I Tested All Three Apple Watch Ultra Band Types
Since first trying on the new Apple Watch Ultra, I’ve been inundated with questions about which Band to choose. While it may seem like there are many models of the Apple Watch Ultra, in reality, there’s only one hardware model, with three types of bands. Each Band has a different target market, though they overlap quite a bit. And honestly, any of the three bands can be worn for any activity equally well.
Note that while there are three core Band variants, they do come in a handful of colors each. I don’t have all the colors, but that doesn’t impact the wearability. So in my case, I wore each Band through a variety of workouts and daily usage, enough to get a good feel for things. In some cases – such as the Alpine Loop, I also wore it during a 70KM/14hour hike. You know, just to put it through its alpine paces. Meanwhile, for the Ocean Band, I wore that for both day usage, as well as an openwater swim. And for the Trail Loop, for both workouts and daily usage. I also slept at least one night with all three types. Which, sounds wrong when you write it out that way.
Note one super important detail – aside from also coming in different colors, they also come in different sizes. I promise you, this will ABSOLUTELY make a difference between you liking the Band and hating it. Size matters. Oh, and to preempt sizing questions. My wrist size is 17cm (or about 6.5 inches), and I’m 6’2”/188cm tall. My wife seen in some shots here has a wrist size of 14cm (or 5.5 inches) and is 5’2”/158cm tall.
Got all that? Good, let’s get rolling.
(Finally, semi-related, note that these new Ultra bands do work with existing Apple Watch 44mm 45mm watches. And inversely, other bands from Apple Watch 42mm, 44mm, and 45mm watches all work with the Apple Watch Ultra units.)
The Alpine Loop:
Based on all the feedback I’ve seen thus far, this is by far the fan favorite – at least visually. And if my opinion counts for anything, it’s absolutely my favorite design-wise as well. It just looks so sharp, both in person and in photos. It’s no wonder that Apple almost always defaults to this version in most of their Apple Watch Ultra marketing bits. It pops, is clearly recognizable, and says ‘Yo, I’m orange traffic cone meets 800 watch!”
The way the Alpine Loop Band works is that it doubles back on itself, and you latch the metal clasp into one of the little sewn loops. This actually has two somewhat interesting effects. Each adjustment (different hook level) that you pick impacts how loose the watch is. Which in turn, impacts optical HR (heart rate) sensor accuracy. So you might wear it on one specific hook for workout usage (where snug/tighter is better to prevent bounce, as bounce introduces accuracy issues), and then a different hook for daily usage.
However, what you quickly realize is that you can simply count-off how many hooks you are from the top of the Band. In my case, I’ll generally wear it on the 2nd to last hook for workouts, and 3rd to last hook for daily usage (using the large size model).
There is no Velcro at all here. This is purely all about hooks and loops. The only adjustability is which loop you put the hook in, as that in turn ‘normalizes’ the rest of the strap, including how it fits when it wraps through the other side of the watch.
Those of you that watched my initial Apple Watch Ultra hands-on video shot at the Apple Keynote remember me saying that I loved the Apple Watch Alpine Loop visually, but found it a solid pain in the ass to get on/off. Given I was putting it on/off repeatedly in a short timeframe, my assessment at the time was valid. However, I think two things might have impacted it in terms of longer usage.
The first is that I don’t actually know which size bands I was using at the time. I just don’t have photos of it. Whereas the strap I’ve been using is specifically a Large strap. The Large works well, though I suspect a Medium would give me a touch bit more leeway.
The second piece that impacted my thinking is that I was frequently taking the strap on/off. Which, is somewhat annoying. As I type this, I just finished going through an airport security checkpoint, and in the heat of the last-second rush through the machines, I realized I didn’t have my watch off, so I struggled to quickly remove it, since the little curled hook portion kept catching. Of course, it’s designed to do that, so it doesn’t fall off.
However, in the real world of the Apple Watch Ultra, you’re only charging every other day (based on my testing), so removing it to charge is only happening every other day, and likely in less frenzied conditions than either an airport security checkpoint or the media-frenzy of the hands-on testing tables following the annual Apple keynote session.
And here’s my wife with it. Obviously, this ‘Large’ strap is far too big for her. She’d need a small, but I figured I’d include it nonetheless:
There are three color options for this Band, all available in small (130mm-160mm wrists), medium (145-190mm wrists), or large (165mm-210mm wrists). They are: Orange, White (Starlight), and Green.
The Trail Loop:
This strap is probably my favorite to wear, though not my favorite in terms of looks (that’s the orange Alpine Loop). The Trail Loop is very similar to other trail-style watch bands we’ve seen from Garmin (on their Enduro watches), COROS (on their Pace 2 watches), and other companies. By no means did any of these endurance sport watches pioneer this concept – it’s been around a while.
The appeal of the Trail Loop style Band is that it’s infinitely adjustable, and quickly adjustable. Given there are no pre-set holes/hooks/loops, you can get it exactly as tight (or loose) as you want it, ideal for optimum heart rate sensor accuracy. It’s also ideal when you want to tighten up the strap for a workout, but then quickly loosen it post-workout for a more casual feel. In my case, I’m wearing a medium/large strap.
