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The best Apple Watch bands and straps for 2021

The Apple Watch Series 6 continues Apple’s streak as the maker of one of the most versatile smart-wear devices on the market today. The flexibility in features and applications that the Apple Watch brings is complemented by the customizable aspect of the smart watch. In a market space where aesthetics are king, the ability to swap bands and the diversity of designs and materials brings the Apple Watch firmly into fashionable territory. While Apple themselves provide a number of quality in-house bands, the third-party world of Apple Watch bands stretches from budget bands to French fashion houses.

We’ve gathered a variety of bands and straps with different styles and prices to add some pizzazz to the Apple Watch sported on your wrist. Regardless of which generation of Apple Watch you own, these bands will fit your device because Apple has made sure to keep the band-to-watch connection backward compatible.

For more information, you can check our curated list of the best Apple Watch screen protectors.

Our favorite third-party bands

Nomad Modern Strap ($44)

There are a few Nomad straps on this list, and for good reason. They’re exceptionally high quality and stylish as well. The latest from the company is a slimmer variant of its Modern Strap in a beautiful camel color targeted toward women. This vegetable-tanned leather strap comes from Horween, a reputable tannery in Chicago, and it develops a gorgeous patina the longer it’s in use. Nomad uses stainless steel on the buckles and the adapter that connects to the Apple Watch. Speaking of the watch, this strap works on the Series 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. It’s delightfully lightweight and comfortable on the wrist, and the buckle design means it’s dead simple to put on in a jiffy. The catch? It’s only available for the smaller 40mm or 38mm Apple Watch sizes.

Kades Stainless Steel Band ($22)

The Kades Apple Watch band offers an affordable way to sport a stainless steel band. Like most stainless steel watch bands, it features a double clasp in a “butterfly” style and is easily adjustable via removable links. It comes in both regular silver-colored stainless steel as well as black.

Meridio Suede Band ($84)

Tired of the usual old leather bands and silicone straps for your Apple Watch? Take a look at Meridio’s suede bands, which are suitably different than other bands out there, yet still neatly fit in with casual and smart outfits. The suede band, as you would expect, is soft to touch, supple, and comfortable to wear. The texture is pleasant to the touch, and there is enough of a nap on the strap for it to catch the light, and the thickness tapers off toward the tip, making it more wearable. Meridio is an Italian brand and has 10 years of experience in fashion and leather goods.

Dassari Carbon Fiber Strap ($40)

Who wants the same old strap for their Apple Watch? No one. We want to be different, and if you prefer a sporty look, then take a look at Dassari’s very cool carbon fiber-look strap. The carbon weave effect is subtle, with less shine and reflection than you may expect, making it more wearable on a daily basis. It’s matched to very soft leather and is incredibly comfortable. It’s refreshing to see the strap matched with Apple’s bar-style hardware too. The strap only comes in black but it is available for both the 38mm/42mm and the 40mm/44mm Apple Watch. The style and dark color slim down the Apple Watch a lot, so if you find many straps make the watch look too large, this does the opposite.

Nomad Sport Strap ($40)

To accompany its Rugged Strap, Nomad has introduced the Sport Strap, a silicone band with built-in lugs that extend all the way across the Watch’s body, a strong stud-and-hole fixing, and a design similar to that of Nike’s recent Apple Watch straps. Nomad’s offering is made of soft, LSR silicone, which comes in a two-tone color scheme, in either black and gray, or black and green. It is hypoallergenic and resists sweat nicely, and stays cool underneath thanks to a channel for airflow. It’s well-suited for fitness aficionados and is quite a large, statement-making strap. It costs $50, but, unfortunately, it’s only available for the 42mm/44mm Watch.

Burkley Holo Strap ($69)

Burkley’s Holo Strap is perfect for those weekends in your sports car, with the top down, headed toward the coast. Or, at the very least, those times when you’re imagining that you’re doing that. The strap’s classic styling makes it a beauty, while the soft, padded leather renders it both lightweight and comfortable. We love the little design touches, too, such as the Burkley logo, which is stamped directly on the strap loop. It also comes in one of several colors.

