Which Apple band(s) should you get for your new Apple Watch?

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in Apple Watch
If you got an Apple Watch for Christmas, or you're looking to buy one on your own, there's a multitude of official bands to choose from. Which ones -- if any -- should you consider?

Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular in Fog Gray


There are no hard and fast rules on what you should buy. Most bands are available for every Watch model, and typically, all of Apple's options are well-made. With that said, what you pick should probably be based on both your budget and your purpose.

For the average Watch owner

If all you care about is everyday functionality, you might as well stick with the Sport Band or Sport Loop, both of which are $49 and often come bundled with Watches. Of the two we would recommend the Sport Loop, which is extremely comfortable and easier to slip on. The Sport Band is fine, but it can take a little while to learn how to slip it on quickly.

The Midnight Blue Sport Loop.
The Midnight Blue Sport Loop.


Some people will of course want a band that looks more professional, fashionable, and/or suitable for formal occasions. Preferable options in that regard are Apple's Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle, and Leather Loop, all of which cost $149. Note that some designs are available only for one size of Watch.

The (Product)Red Classic Buckle.
The (Product)Red Classic Buckle.


Woven Nylon bands may also be good all-purpose selections, especially since they're just $49. Just be sure to pick tasteful colors -- Spicy Orange could look stylish with your t-shirt and jeans, but chances are it won't work with a three-piece suit.

It's worth noting that some accessories are branded for (Product)Red, which funnels proceeds to the Global Fund, a charity fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

For fitness

If you're serious about running, weightlifting, or other fitness activities, there are really only three options: the Sport Band, Sport Loop, and Nike Sport Band.

These all cost the same, so the choice really boils down to personal comfort. The Sport Loop and Nike bands are the best in that regard as they're both slightly lighter. You might not think weight would matter that much with a watch band, but a light one is less distracting, especially during long-distance runs.

The Pure Platinum/Black Nike Sport Band.
The Pure Platinum/Black Nike Sport Band.


The Sport Loop has the advantages we mentioned earlier. Some people may nevertheless want to go for a Nike band, for one simple reason: sweat. Its perforations can keep your wrist cooler, and allow more sweat to drip away.

For fashion

Style is highly subjective, particularly when it comes to the Apple Watch. After all, there's no reason a Sport Band can't look amazing if it's paired with the right model and clothes.

Since people often have a culturally-defined interpretation of "fashion" though, we would suggest going with the Buckle or Leather Loop options in most instances, or perhaps the Milanese Loop. The last comes in Silver ($149) or Space Black ($199) versions.

The Silver Milanese Loop.
The Silver Milanese Loop.


If money is no obstacle, there are the Silver ($449) and Space Black ($549) Link Bracelets, and an assortment of Single- and Double-Tour leather bands by French fashion house Hermes, ranging in cost from $339 to a whopping $589 for the Noir Swift Leather Double Tour Medor. You'll have to decide for yourself if Hermes branding is important, but shoppers wanting some sort of metal bracelet should strongly consider Apple gear -- third-party bracelets can be cheaper, but potentially problematic.

The Space Black Link Bracelet.
The Space Black Link Bracelet.

What about third-party bands?

Third-party accessories tend to be cheaper in general, and should definitely be checked out if you're buying a second or third Watch band. It's often worth paying the "Apple tax" for electronics, but as long as a band is durable, fits, and looks good, that's all that counts. In fact there are plenty of colors and styles you simply can't get from Apple.

The Nomad Horween Leather Strap.
The Nomad Horween Leather Strap.


There are so many choices that we can't begin to do them justice here. As a starting point however you might want to check out brands like Monowear, Nomad, and Southern Straps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25



    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.

     Tons of leather bands, metal bands, etc. Even the knock-off Apple ones are great.