The strap snaps in both ends of the watch, and then loops onto itself. It has four Velcro pads, so it’s pretty darn secure. Companies often only have one or two Velcro sections, but this has four separate sections that act as a fault tolerance failover cluster.
One tiny little nice touch on the Apple Trail Loop Band, is if you look above at the 2nd to the last Velcro chunk, it actually has a small rectangular stopper sewn into it. Meaning, it can’t go all the way out of the metal clasp system (whereas both Garmin COROS fabric straps lack that). Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t fall off your wrist – because at that point it’s crazy loose. But, it does keep the strap from unraveling entirely.
Like the Alpine Loop, it retains water after a shower. So, keep that in mind.
As noted earlier, this is probably my favorite strap in terms of wearability/usage and ease of adjustment, though I don’t find it as pleasing visually/style-wise as the Alpine Loop one. Also note that while I wouldn’t be that concerned about wearing this strap swimming, I would be super concerned with wearing it surfing – or any other potentially high-impact situation. With normal swimming, you’d feel it getting looser and flopping around if somehow the Velcro came loose. But with surfing, a wave could basically pull it off in an instant and you’d never have a chance.
Here it is on my wife’s wrist. Initially, this is the medium/large, which technically fits, but is a touch too big and the tab kinda sticks up all weird.
So she switched to the Small Band, and that fit perfectly. Well, Band-wise anyways.
Color options: Note, there are three color options for this Band, all available in small (fitting 130-180mm wrists) or medium/large (145mm-200mm wrists), they are: Yellow/Beige, Black/Grey (with orange accent bit), and Blue/Grey.
The Ocean Band:
First up, and most importantly – this Band is not a loop. I mean, sure, it has a gazillion little noodle-like loops and even a magical metal loop inside of it, but this is technically a normal watch Band that doesn’t do a loop-de-loop. However, despite its lack-of-loop (LOL) status, it makes up for it with its slightly unique metal clasp system. This strap is also specifically designed to be a bit larger and more viable for fitting over wetsuits – and even has a secondary extension strap you can buy for 50. Of course, keep in mind if you put it over a wetsuit, you’ll lose any heart rate sensor-related data.
If you check out the parts, you’ve got basically three pieces: The top strap, the lower strap, and then a small metal thingy. The small metal thingy is actually an adjustable strap keeper, that ensures your strap doesn’t flop around.
You’ll insert the top and lower portions like normal, and then you get to play trial error with the carbineer-like metal thingy to find the right holes to stick it in:
Essentially you’ve gotta find a hole that allows a snug fit when you want it for workouts, perhaps a slightly loose fit (one or two notches) for daily use, all while not having the extra strap piece flopping around like a kite in the wind.
Anyways, once all that’s done, off ya go – wearing the strap. Obviously, with its silicon-like feeling, it feels the most rigid of the straps (technically it’s fluoroelastomer, which is a more expensive silicon variant). And because of that find-the-right-hole balance, it might feel too snug or too loose unless you get it just right. The benefit though, is that it doesn’t retain water. Take for example my openwater swim yesterday:
Water rolls right off after I get out of the water, and then again the same for the shower a short time later. Though, some water does stay inside the little noodle-like channels. So you end up getting random droplets later on. Giving it a shake or too helps get most of it out – still, at one point during a conference call 30 minutes later I was like “Wait, where’d these water drops on my desk come from?”.
But don’t overthink it. Either of the other two straps retain water as well – and in that case, it lasts a fair bit longer. I like this strap, but it’s probably my least favorite out of the three. Obviously, if I have to rank them, someone has to come last. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means it’s not first or second.
Here it is on my wife. It’s her favorite, merely because it doesn’t retain water. As she saw me switching out my older Apple Watch straps onto the Ultra for the video, she was like “Oh, I’d rather just have those straps”.
Color options: Note, there are three color options for this Band, all available in a single length (fitting 130mm-200mm wrists), they are: White, Yellow, or Blue. However, there’s ALSO a 50mm extension strap that can be bought, for thicker wetsuits/dry suits or just gigantic lumberjack wrists. That extension is 49.
I never thought I could write so much about some silly straps, but…here I am. Welcome to Apple Watch Ultra mania.
Nonetheless, I’d be happy with any of these options. I suspect long term I’ll probably settle on the Alpine Loop (orange), simply because it’s most aesthetically pleasing to me. For most sports, any of the three options would work. However, I would be slightly hesitant with using the Trail Loop in either surfing or a mass-start triathlon (specifically due to contact with others during the swim, not because of the swimming aspect itself). Mass-start triathlons have a long history of drowning people’s watches due to the often abrasive wrestle-mania nature of the first few hundred meters.
Of course, there’s an entire world of straps beyond just Apple’s own offerings. These range from cheap knock-offs to expensive luxury variants. Undoubtedly that’ll continue with new straps aimed at the Apple Watch Ultra crowd. And remember, you can still use existing 44/45mm straps with the Apple Watch Ultra as well.
With that – thanks for reading!
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Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.
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Apple Watch Ultra (Alpine Loop Orange)
Here’s a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:
The best Apple Watch bands 2023: Top straps for every Watch model and size
One of the best Apple Watch bands in this guide will upgrade your smartwatch, making it more stylish or even more practical, depending on the type of watch strap you choose. There are many different styles of Apple Watch bands to choose from, including directly from Apple, Amazon and other third-party sellers.
