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The best Apple Watch sports bands: Nike, Nomad, and more

Water? Sweat? These Apple Watch bands can handle it, no problem.
October 27, 2022
An image of the Apple Watch Series 7 showing the Modular Duo watch face on a table
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Apple Watch is massively popular for its blend of style and features. It packs excellent fitness tracking no matter your preferred workout; you can even add custom workout routines to your Apple Watch. However, the biggest challenge is finding a reliable watch band that can handle your sweat and effort (and prevent a rash). Nike’s partnership with Apple has produced some great results, but there are so many more to choose from. Here are the best Apple Watch sports bands you can buy.

See also: The best Apple Watch bands

The best Apple Watch sport bands

These bands are designed to handle whatever you can throw at them. However, it’s important to consider materials, too. We’ve skipped on the metal and leather options and instead selected a solid mix of nylon and silicone bands. You won’t find Apple’s Solo Loop here, either, as we’re focused on adjustable options that can adapt to just about any workout. Let’s get to it.

Apple Sport Loop

apple watch sport loop

It’s tough to look past Apple’s own offerings when it comes to watch bands. After all, the company has had more than enough time to design a series of perfect partners. The Sport Loop is one such nylon option, and it comes in an impressive array of colors. You can choose from fun names like Plum and Kumquat, and each band offers a flexible hook and loop enclosure.

Apple adopted a double-weave nylon finish for its Sport Loop, which adds soft cushioning without locking in moisture. You’ll want to double-check that you’re grabbing the right band for your watch, as the Sport Loop comes between 40 and 45mm.

If you want a bit more of the Swoosh on your Sport Loop, you can also check out the special Nike edition.

Catalyst case and band

apple watch catalyst band

Our next pick, the Catalyst Sport Band, combines the best features of a case with the flexibility of a silicone watch band. Instead of relying on your Apple Watch’s built-in connectors, you can attach any number of traditional watch bands to the waterproof case itself. Catalyst’s case comes IP68 water-resistant, and the MIL-STD 810G certification means you can drop your watch from up to two meters without a worry.

The Catalyst case isn’t the most colorful — it only comes in black — but you can also pick up one of the brand’s sport bands to add a pop of color. These silicone bands slot into the pin connectors, and you can choose from a few brighter colors like red or Army Green.

Nike Sport Band

apple watch nike sport band

The classic Sport Band might be the most recognizable Apple Watch sports band on the market, but this version has a Nike twist. While the original option is a solid strip of fluoroelastomer, Nike’s version features a pattern of small holes that run the length of the band. These holes allow your wrist to breathe a bit better during your most intense workouts, and they trim a few grams off the overall weight.

Nike’s Apple Watch Sport Band comes in an impressive 15 colors across enough sizes to fit all of the most popular models. However, if you already have a Nike edition Apple Watch, there’s a good chance it came with one of these Sport Bands.

UAG Active Nylon

apple watch uag active nylon

Urban Armor Gear, or UAG, makes excellent cases for many of today’s best phones. As it turns out, UAG knows a thing or two about watch bands, too. The Active Nylon is a durable option with a stainless steel buckle to keep the hook and loop fastener from coming undone. UAG’s band is crafted from a high-strength nylon material that shouldn’t fray or tear during your most intense outdoor adventures.

Right now, you can pick up UAG’s Active Nylon band in a variety of hues from black to orange, as well as special edition Dark Gray or 80’s Blue and Pink finishes.

Twelve South ActionSleeve 2

apple watch actionsleeve

Depending on your workout, you may not want to have a watch strapped to your wrist. If not, the ActionSleeve 2 from Twelve South might be a perfect fit. You simply slot your Apple Watch into the flexible case and then strap the ActionSleeve 2 to your bicep. The elastic design comes with either 40mm or 44mm frames, and it adjusts for arms up to 15-inches around.

