Best Apple Watch bands 2018: our pick of great straps for your wrist


You change your clothes everyday, so why not switch up your Apple Watch, Apple Watch 2, Apple Watch 3 or shiny new Apple Watch 4 band every now and then as well?

One of the best things about the Apple Watch is its design - there's no doubting that this wearable is super stylish all on its own. But just like you wear different clothes for different occasions, you owe it to yourself to have a repertoire of bands that suit your mood. This is especially important if you workout regularly, you don't want to be wearing a leather or fabric strap to the gym.

Thankfully for you, there are lots of Apple Watch bands to choose from. In fact, there are so many that it's easy to get overwhelmed. That's where we step in.

These are the best Apple Watch bands currently available from both Apple and third-party manufacturers, plus we've put this guide together in terms of price so you can work out how much you have to spend and head straight to the right place.

Update: Since Apple launched the Watch 4 you might have been worrying that the upgraded screen size means you can't use the same straps from older models. But fear not, the old watch straps - designed for smaller bodies of watch - are still going to fit the new range, thus saving a whole suite of straps on the market from going to waste.

On a tight budget?

Southern Straps Nylon band

A cheap, yet high-quality option

Available in a variety of colors
A bit stiff until you wear it in

NATO bands are an affordable option to strap up your Apple Watch, but they aren't the best option. Why's that? Well, because their wrapping style covers up the smart heart rate monitor on Apple's smart wearable.

This is where Southern Straps shows its stuff. You can get a NATO-style band that doesn't inhibit the Apple Watch's abilities. Of course, you can spend more to snag yourself a leather band, but the baseline nylon option suits many styles and better yet, small budgets.

Apple Sport Band

A tough, sweatproof option

Simple, yet bold
Can be easily washed
Not the most breathable

Apple's own Sport Band is perfect for those with an active lifestyle, as well as those who simply prefer the look and feel of silicon over that of metal or fabric. The Sport Band sits at the low end of the price spectrum for Apple-made bands, but it's still expensive considering some of the third-party prices.

If you want something made by Apple, the comfortable design and reliable clasping mechanism are big benefits of this strap. Better yet, it's available in a ton of color options to suit just about every taste.

Baseus Apple Watch Band

A cheaper leather alternative

Available in many colors
Looks more premium than it costs
Synthetic leather

The Baseus is a subtly different styling from the Apple leather straps and the large golden buckle is striking.

The same gold effect is found on the connectors that attach the band to the Watch. Thankfully, this works just as well with the Apple Watch Sport as the real gold Edition. 

Apple Nike Sport Band

A more breathable Sport variant

Porous design is breathable
Can be washed
Only available in mega-vibrant colors

Priced the same as the regular Sport Band, the Nike Sport Band is a bit different in a few ways. 

First off, the design is more aerated than Apple's, which yields a much more breathable experience if you find yourself sweating frequently (and profusely). It's also available in a few color options: black, white, and black with fluorescent green detailing.

The clasping mechanism takes advantage of the dotted design by locking securely into the band. Although it's made in collaboration with Nike, you won't find much branding here. From what we've seen it's just on the inside of the band.

Apple Woven Nylon

A regal, unique look for AW

Tons of design options
Can get dirty more easily

Now, for something completely different. Apple's Woven Nylon variety will suit those looking for something a bit more traditional while still being quite expressive.

Woven with nylon (hence the name), these bands feel smooth and comfy, yet durable against the elements and the test of time.

There are plenty of options to select from, some solid colors and others are multi-colored, and each joins at a shiny metal clasp that offers an even more secure fit than the Sport Bands.

Clockwork Synergy Classic Nato Bands

Cheaper, but just as nice as Apple's

Great variety
Low cost
No cons to speak of

Looking quite similar to Apple's own Woven Nylon, the classic NATO option gives off a charming casual look. Not just that, this type of band is generally the most comfortable and lightweight, especially when compared to stainless steel or leather. 

As is this case with many third-party bands, this one is about half the cost of Apple's version. This NATO band is an obvious choice for those who like to have many different color options when customizing the look of their Apple Watch.

Hoco Original Stainless Steel Strap Buckle

Link bracelet on a budget

Matches Apple's premium styling
Adjustable link sizing
Reportedly doesn't come with link pins

If you've bought the Space Black Watch with its elegant Sport band in black, you might be yearning for the Link Bracelet (mentioned later in this article) but the $449 / £449 price tag would likely be putting you off. 

This one is a fraction of the price and looks pretty good, too. The clasp isn't as intricate as Apple's but it's still comfy and effective, especially considering its much lower price. 

Grovemade Leather Band

A classy, casual band that won't break the bank

Looks like a classic leather band
Available in different colors
Price is a bit high
Doesn't ship until September

The Grovemade leather band for Apple Watch makes Apple's wearable look even more like a traditional timepiece. 

Made with American vegetable-tanned leather, the band is said to age gracefully, just like the Apple Watch. This is one of the nicer leather bands that we've seen come from companies outside of Apple, and you can see the full collection here.

Have a little extra spending money?

Apple Classic Buckle

A seriously good look

A high-fashion choice
An office-friendly choice
Not gym-friendly

While some might argue that the Woven Nylon band is perfectly presentable, others might be after something that really makes a statement. That's where the leather-clad Classic Buckle band comes in.

Available in multiple colors of leather, Classic Buckle is the obvious choice for those after a more distinguished look. Like the Woven Nylon, the fit here is comfortable and adapts to fit your wrist better over time.

Possibly the most sought-after Apple Watch band, the attention that the Milanese Loop band receives is warranted.

At the same price as the Classic Buckle, owners can get their feet wet with a cool-to-the-touch stainless steel band that ekes elegance and simplicity in its design.

You'll know at first glance if this band is for you, and if it is, you can choose between traditional silver and black options.

"I have money and I'm not afraid to use it" bands

Apple Link Bracelet band

The more serious, high-end option

Customizable links
Stainless steel won't wear over time
Costs more than the Apple Watch

OK, now we're getting up there in price. For $449 or £449, Apple offers up its brushed stainless steel Link Bracelet.

Build materials aside, this couldn't be any more different than the Milanese Loop. Rocking a look akin to high-end analog watches, the Link Bracelet possesses a sophisticated sheen that the others don't.

Equipped with a watch tool, you can customize the size to perfectly fit your wrist and if silver doesn't suit you, it's also available in black. Paired with the Apple Watch, this is probably one of the slickest bands you can make your own.

Hermès Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour

A more premium leather band

Hermès quality on the wrist
Arguably the best leather you can get

One look at the name and you know this is going to be pricey. However, at $339 or £339 it's actually a good amount cheaper than the Link Bracelet.

For your money, you're getting industry-leading Hermès design in a band, complete with master-class fabric stitching and leather quality that's unparalleled in the vast batch of Apple Watch bands available. 

It might cost a lot, but if you're a watch aficionado, there's not substitute for quality.