We’ve tested many of the best Apple Watches over the years and tried many of the best Apple Watch bands as a result, which means we know the key factors to consider when you want to personalize your smartwatch. The essential thing you need to know is the size you need.
Smaller Apple Watches with a casing size of 40mm or 41mm use the same-sized smaller bands, while Watches that measure 42mm, 44mm, or 45mm need the same series of larger bands. The 49mm Apple Watch Ultra also works with the same-sized bands as the 45mm Apple Watches.
We’ve picked more than 30 of the best Apple Watch Band options to suit all kinds of preferences. A new strap isn’t the only way to give your Apple Watch an upgrade. Read our best Apple Watch accessories guide and our best Apple Watch charging stands and best Apple Watch screen protectors lists as well.
We’ve tested many of the best Apple Watch bands below, but there are some products listed here that we haven’t had hands-on time with. However, based on our experts’ opinion, we think all these options are worth your time. Each of our selections considers online reviews, brand reputation, product capability, and unique features to help you find the best Apple Watch Band for you.
The best Apple Watch bands 2023
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Everyday Apple Watch bands
Your Apple Watch is an everyday essential wearable, so you want a similarly everyday Apple Watch bands to go alongside it. These bands look good and are suitably durable, so they can withstand whatever you get up to. They might not be as stylish as an expensive designer option, but they’ll look as appropriate on public transport as they will in the office. Think of these bands in the same way as your reliable favorite T-shirt or pair of jeans. just in smartwatch form.
For every occasion
Plenty of color options Comfortable to wear. You need the right size
The Apple Solo Loop has developed a reputation for being the best general all-day Apple Watch strap for a good reason: it’s ultra-comfortable in every way. There are plenty of colors to choose from, and it’s made from liquid silicone rubber, giving it a unique, stretchable quality. This Apple Watch Band is sweat and swim-proof and has got you covered all day.
Comfortable and Smart
Soft and comfortable Easy to wear. Expensive
The Apple Braided Solo Loop uses the same stretchy design as the Apple Solo Loop Band, but this time it’s made from weaving 16,000 recycled polyester yarn filaments around ultra-thin silicone threads. It looks suitably Smart and feels very soft. This one’s sweat and water-resistant, rather than swim-proof, so don’t take it in the pool. Still, if you like the design, it’s highly recommended.
Cheap yet effective
Low price Watch strap design. Questionable durability
The Wepro Black Buckle keeps things simple. It’s made from silicone so it’s sweat-resistant and dirt proof, but it looks more like a traditional watch strap than most other silicone bands. It utilizes a classic buckle design, which isn’t as convenient as the pull-over method, but means you can easily adjust it throughout the day and it makes this Band a lot cheaper too.
Tough and rugged
Strong magnetic strap Durable design. Bit chunky
The Tasikar Strap is a good budget option. It uses magnetic straps to keep the Band tightly clasped, while still feeling comfortable around your wrist. You can flip it around, too, giving you two colors in one. That makes it suitable for the office as well for less formal occasions. It looks built to last, though that durability comes at a cost – this strap is a little on the chunky side. The use of magnets means it’s heavier than some, too.
Apple Watch bands for working out
When you’re working out, you don’t want an Apple Watch Band that makes you feel sweaty or hot. Instead, you want something fairly breathable. that’s also water and sweat-resistant. There are plenty of these out there, so we’ve focused on the top choices. Each will look good so you can wear them in any setting, but the FOCUS is on comfort when working up a sweat.
Great for most workouts
Breathable design Lightweight. No good for swimming
The Apple Sport Loop is designed for better breathability, with a hook-and-loop fastener that you can easily loosen as needed. The double-layer nylon weave looks good and provides sufficient cushioning while also leaving room for moisture to escape. It’s durably designed, so it won’t falter while you’re exercising thanks to the securely anchored attachment loops. That said, the fabric material means it’s not great for swimming and other water activities.
Durable and breathable
Breathable design Simple fit. Basic looking
The Nike Sport Band for the Apple Watch doesn’t just carry a brand name, it also has a distinctive design. It’s made from fluoroelastomer with compression-molded perforations for added breathability. The design screams exercise, but it should feel good whether you’re getting your sweat on in the gym or lazing on the couch. It aims to be soft, smooth, durable and strong. And it comes in a range of different colors, including an extra-eye-catching multi-colored Pride option.
Top running choice
Reflective thread Breathable design. Limited colors
The Nike Sport Loop has a reflective thread that runs through its nylon weave and shimmers when light strikes it. It’s no substitute for high-vis gear when running in the dark, but it is a useful benefit to this lightweight and breathable watch strap. This one only comes in a limited choice of colors, but it ticks other sporty boxes, namely through the addition of dense loops on the inside of the strap to provide cushioning while also letting moisture escape.
Great for weightlifting
Shock absorption Bezel protection. It’s chunky
If you’re looking for a rugged Apple Watch Band for when you’re lifting, but don’t want to sacrifice too much style, the Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro is a good option. It protects your Apple Watch via a bumper that provides rugged shock absorption, along with a raised bezel that protects the screen. The chunky look won’t be for everyone, but if you’re doing the sorts of activities that put your Apple Watch at risk, you should find it’s more protective than most sports bands.
