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

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

One of the best Apple Watch bands will transform your smartwatch, making it more practical, stylish or functional, depending on which band you pick. Countless Apple Watch bands are available to buy through Apple and third-party retailers, but many are poorly made and may look good at first but often aren’t comfortable or show signs of wear after only a few weeks. We’re here to help you find the best Apple Watch band that ticks all boxes instead. 

We’ve reviewed all of the best Apple Watches over the years, so we know all the factors you need to consider when looking for the best Apple Watch band to personalize your smartwatch. The most crucial factor is that you choose the correct size. Smaller Apple Watches with a casing size of 38mm, 40mm, or 41mm all 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 also recommend you read our guide about how to change an Apple Watch band if you’re unsure what to do.

In our guide below, we’ve selected more than 30 of the top Apple Watch band options to suit every situation, whether you want a sweat-proof Apple Watch band for working out or a leather option to make your smartwatch look like a classic, traditional watch instead. If you’re going to give your new (or old) Apple Watch even more of a makeover, take a look at our best Apple Watch accessories list and our best Apple Watch charging stands and best Apple Watch screen protectors.

Although we’ve tested many of the best Apple Watch bands in this guide, some products are listed here that we haven’t had hands-on time with. However, based on our experts’ experience, opinion, and knowledge of the major brands, we think all these options are worth considering. Each of our selections considers online reviews, brand reputation, product capability, or 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. 

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.

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.

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