    Just read the reviews and you can't go wrong. We had 1 issue with a leather band, I complained and they just sent us another one.
    edited January 2 racerhomie3father barry
  • Reply 2 of 25
    robjnrobjn Posts: 200member
    A major factor is whether you plan on getting your Apple Watch wet such as swimming or showering. All the leather and metal bands are not water resistant. Only the nylon and fluoroelastomer sport bands are recommended to be used in water.
    GeorgeBMacmavemufc
  • Reply 3 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 702member
    $150-$550 for a watch band???!!! Even the standard sport band is overpriced at $50. (At least it’s comfortable, though)

    The Apple Watch is already expensive when you consider it will probably be obsolete in 3-4 years, but you can at least justify the cost by the amount of technology they’ve crammed in there and the functionality. But charging that much extra for bands is obscene. I’ll definitet be going 3rd Party 
    father barry
  • Reply 4 of 25
    any suggestions on bands for a white edition?  
  • Reply 5 of 25


    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.
    I’m hesitant to buy any third party bands from Amazon. One co-worker purchased a knock-off if the Nike Sport band (it was either red with black holes or vice versus). In fewer than 6 weeks the outside color was wearing off in several places to reveal the inside color. It looked really bad and he wasn’t happy, but “didn’t pay a lot”. He claimed he would no longer buy third party bands. 

    Another co-worker loves buying third party bands on Amazon. I’m confused, though, because he says they aren’t very good and don’t last but since he only pays $15 he doesn’t mind replacing them every couple of months. Meanwhile, a friend of mine picked up a couple of different bands at the Apple Store when she got her Watch last January and they’re still like new, she doesn’t need to continuously replace them.

    Generally I go by the old saying: “The bitterness of low quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 
    edited January 2 SpamSandwichbluefire1peterhart
  • Reply 6 of 25
    macguimacgui Posts: 935member
    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.
    Buying Apple Watch bands on Amazon is a crapshoot. For every 'great' band there are five horrific ones. I've bought several and while a few were good, none of them were as high quality as Apple's bands, and some were very, very bad. You have to be careful with Amazon reviews, too.

    That said, if your eye isn't all that critical you can get some nice bands from Amz.  I don't bother with most third-party bands, now that I have bought several and weeded out the bad bands. Two Sport knock-offs self-destructed at the lug, one as I was putting it on for the first time, another about three weeks later. Fortunately for me the Watch fell onto a thick rug with no harm done. I was able to pick the lug out of the Watch. Some people haven't been so lucky and Apple generally won't touch the Watch in such case. Another band had the color wearing off as with just a few weeks use. If you get a band you're happy with from Amz, great.  It's just not worth it to me to dig through all the wannabes.

    There are some third-party manufacturers that provide better products than most seen at Amz. Pad and Quill and Clockwork Synergy are just two. But most leather bands from even these vendors are not quite up to the standards of the Watch. They tend to look bulky with clunky buckles.

    I have the Apple Classic Buckle and it's exquisite. So far the only other leather bands I've seen that have the same level of detail are the Hermès bands. I've got a few Sport bands and they're thicker than the cheap knock-offs. IF a lug were to fail, Apple would cover it (for awhile, anyway). Not so for third-party stuff. I've got a couple Sport Loops. LOVE these. The Velcro sticks well and doesn't seem to degrade the band, but I want to see how they are in a year from now.


    Generally I go by the old saying: “The bitterness of low quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 
    That's how I roll. I don't need to spend big money to impress anybody, but I shop for value. I too know people who use the 'buy often, it's cheap' model and for me that's paying too much on two levels. I do and will appreciate the quality of Apple bands long after I've forgotten what I paid for them. That's my standard of good value. Everybody should do what works for them.
    kevin kee
  • Reply 7 of 25
    any suggestions on bands for a white edition?  
    Milanese loop, my friend. They are absolutely gorgeous and sooooooooooo comfortable. It’s nice having an infinite number of adjustable sizes so that you can get that perfect fit and feel. I love mine. 
    peterhart
  • Reply 8 of 25

    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.