Workout wrist-strap alternative
Better heart monitoring Positioned out the way. Specific purpose only
The Twelve South Actionband Actionsleeve does things a little differently: you wrap it around your bicep or arm rather than your wrist. This should mean more effective heart rate monitoring due to more consistent below-skin readings, as well as a better fit if you’re lifting weights and worried about knocking your wrist. You definitely can’t use it as a regular wristband though.
Apple Watch bands for swimming
The best Apple Watch bands for swimming have a lot in common with the best straps for working out. They’re lightweight and comfortable, while also being waterproof so you don’t have to worry about them falling apart during your swim. The options here are all great for casual use too. just bear in mind that they’re not suitable for more formal occasions.
Best for swimming
Durable and strong Comfy fit. Not the most stylish
Keeping it simple is the name of the game with the Apple Sport Band. It’s made from a custom high-performance fluoroelastomer, like many other sports bands, which means it’s durable and strong, yet comfy on your skin. A pin and tuck closure system means it’s easy to slip on before you head to the pool, and you won’t have to worry about it soaking up any water. The main downside of this Apple Watch strap is simply that it’s a fairly plain, arguably even boring, design – you might want to consider a second strap for when you’re not at the pool.
Great value for money
Great value Easy to wear. Basic looking
Choose a three-pack of Lenobo Apple Watch straps and you get all the benefits of water resistance at a very low price, so it’s not the end of the world if you end up damaging your strap in some way in the pool. A pin-and-tuck closure system plus breathable holes mean it feels good on your skin, and with three in a pack, it’s likely to be a long time before you need to buy a new Apple Watch Band again.
Plenty of air holes Waterproof. Maybe not for the office
This strap is better suited to the pool than a formal office: it’s about as sporty looking as an Apple Watch Band can get. The Nisto Silicone Strap has plenty of air holes to reduce skin irritation, and you won’t have to worry about it soaking up water in the pool or sea. Made from silicone, it’s lightweight too, so you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it. It uses a straightforward clip to hold it tight to your wrist and comes in a wide range of shades. The low price does make us question its durability, but it won’t be an expensive loss if it doesn’t last long.
Simple and durable
Easy design Color options. Basic looking
The Epova Silicone Strap is essentially a regular Apple Sport Band, but without the expensive price tag that comes with Apple branding. It’s made from durable and soft silicone, so it feels good around your wrist and should limit skin irritation. A buckle-like design means it’s fairly easy to attach as well, although not quite as simple as some others here. It’s available in a wide range of colors, and cheap enough that it could be worth picking up several in different shades.
Leather Apple Watch bands
Leather Apple Watch bands. and vegan leather options. have the classiness of a traditional watch, with all the benefits of being designed specifically for your Apple device. Leather is highly durable when you maintain it well, so it’s good value for money, but it’s not great for exercising. and certainly not suitable for swimming.
Animal friendly Stylish looks. Only sweat resistant
The Casetify Apple Watch Band uses biodegradable vegan leather, so you get a classy look without harming animals. It’s water and sweat-resistant, and everything about it is ecologically friendly. Just like a real leather strap, this one’s no good for swimming – sweat is its limit. But it costs less than you might expect, and it’s available in a wide range of eye-catching colors. The tie dye won’t be for everyone, but to those who like it, it’s a stylish and distinct choice.
Elegant French leather
Premium leather Magnet attachment. Not for exercise
Elegant in every way, the California Poppy Leather Link Band is made from handcrafted Roux Granada leather made in France, so you know it’ll look good. It uses flexible molded magnets that gently flex to wrap around your wrist and form a secure yet comfortable fit. As with most leather straps, this is a terrible choice for exercise – this is strictly a strap for making your Apple Watch look good.
Classy Italian leather
High-end look Attractive. Not for exercise
Made from handcrafted leather from Italy, the Apple Leather Link oozes class. Its leather is soft and quilted so it feels great on your wrist, with secure, concealed magnets so you won’t notice them. and neither will anyone else. This is a premium (and expensive) choice that you won’t want to exercise in, and it’s only available in a few different colors.
The classic strap
Magnetic buckle Comfy fit. Not for exercise
This is a strap that focuses on both form and function – it looks good and is built to last. The Modern Buckle uses the same material that NASA uses to make landing airbags, with an inner layer of Vectran weave for strength and stretch resistance. On the outer layer, there’s smooth top-grain, high-quality leather from France. It feels great, with a solid buckle that’s actually a two-piece magnetic closure, giving it a classic look but modern sensibilities.
Incredibly Smart looking Clever buckle. Very pricey
The Hermes 44mm Ebene Barenia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle is very expensive, and a mouthful to say, but it’s pretty classy. Using high-end leather, it has a hidden deployment buckle, which opens with a click of the two side buttons, ensuring an incredibly secure fit that still feels comfortable. It’s ideal if security is everything to you and money is no expense.
Designer Apple Watch bands
Designer Apple Watch bands can be very expensive, but not always. We’ve curated a range of bespoke options here: some from big-name designers, others from less well-known artists or in-house designers. all with a unique look that will help you stand out from the crowd. There’s something here for every budget. If you want to spend more than your watch cost, you can, but there are still some very Smart-looking bespoke options for far less, as well as fun designs, and you can even create a bracelet-style look with one of the options here.