Native Union Active Strap ($50)

A clever mix of style and function, the Native Union Active Strap has water-resistant leather on the outside and a fluoroelastomer grip on the inside. This hypoallergenic material’s pattern also keeps sweat from building up underneath the band during exercise, while the classy leather ensures the watch is suitable for everyday wear. It’s very comfortable and extremely lightweight, too. We love the hint of yellow that peeps through, which gives the subdued color scheme some punch.

Southern Straps Nato Strap ($50)

A more textured nylon strap than the Nyloon example below, the Southern Straps band also has stitching running down each section, giving it a different look. It feels very hard-wearing, and has been double bonded and heat sealed to make sure it doesn’t just fall apart under tough conditions. We love the khaki and red version seen here, which comes with a choice of colors for the Apple Watch connectors, and in either 38mm/42mm or 42mm/44mm sizes. Let down slightly by the strap loop, which sometimes pinched wrist hairs.

Nyloon Watch Band ($39)

Nyloon’s nylon watchband feels like it’ll last a while and withstand some rough treatment, which is just what you need from this popular style. We’ve been wearing the Napier design, which comes in navy blue and red, and found it comfortable and stylish. The shiny hardware is attractive, and the Apple Watch adapter pieces have spring-loaded bars, so you can swap out the strap for another 20mm or 22m version of your own choice.

Nomad Leather Strap ($70)

Nomad’s classic leather strap received a makeover recently, losing the stitching for a sleeker, flatter look. We particularly love Nomad’s straps due to the custom-designed Watch adapters, which change the look of the Watch’s face considerably. Both the adapters and the buckle have a matte finish and also come in black, ready to match your Watch model. It’s still quite a masculine design, but less so than the previous strap. The Horween leather is wonderfully supple out of the box and needs only a few hours to bed in.

Kate Spade Leather Apple Watch Strap ($68)

Kate Spade makes a selection of straps suitable for the smaller Apple Watch models, and this is one of our favorites. The floral pattern is typical Kate Spade — fashionable, quirky, fun, and matches with trends seen elsewhere in the brand’s products. It’s made from silicone with a stainless steel clasp, ready to wear for most occasions.

Pad & Quill Pilot Leather Band ($80)

Pad & Quill’s Pilot Leather Strap is another quality entry from a tested smart-device accessory maker. The full-grain leather band harkens back to the early days of flight as it sets out to mimic a classic pilot’s watch leather strap. The band is reinforced with real rivets, and the stitching is marine-grade stitching, the kind used in parachutes. This band should truly last a while.

Official Apple Straps

Apple Nike Sport Band ($50)

Apple Watch Nike Sport Band strap Andy Boxall/

The Nike Sport Band was once only available if you purchased a Nike Apple Watch, but that changed a while ago, and now these sporty, colorful straps are available to buy for any Apple Watch. The circular vents ensure you don’t get sweaty wearing the Watch, and the bright colors easily match or coordinate with your Nike sneakers. Like the Apple Sport Band, the Nike versions are so soft and flexible, they’re very comfortable to wear. The sporty style is best suited to casual outfits though. It’s available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes, and a variety of colors. Best of all, in the pack are two sizes, meaning the strap is suitable for all wrists right out of the box.

Apple Braided Solo Loop ($99)

Apple always seems to find a way to bring the stylish and the practical to the same dinner table. With the Apple Braided Solo Loop you’ll be wearing a durable piece made from stretchable recycling yarn interwoven with silicon threads. What this translates to is an incredibly comfortable but durable band.

Apple Sport Loop ($50)

We prefer the look and feel of the Apple Sport Loop band over the fluoroelastomer Sport Band. The nylon material is so soft, doesn’t get hot and sweaty, and the varying colors are all a lot more dramatic and eye-catching in person than in pictures. Rather than the pin and tuck system on the Sport band, the Sport Loop uses hook and eye for an infinitely adjustable fit that suits everyone. Great for the gym, office, and casual wear, it’s the Apple Watch band to choose when you first buy your Watch.

Apple Garnet Modern Buckle ($149)

Truth be told, in the past, Apple’s in-house offerings for leather bands have lived somewhere between untraditionally futuristic-looking or a cheap imitation of luxury watch leather bands. With the new Garnet modern buckle leather band, Apple has a true, traditional, sleek, luxurious leather band to match with your elegant outfits and special nights. This is a great choice for a quality leather band without shelling out for the high-priced Hermés band.

