band. The Spigen Modern Fit runs a fraction of the cost of most other options, and still offers a quality stainless steel link design. It’s a bit bulkier and clearly less premium than other options, but for the price it can’t be beat.

Buy now from Amazon


Best rugged Apple Watch band: Spigen Rugged Armor Pro band

Spigen Rugged Armor Pro Apple Watch
Spigen Rugged Armor Pro Band
Unbeatable protection
With a silicon case that wraps around your Apple Watch face, this rugged band offers exceptional protection.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Durable and scratch resistant
  • Raised edge protects watch face

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Strict compatibility
  • Mediocre build quality

For fans of the popular G Shock watches, this rugged Apple Watch band should look familiar. It features the same hardy silicon design, which wraps around your Apple Watch face for added protection. Running only $20, it’s extremely affordable, but don’t expect quite the same premium build quality as you’d find in first-party options.

Looking for more rugged Apple Watch band options? We also recommend:

amBand Rugged Armor Apple Watch Band with Case

This next alternative offers even greater protection thanks to the included case. It’s roughly the same price and quality of the option linked above, but it does offer a few more color options.

Buy now from Amazon

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro rugged Apple Watch band

If you’re not a fan of the G Shock design language and want a band that makes your device look like a retro rugged outdoorsy watch, this is a fantastic option. Just be sure to buy the model that fits your watch size.

Buy now from Amazon


Best custom Apple Watch band: Casetify Saffiano Leather Band

Saffiano Leather Initial Apple Watch band
Saffiano Leather Apple Watch Band
Customizable colors, initials, and more
This attractive (faux) leather band is both customizable and environmentally-friendly.

Pros:

  • Customizable text and color
  • Biodegradable materials
  • Sleek, fashion-forward design

Cons:

  • Synthetic leather
  • Somewhat limited customization

When it comes to custom Apple Watch bands, the best we’ve found is the Casetify Saffiano Leather band. While it’s technically faux leather, it is eco-friendly, recycled, and biodegradable, which goes in line with Apple’s own goals. Customization is limited to colors and initials, but the build quality and fashion-forward design more than justify the price.


How we test Apple Watch bands

We rigorously test smartphones, accessories, and other products in our reviews here at Android Authority, so why should Apple Watch bands be any different? There are plenty of factors we consider before recommending a phone case.

  • Comfort: No matter if you’re working out or heading to a wedding, the best Apple Watch bands are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. In most cases, they can even be worn in bed without disrupting your sleep.
  • Build materials and quality: Poor-quality bands are prone to cracking or breaking with extended use. Depending on the material, they may or may not be water-resistant or even waterproof.
  • Compatibility: Most bands are compatible with all Apple Watch models, but we’ve checked to make sure the products selected fit the latest and most popular models, and noted in the text if this isn’t the case.
  • Installation and removal: Swapping your band isn’t too much of a chore, but a reliable latch mechanism is a key feature for any watch. Some have no latch at all, which typically comes at the cost of comfort.
  • Design and colorways: Design and color are personal choices, but it’s nice to have options. Most products we select come in a variety of colorways, and we’ve selected different styles to suit different tastes.
  • Price: Expensive doesn’t always mean better. You can find excellent Apple Watch bands for less than $20, but the best options typically run $30-50. You’re paying for premium materials, better build quality, and, in the case of rugged bands in particular, better durability.