Stylishly cute with a traditional flourish
Elegant flowery design Secure buckle. For older Apple Watches
Designed for older Apple Watches that have 38mm bodies, the Kate Spade Floral Silicone Apple Watch Strap isn’t for everyone, but it certainly looks charming. It offers a stylishly cute aesthetic without being too garish. A cute buckle means it looks a lot like a regular high-end watch strap too. The main issue with this strap is simply that it doesn’t support newer Apple Watch models, so you can only use it if you’re rocking an older model.
Attractively designed and swim proof
Swimproof Great use of textiles. Costs more than others
Often, designer watch straps aren’t particularly durable, but the Hermes Kraft/Rouge de Coeur Jumping Single Tour is swimproof. It looks great thanks to its use of a textile that’s been woven with a vibrant design, and is exciting yet subtle enough for the workplace too. This Hermes strap is available in a wide variety of other shades, and it’s versatile and durable enough. But that’s a good thing, because it’s exceedingly expensive.
A distinctive crocodile skin leather option
Crocodile skin leather Very durable. Not animal friendly
If crocodile skin leather seems like the height of luxury, the Mintapple Limited Edition Genuine Exotic Apple Watch strap is for you. This designer watch strap from Mintapple looks distinctive in every way, using expensive leather alongside surgical grade 316L stainless steel that won’t rust or tarnish. Many people won’t want a crocodile leather strap, but for anyone who does this is an undeniably classy choice.
A bracelet that’s also a watch strap
Doubles up as jewelry Self-adjustable links. Pretty heavy
This Kate Spade New York Apple Watch bracelet is a great option for anyone who wants to match their Apple Watch with their evening wear decor. Made from polished stainless steel, it uses signature spade-shaped links that are easily adjustable to get the right fit for your wrist. It’s a little heavy for workouts and other practical purposes, but it’s shiny, stylish, and chic, and at night it looks great – it works as jewelry in its own right.
Beautiful design Incredibly comfortable. Costs more than some
The Apple Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop is inspired by the inclusive nature of Pride. It looks fantastic and it’s comfortable too, made from weaving 16,000 recycled polyester yarn filaments around ultra-thin silicone threads. Soft yet textured, it’s good for sweat and water-resistant. although don’t use it in the pool. It’s easy to slip on and off your wrist but not in any danger of sliding off unexpectedly, and the Pride colors make it a bright, attractive option that’s sure to stand out from the crowd.
A more breathable way of being proud
Reflective rainbow yarn Breathable design. No good for swimming
Gorgeous to look at, the Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop offers a nylon weave with reflective rainbow yarn that shimmers when light strikes it. Alongside that is a hook and loop fastener that’s easy to adjust depending on how much room you need, but its breathable design means you shouldn’t feel sweaty wearing it. Of course, being a fabric strap, this Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop isn’t something you should swim in – though it’s ideal for less water-based exercises.
Pride on a budget with a bohemian twist
Great design Low price. Quality could be higher
A little bohemian in style and a lot full of Pride, the Wepro ThinRainbow Strap is delightful for the price. It has a stretchy design made from woven elastic nylon, so it’s comfy and secure at all times. Its buckle further helps here, but the strap is fairly easy to arrange conveniently on your wrist. It’s no good for exercise or swimming, but other than that it’s a fun little party piece or for times when you want to express yourself.
For Harry Potter fans
Novelty design Durable. Very situational
We’re not saying wear the MobyFox Harry Potter Watch Strap in the office, but if you fancy being a little nerdy then it might be tempting. Officially licensed, this appears well made, with sweat and UV-resistant silicone to ensure it’s pretty tough and durable. There are numerous different designs too, so you can embrace your inner Harry Potter house.
Cute and charming
Fun designs Comfortable fit. Not great for workouts
Best suited for downtime at the weekend or when you’re not planning on heading to the gym, the Casetify Doodles Apple Watch strap is a ton of fun, featuring a design from British artist Jon Burgerman. It might not be the most durable watch strap for workouts or anything like that, or Smart enough for certain situations, but it’s a fun way to express yourself and reasonably affordable.
Inclusive and delightful
Classy design Comfortable fit. No good for swimming
The Apple Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop offers a design that means you can feel proud and inclusive, but its rainbow design blends more into your surroundings for a more professional appearance. Soft and breathable, its nylon weave feels great on your skin. A hook-and-loop fastener makes it easy to adjust as needed, while the attachment loops keep it secure.
3D texture Comfy fit. May be too vivid for some
The Apple Pride Edition Sport Loop is thoughtfully designed. Its colors unite the core Pride flag, and also symbolize marginalized LGBTQ communities, people of color, people living with and who have died from HIV/AIDS, and gender nonconforming people. Its breathable double-layer nylon weave is made from soft textile loops, and there’s a 3D texture. It’s a unique style that stands out.
Metal Apple Watch bands
If you prefer the classic and cold stylings of a metal watch strap, it’s easily achieved with a metal Apple Watch Band. Much like some of the designer range, things can get expensive here, but the handy thing about metal Apple Watch bands is they’re incredibly robust. Consider these an investment that will help keep your watch safe for a long time to come. Just bear in mind they’re not usually great for exercising.