Apple Milanese Loop ($99)

best Apple Watch bands Apple Stainless Steel
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

If metal is more your style, Apple has you covered. The company’s stunning Milanese Loop, a modern interpretation of a design developed in Milan at the end of the 19th century, touts a stainless-steel design, wraps around your wrist, and adjusts with the help of magnets. Apple’s Link Bracelet, meanwhile, features butterfly closure folds within the bracelet, allowing for a clean look. The onboard release button also makes it easy to add or remove links without special tools.

Apple Watch Studio

Apple Sport Band strap Andy Boxall/

The Apple Watch Studio is a new buying plan introduced with the Series 5 Apple Watch, and it’s a great way to get the exact band and Watch combination you want the first time. Instead of buying an “off the shelf” Apple Watch and strap combination, you choose each aspect yourself, including the case size and material, and the strap itself. If you want a 44mm aluminum Watch in silver with a space gray Milanese Loop strap, you can have it. It doesn’t cost any more, and it’s easy to create your own watch on Apple’s website.

Apple Watch Studio

More third-party bands

Ullu Apple Watch Bands ($80 plus)

Ullu Apple Watch Strap

This beautiful band is handcrafted from high-quality stingray leather. Available in an assortment of colors, the Ullu stingray band pairs perfectly with the larger 42mm Apple Watch case.

The Strap Smith Baseball Glove Strap ($230)

Handcrafted from vintage baseball gloves, this band is perfect for the sports enthusiast. This band is not only stylish but durable as well. If you’re more of a football fan, the Strap Smith also makes a custom football band. Just be aware you have to pay an extra $25 if you want the necessary hardware fitted to attach the strap to the watch, although at least you can choose the color to match your choice of Watch case.

Pad & Quill Lowry Leather Cuff ($99)

best Apple Watch bands Pad & Quill Lowry Leather Cuff

Renowned for its high quality, great looking leather Apple accessories, Pad & Quill makes three different straps for the Apple Watch, but we’ve singled out the Lowry Leather Cuff. Made from full-grain leather in black, chestnut, or tan colors, with hand-finished stitching and nickel buckles, the look is rugged yet classy. Suede on the underside of the strap makes it comfortable to wear. The one problem? It’s only for the 42mm/44mm Apple Watch.

Luxeora Element Band 42 Onyx ($49)

The Element Band 42 Onyx is an incredible two-toned leather band that fits 42mm/44mm Apple Watch cases. This band features a highly polished stainless steel buckle with matching lugs. The white needle stitching creates a beautiful contrast.

Form Function Form Button Stud Band ($94)

best Apple Watch bands Form Function Form Button Stud Band

If you want something a little different, then take a look at Form Function Form’s funky Button Stud strap, which does away with any type of buckle or clasp. Instead, it has a stainless steel stud that holds a long, leather band in place. You can order the stud and adaptor in a color that suits your Apple Watch — from options such as Veg Tan, Ultra-Thin Horse Front, Horween Chromexcel, and Latigo — just make sure you check the length to ensure the overall fit is correct. The company even provides lifetime, free size adjustments if you buy one.

Coach Apple Watch Strap with Tea Rose Appliqué ($175)

We think there’s lots of appeal to the Coach Apple Watch Strap with Tea Rose Appliqué because it’s a balanced combination of whimsy and elegance. It fits both 42mm and 44mm Apple Watch cases. The hand-finished leather band is supple, luxurious, and classy, and it comes with a delicate flower design that adorns the strap.

This Apple Watch strap’s design is expensive-looking, polished, and sleek, making it perfect for a business professional in a high-end setting or someone who enjoys such designs. As you would expect from a Coach product, this strap is incredibly durable.

Arrow & Board Triple Tour Strap ($79)

best Apple Watch bands Arrow & Board Triple Tour Strap

Apple and fashion house Hermes partnered to make the double tour-style strap popular. But the genuine version is prohibitively expensive, making it out of reach for most consumers. Arrow & Board created a much more reasonably priced option that includes a split strap that converts into three different configurations.

This brand makes its Arrow & Board Triple Tour Straps to order, and the bands are finished in tanned leather with hand-stitched features, brass loops, and a buckle to keep everything in place. This strap is part of their artisan collection, and the brand makes the straps in small batches out of Austin, Texas. It’s impressive that you can get a handmade-quality strap at this price point, and even more so when you consider the brand’s quality.

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