Should you work up enough of a sweat, the ActionSleeve 2 is hand washable, and the hypo-allergenic loop should be comfortable on sensitive skin. Like many of our picks, the ActionSleeve uses hook and loop to stay in place, and you’re currently limited to a gray colorway.

UAG Scout

apple watch uag scout

If you’ve ever considered a UAG case for your phone, you may recognize the Scout line as the lightest of the range. Now, the case has made its way to the Apple Watch, complete with a colorful silicone finish. The simple band comes in various tactical-inspired shades, including Billie, Eggplant, Mallard, and Olive.

UAG added a ribbed texture to the inner band, which should keep it locked in place for your toughest workouts. It also uses a stainless steel band to stay locked together while you’re on your next adventure. The tuck closure ensures that you won’t have to worry about the band snagging, either.

Spigen Rugged Armor Pro

apple watch spigen rugged armor

The Spigen Rugged Armor is one of the toughest phone cases on the market. It’s one of the toughest Apple Watch sports bands, too. Spigen shrank the key components of its tough case into a combo watch band and case that fits all models back to the Apple Watch 4. It packs raised bezels to keep the display safe, while the exposed back means you don’t lose out on any functionality.

Spigen adopted a matte TPU construction that looks and feels something like a G-Shock watch. It sports a traditional buckle closure, and the carbon fiber details offer a nice contrast from the black, Charcoal, or Military Green finishes.

Nomad Sport Band

apple watch nomad sport

Our next Apple Watch sport band on our list comes from Nomad. It blends a fluoroelastomer construction with a pin-and-tuck closure that locks the tail end tightly to your wrist. Nomad’s ventilation channels add a touch of style to the watch band, but they also serve a purpose. The long, shallow channels allow your wrist to breathe, while the FKM material is easy to wipe clean when you work up a sweat.

Nomad’s Sport Band comes in classic shades like black or Lunar Gray, or you can go for a more exciting finish like Dune or Marine Blue.

Dsytom Elastic bands

dsytom apple watch sport band

There’s a high chance you’re shopping for an Apple Watch sport band that brings a touch of personality to your wrist. Well, this three-pack from Dsytom includes elastic watch bands that are comfortable to wear but are also wildly colorful. A slew of patterns is available, including Boho Flower, Yellow Leopard, and Green Arrow.

Best of all, Dsytom’s Elastic bands are relatively affordable, making them a solid choice for those seeking variety, comfort, and affordability.

Swees Sport Silicone Slim bands

swees sport silicone slim apple watch sport band

The last Apple Watch sport bands on our list come from Swees. Unlike the other bands on this list, this three-pack uses a slim silicone construction so the band occupies less space on your wrist. That’s great for those who work up a sweat, and for post-workout nights out.

There are plenty of colors to choose from, including Sand Pink, Nectarine, Lavender Gray, and Stone, to name but a few.

Amsky Sport Bands

amsky apple watch sport bands

Apple Watch bands don’t have to break the bank. If you’re seeking a simple replacement for your standard soft silicone Apple Watch band but want a little more variety, this six-pack from Amsky is hard to beat. It’s available in a bevy of color combinations that you can chop and change throughout the week. Additionally, they’re compatible with all Apple Watch models. Best of all? They are really affordable.

Top Apple Watch band questions and answers

According to Apple, you can use 41mm bands with 38mm and 40mm cases, and 45mm bands with 42mm and 44mm cases. The 49mm Apple Watch Ultra can use 45mm bands.

Decide what your primary use case is. If you frequent the gym, get something that’s moisture-wicking, flexible, and comfortable. Avoid leather and stainless steel. If you spend more time in the boardroom, consider a classier option like a steel link or Milanese loop.

You can’t go wrong with the Sport Loop. Its nylon construction is great for daily wear and also wicks away moisture for better comfort while working out.

Yes. You can use your Series 6 bands with your Series 7 model.

Yes, you can use your Series 7 bands on the Apple Watch Series 8.