Inspired by Italy, with extensive adjustability
Beautiful design Distinctive finish. No good for exercise
A little heavy it might be, but the Gold Milanese Loop looks stunning. Woven on specialized Italian machines, its smooth stainless-steel mesh looks great and should feel suitably good on your wrist too. It’s fully magnetic, so you can adjust it to your heart’s content to get the right fit for your wrist. The use of a physical vapor deposition layer means it has an extra distinctive finish too.
Multiple different classy touches
Intricately designed Secure custom clasp. Evening attire only
Utilizing more than 100 components, the Silver Link Bracelet takes advantage of a complex machining process that takes nine hours to cut the links for just one strap. That makes for good peace of mind when purchasing this expensive strap, and the sense of security is further enhanced by its custom butterfly closure, which folds neatly within the bracelet.
An inexpensive metal watch strap
Cheap Stainless steel. Finish could be classier
The Pugo Top Strap doesn’t look quite as classy as some metal straps but it’s far, far cheaper than the competition. And it still uses premium stainless steel with a refined dual fold-over clasp design that’s easy for you to adjust by removing or adding links. The clasp closes securely so it feels snug around your wrist.
Durable, secure, and great for sports
Adjustable design Smart look. Clasp isn’t for everyone
The Artche Watch Strap promises a secure fit for a good price. Made from stainless steel, it looks the part. Where some may not be keen is with its double folding clasp, which locks firmly but is a little awkward to set up compared to some alternative methods. Still, if you have a physical job, this will keep you feeling confident you won’t lose your watch.
How to choose the best Apple Watch Band
When choosing an Apple Watch Band the first two things you should consider are your budget and what you plan to do while wearing the Apple Watch. most notably whether you plan to exercise in it, whether you plan to swim in it, and whether you’ll wear it somewhere Smart.
With all those considerations in mind, you can start to round down the best strap for you. Leather straps for example are no good for swimming, and if you plan to extensively exercise then a dedicated workout Band might be the best choice.
If exercise isn’t on the agenda then you can look to something classier, like a metal or leather Band. and if money is no object then designer bands could be worth considering.
What materials are the best Apple Watch bands made of?
The best Apple Watch bands are made from a range of materials. The one that’s right for you depends on your preferences and what you’ll use the Band for.
For example, silicone options are the best for working out. Silicone is usually easy to clean and won’t absorb moisture, making it sweatproof.
Nylon is a good option for a comfortable Band, especially if you look for an Apple Watch strap made from super soft nylon. Nylon bands are some of the ones with the best pattern and color options, as well as the popular woven fabric look.
Metal bands are ideal if you want your smartwatch to look a little classier, formal or just like a regular watch. Some metal Apple Watch bands have a bracelet-style design. Others have a buckle or clasp. If you’re considering a metal Band, you’ll want to ensure it’s secure, as it might be heavier than other options you’re used to.
Like metal bands, leather bands can also add style points to your Apple Watch and tend to look more formal. We usually recommend a leather option if anyone is wary about transitioning from a regular watch to a smartwatch. Choose a quality leather Band, and it can be the most comfortable choice. There are some good vegan leather options these days too.
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The best designer Apple Watch bands in 2023
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If the finer things in life tend to strike your fancy, the idea of adorning the best Apple Watch with a designer Band is likely par for the course. Ever since the first Apple Hermès Collection back in 2015, the union between high-tech and high fashion has only gotten stronger.
But Hermès isn’t the only brand making stylish designer Apple Watch straps. Brands like Coach, Michael Kors, and Tory Burch also offer their take on wearable luxury.
Below are 16 of the best designer Apple Watch bands currently available for the Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 8. It’s recommended you always cross-reference the size of the watch Band you’re purchasing to the compatible Band size of your Apple Watch. Some products may even only list the size (i.e. 40mm or 41mm), so it’s Smart to double-check.
For more picks — designer or not — check out our guide to the best Apple Watch bands, as well as our picks of the best metal Apple Watch bands and the best leather Apple Watch bands. It’s not a bad idea to take a look at some of the best Apple Watch screen protectors, too.
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Best designer Apple Watch bands
Packaged as a gift set, you get not one, but two chic watch straps that don the Tory Burch logo in embossed leather or woven jacquard.
Detroit’s Shinola is no stranger to the watch game, and its Stainless Steel Bracelet features a classic Band style that’s durably built and striking.
Apple’s partnership with the French fashion house has a wealth of options, like this premium Swift leather Band that comes in 10 different colors.
Channeling the Italian brand’s vibrant color palette, this strap is part colorful fabric, part leather that strikes a playful designer look.
This Kate Spade strap features a leather braided design that gives the Apple Watch an effortlessly chic style.
This strap is embossed with the Coach’s iconic logo and is made of comfortable and stylish black silicone rubber, proving that even rubber can be luxury.
For something luxe and sparkly, this strap sports a pavé-accented two-tone design of silver and rose gold.
This Lagos Band features a gorgeous combo of ceramic and stainless steel link that will turn your Apple Watch into a fine piece of jewelry.
Michele’s Stainless Bracelet Band has a silver, stainless steel finish that gives it a stunning look. Pair with a silver Apple Watch case for added style.
