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Best Apple Watch bands 2021: our pick of the great Apple wearable straps

Apple Watch straps
(Image credit: Apple)

Choosing the best Apple Watch band can be tricky, given the thousands of different options out there. Apple has its own selection to choose from, but there are also a seemingly never-ending supply of third-party Apple Watch straps to choose from too. Not all of these will be the best quality, so where do you even begin?

Fortunately, we know our stuff. We've used all the Apple Watch models since the very first one back in 2015, so we know what to look for when evaluating a good Apple Watch strap. 

Apple updated the Apple Watch design with the Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5, culminating in the latest Apple Watch 6 - but straps will fit these models even if they are designed for an earlier version, as the small and large sizes are interchangeable. All you need to do is make sure you're buying the right size with the Apple Watch 4 and above using 40mm (small) or 44mm (large) sizing, while older Apple Watches are either 38mm (small) or 42mm (large). 

Got that far? Think about how you plan on using your Apple Watch and what kind of look you're going for. We've broken down our selection of the best Apple Watch bands according to use - there are everyday options, as well as options for swimming or working out. We've also chosen some top metal, leather, and designer options too. There should be something here for every scenario.

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' 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 available to you.

Best everyday Apple Watch bands

Your Apple Watch is an everyday essential wearable, so you want some 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. 

Best Apple Watch bands for working out

When 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.

Best Apple Watch bands for swimming

The best Apple Watch bands for swimming have a lot in common with straps for working out. They're lightweight and comfortable while also being water-proof so you don't have to worry about them falling apart during your swim. Again, breathability is everything but you'll want to be able to wear them out of the pool too. Don't worry, you will.

Best leather Apple Watch bands

Love a more traditional look for a watch strap? These leather Apple Watch bands have the classiness of a traditional watch with all the benefits of being for your Apple Watch. If you're worried about sustainability, we've even found one that uses vegan leather so you have peace of mind there. Leather is highly durable when you maintain it well so these are ideal for the workplace.

Best unique Apple Watch bands

If you're keen to express yourself through your Apple Watch, these unique Apple Watch bands are the ones calling to you. We've included some of the gorgeous Pride designs that Apple has embraced in recent times, as well as some quirky designs that simply ensure you stand out from the crowd. These are the Apple Watch straps for anyone that wants something a little bit different from a regular watch strap.

Best designer Apple Watch bands

Designer Apple Watch bands can be very expensive but not always. We've covered a range of different designers so there's something for (nearly) every budget. If you want to spend more than your watch cost, you can, but there are still some very smart looking designer options for far less, and you can even create a bracelet style look from some examples here.

Best 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 bands. Much like the designer range, things can get expensive but the handy thing about metal Apple Watch bands is they're incredibly robust. Consider these an investment and your watch will stay safe for a long time to come.