The best Apple Watch bands 2023: top straps for the Apple Watch

Best Apple Watch bands
(Image credit: TechRadar / Apple)

Invest in the best Apple Watch bands so you can wear your Apple smartwatch in style and comfort. Trust us; we've worn cheaply-made bands that may look attractive but in the end just aren't ideal to be touching your skin, let alone clinging to it for hours each day. And, we're here to tell you that you need to be more discerning about what band you're wearing around your wrist.

You've already figured out the best Apple Watch for you so now it's time to think how you want to personalize it. Of course, with seemingly limitless options, it takes a bit of research to find the right one for you. There are also a few considerations to think about. What will you need it for? How much are you willing to spend? What's your Apple Watch's casing size?And, that's before you get into everyone having different tastes and budgets. 

Let us help you cut through the noise as well as narrow down your options. We've reviewed all the Apple Watches ever made, so we know what's good when it comes to Apple Watch bands too. In fact, we've used a number of them ourselves. To help, we picked out over 30 of the best Apple Watch bands for every situation then split them into useful categories so you can quickly find what you need. 

Make sure you choose the right size. Smaller Apple Watches with a casing size of 38mm, 40mm, or 41mm all use the same-sized smaller bands, while Watches with a 42mm, 44mm, or 45mm need the same series of larger bands. The 49mm Apple Watch Ultra also works with the same-sized bands as 45mm Apple Watches. We also have a guide on how to change an Apple Watch band if you're not sure what to do.

In the mood to spruce up your Apple Watch? We've also looked at the Apple Watch accessories along with the best Apple Watch charging stands and best Apple Watch screen protectors.

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' experience, opinion, and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at. Our selections take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability, or unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Alex Walker-Todd
Senior Phones Editor

Alex joined as TechRadar's Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but brings over a decade's worth of experience to the role, with an expertise in smartphones, tablets and wearables. He's covered keynotes hosted by the biggest brands and attended the launches for some of the most influential mobile products of the last few years. His experience was amassed at some of the most reputable consumer technology publications out there, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor and Trusted Reviews. Alex is currently holding out hope for the Pixel Watch's success and is excited for the advancements coming to the world of foldable phones in the near future.

With contributions from