Goldenerre makes stylish accessories expressly for the Apple Watch. With a gold finish, the Herringbone Band is one of our favorites.
Made from leather with stainless steel links that wrap twice around the wrist, this Hermès strap is a subtle statement piece for any occasion.
Coach’s Signature Silicone Strap is a rugged designer option that’s still quite stylish. It’s thick and chunky, with a studded design for luxe attitude.
The Terrazza is made of Italian full-grain leather that’s comfortable and snazzy. It’s available in a number of colorways, so you can fully customize your style.
This stainless steel Band features a stylish rose gold finish and an easy-to-use push-button closure. A single
Nomad’s Titanium Band is highly durable yet still light, weighing in at just 2.4 ounces. And the look of the shiny titanium links is incredibly clean.
Made of beautiful top-grain leather, this Band from Apple is elegant and stylish. Its buckle closure system gives it a particularly clean look.
What designer Apple Watch Band is best?
This depends on what kind of designer Apple Watch Band you’re looking for and, ultimately, where you want to wear it. Designer bands come in varieties such as stainless steel, leather, and even silicone, and many feature things like gold finishes, diamond or crystal inlays, or a unique pattern.
Is it better to buy a designer Apple Watch Band from a brand affiliated with Apple?
Although Apple has a partnership with the designer brand, Hermes, and offers its bands via the Apple website, they’re not actually any better than those from Coach, Kate Spade, or Missoni. The Hermès straps may come in an Apple-branded package but won’t be any more or less durable or functional.
Are designer Apple Watch bands meant to be worn every day?
That’s entirely up to you. One of the Apple Watch’s best features is the ability to easily swap out bands, so you could reasonably have a variety of bands with different use cases (i.e. sport bands for working out, leather or metal for the office, and a designer Band for a night out).
If you do decide to wear a designer Band every day, do know that it’s likely to encounter a bit of everyday wear and tear like scratches or nicks.
Rick Stella is the fitness tech editor for the Insider Reviews team. He reviews and reports on all forms of wearables like activity trackers and smartwatches, as well as a variety of other fitness-related wearables. Rick has over eight years of experience covering the verticals of health fitness, outdoors, and consumer technology. When he’s not putting digital pen to digital paper, Rick enjoys seeing live music, playing soccer, catching up on Netflix shows, and riding his bike. An Oregonian for much of his life, Rick now resides in Brooklyn. He can be reached at email@example.com or on @RickStella. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test health, fitness, and outdoor products.
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The Complete Guide to Apple Watch Bands: sizing, styles, and more
One of the cleverest things Apple did when it released the Apple Watch in 2015 was to develop a system that allows users to quickly change watch bands (or straps, in the UK). Changing normal watch bands, using little spring bars, is difficult and delicate, so most people rarely change them unless they’re worn out. With the Apple Watch, you can change your Band in seconds, so you can use a different Band according to your mood or activity, or to match your outfit. This is especially useful if you want a waterproof Band for swimming or working out, and a leather Band for when you go out on the town.
To date, Apple has released more than 640 bands in more than a dozen different styles. Here’s a complete guide to all the Apple Watch bands that are currently available.
- Apple Watch Band compatibility
- Sport Band
- Solo Loop
- Sport Loop
- Nike Sport Band and Sport Loop
- Leather bands
- Stainless steel bands
- Apple Watch Ultra bands
- Hermès bands
- Choosing the right Apple Watch Band
- How can I learn more?
Apple Watch Band compatibility
Apple has iterated the size of the Apple Watch over the years. The first models, through the Series 3, came in 38mm and 42mm case sizes. The Series 4, 5, and 6, and the SE, were 40mm and 44mm. The Series 7 and 8 are 41mm and 45mm. And the Apple Watch Ultra is 49mm.
Apple says that “You can match most bands with any Apple Watch Series 3 or newer case of the same size.” So a 41mm Band works with a 40mm or 42mm watch, and a 45mm Band works with 42mm, 44mm, and 49mm models.
If you want all the details about every Band that Apple has sold, the free Bandbreite app has a complete database of Apple and Hermès bands.
The Sport Band could be considered the default Apple Watch Band. It was one of the first bands Apple released, and has been iterated in 120 different colors over the years, more than any other Band. Made from comfortable fluoroelastomer, it doesn’t stick to your skin when you sweat, and is robust. It’s ideal for working out, swimming, and dancing. At 49, it’s tempting to get several, such as a bright color for when you want to express yourself, and a black or brown Band for when you dress up. Like most Apple Watch bands, the range of colors changes over time, with new collections in the spring and fall of each year.
The Sport Loop comes in two sizes, S/M (140 – 190 mm wrists) and M/L (160 – 210 mm), and fits 41mm and 45mm watches.
Apple released the Solo Loop in fall 2020, in two versions: the “liquid silicone rubber” 49 Solo Loop, and the 99 Braided Solo Loop, made from “stretchable recycled yarn interwoven with silicone threads.” As a single piece of material without a clasp, you have to get these bands in the correct size for your wrist. If you get a Solo Loop that’s too tight, it can feel like wearing a rubber Band.
Apple says that these bands can stretch as you put them on and take them off. In my experience, wearing a Braided Solo Loop for a few months stretched it to the point that I can no longer wear it, whereas the standard Solo Loop barely stretches.
The 41mm models come in sizes 1 to 9, and the 45mm models in sizes 1 to 12. You can download a printable sizing tool from Apple’s website, or you can get your wrist measured in an Apple Store.
The 49 Sport Loop is a lightweight, nylon Band with a hook and loop fastener. It is infinitely adjustable, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It absorbs water, so may not be ideal for swimming, and needs a good rinse after workouts. This is the lightest Apple Watch Band.
The 41mm models are for 130mm – 200 mm wrists, and the 45mm model is for 145mm – 220mm wrists.
Nike Sport Band and Sport Loop
Apple has sold Nike Sport Bands since 2016, and Sport Loops since 2018. The Nike Sport Band is the same as the standard Sport Band, but has perforations; the Nike Sport Look just has Nike branding. Both cost 49, and fit the same Apple Watch models and wrists as the plain Apple versions. For several years, Apple sold a Nike branded watch, with special faces and bands, but now sells the bands separately and the faces are available for all models.
The 99 Leather Link is a two-piece magnetic Band that snaps shut when you put the watch on. It is adjustable and comfortable, though it’s a bit heavy. It is available for 41mm watches (130mm – 160mm wrists) and 45mm watches (140mm – 180mm).
The 149 Modern Buckle, one of the original bands, only fits the smaller watch models (38mm, 40mm, and 41mm), and comes in three sizes (135 – 150mm wrists, 145mm – 165mm, and 160mm – 180mm). It is slightly adjustable, with a pin and five holes under the buckle, but you should probably check it out in an Apple Store before buying to get the right size.
Stainless steel bands
Another of the original bands is the 99 Milanese Loop. This braided mesh Band uses a magnetic clasp, and is easy to adjust to any size wrist. (With limits, of course: the 41mm model fits 13mm – 180mm wrists, and the 45mm model fits 150mm – 200 mm). In gold, silver, and graphite, these bands are subtle and classy.
The Link Bracelet is the biggest, heaviest Band that Apple makes. In two colors, Silver (349) and Space Black (449), this is also the most expensive. These are finely machined bands, but the price is prohibitive. Available for 38mm watches (135mm – 195mm wrists) and 42mm (150mm – 200mm), you can also buy a 45 set of five additional links for even larger wrists. And Apple has invented a clever way to adjust these bands by easily removing or adding links, so you can get the perfect fit.
Apple Watch Ultra bands
With the release of the Apple Watch Ultra, in fall 2022, Apple started selling three new types of bands designed for these models. Even though the Apple Watch Ultra has a 49mm case, these bands work with 44mm and 45mm watches.
The 99 Alpine Loop is a slightly stretchy Band with a titanium hook that you insert into loops to close it. It’s a very light Band, and looks a bit like “gear.” Available in small (130m – 160mm), medium (145mm – 190mm), and large (165mm – 210mm), there is some leeway, with the loops on the outside of the Band, but it’s best to make sure which size fits you.
The 99 Trail Loop is similar to the Sport Loop, but has titanium lugs, a tab to make it easier to adjust, and is about 1mm wider. The materials are slightly better, but, other than having lugs to match an Apple Watch Ultra, there’s not much advantage to this Band over its cheaper sibling. It comes in two sizes, S/M (130mm – 180mm) and M/L (145mm – 200mm).
The 99 Ocean Band is made with a tubular elastomer, it can fit even over a wetsuit (and you can get a 49 extension if you need more length). It’s a bit bulky for everyday use, but is great for water sports.
Apple also sells bands made by the French company Hermès, in several leather and nylon models, with stainless steel lugs and buckles, cost from 319 to 849. Apple also sells Hermès Apple Watch models, which are standard Apple Watches with a Hermès Band, but they also give you access to an exclusive Hermès watch face. When you buy an Hermès watch, you get two bands: the leather or nylon Band you choose, plus a Hermès branded sport Band, in black or Hermès orange, which are not sold separately.
Choosing the right Apple Watch Band
This article has focused on Apple Watch bands that Apple itself sells in its stores. But as you might imagine, lots of third-party sellers offer unofficial Apple Watch bands, commonly available via online retail stores such as Amazon. The quality of these third-party bands is often (though not always) inferior to the genuine, Apple-authorized and Apple-sold watch bands. But if Apple doesn’t sell the exact design you want, or if you want extra options for accessorizing — or if you want to save a bit of money in exchange for a potentially lower-quality product — then a Band from a third-party seller might also be worth considering.
You have lots of options for Apple Watch bands. Some are sporty, some are classy, and since they’re so easy to change, you may end up buying several to wear on different occasions. It’s a great way to personalize your Apple Watch.
And if you need help picking your next Apple Watch model, we’ve got an article that can help you with that, too: Which Apple Watch is right for you?
How can I learn more?
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About Kirk McElhearn
Kirk McElhearn writes about Apple products and more on his blog Kirkville. He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast, as well as several other podcasts, and is a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and several other websites and publications. Kirk has written more than two dozen books, including Take Control books about Apple’s media apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar. Follow him on at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn → This entry was posted in Apple and tagged Apple Watch, Apple Watch bands, Apple Watch straps. Bookmark the permalink.