     Tons of leather bands, metal bands, etc. Even the knock-off Apple ones are great.

    Just read the reviews and you can't go wrong. We had 1 issue with a leather band, I complained and they just sent us another one.
    A lot (not all) of them are from China cheap knockoff. I prefer to buy quality over quantity. Yes, they are more expensive but they last long and more comfortable. I only bought 3 bands for the last 3 years: Classic buckle, Nike and Milanese, to cover all occasions, and they are all still in perfect condition.

    MplsP said:
    $150-$550 for a watch band???!!! Even the standard sport band is overpriced at $50. (At least it’s comfortable, though)

    The Apple Watch is already expensive when you consider it will probably be obsolete in 3-4 years, but you can at least justify the cost by the amount of technology they’ve crammed in there and the functionality. But charging that much extra for bands is obscene. I’ll definitet be going 3rd Party 
    Trust me, the price worth it. Besides, the bands are interchangeable and shareable, meaning any version of watch can use it, even the future release.
    peterhart
  • Reply 9 of 25
    larryalarrya Posts: 525member
    Monowear leather bands seem pretty good. They even give the choice of lugs to match your case color (closely, but not exactly). I have a black leather one that seems very high quality. 
  • Reply 10 of 25
    The Space Black Milanese Loop is stunning --polished, classy, elegant, comfortable and chic!


  • Reply 11 of 25


    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.
    I’m hesitant to buy any third party bands from Amazon. One co-worker purchased a knock-off if the Nike Sport band (it was either red with black holes or vice versus). In fewer than 6 weeks the outside color was wearing off in several places to reveal the inside color. It looked really bad and he wasn’t happy, but “didn’t pay a lot”. He claimed he would no longer buy third party bands. 

    Another co-worker loves buying third party bands on Amazon. I’m confused, though, because he says they aren’t very good and don’t last but since he only pays $15 he doesn’t mind replacing them every couple of months. Meanwhile, a friend of mine picked up a couple of different bands at the Apple Store when she got her Watch last January and they’re still like new, she doesn’t need to continuously replace them.

    Generally I go by the old saying: “The bitterness of low quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 
    They're **not** low quality.

    The ones that are get pumelled with negative reviews and photo evidence.

    Many great bands rise up... just do your due diligence.

    You can't go wrong trying them at their prices... you can buy many for the price of one Apple one. My wife's milanese loop is *identical* to the one sold in the Apple store. We held them side-by-side.

    Im picky about quality... if we had had bad experiences, I wouldn't buy them.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    kevin kee said:

    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.

     Tons of leather bands, metal bands, etc. Even the knock-off Apple ones are great.

    Just read the reviews and you can't go wrong. We had 1 issue with a leather band, I complained and they just sent us another one.
    A lot (not all) of them are from China cheap knockoff. I prefer to buy quality over quantity. Yes, they are more expensive but they last long and more comfortable. I only bought 3 bands for the last 3 years: Classic buckle, Nike and Milanese, to cover all occasions, and they are all still in perfect condition.


    The milanese loop we got off Amazon is identical to the Apple store one. We held them side by side at the Apple store.

    The leather bands are lovely. Soft & supple... lovely colours... My wife loves the variety... different bands for different outfits.

    But as a long APPL shareholder, I do encourage people to buy them directly from Apple. lol 
    peterhart
  • Reply 13 of 25


    I get all of my wife's bands from Amazon. There's so many great ones I don't know why anyone would buy one at the Apple store.
    I’m hesitant to buy any third party bands from Amazon. <snip>

    Generally I go by the old saying: “The bitterness of low quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 

    I agree. I bought a rip-off Hermes double loop leather band and a White fluoroelastomer band. The double loop leather band still works fine, but the fluoroelastomer band was so screwed up that it wouldn't even go into the Watch. A definite waste.


    It's a pity that Apple doesn't sell bands here even now. The only official bands you get are the ones when you buy the watch.


  • Reply 14 of 25
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,938member
    bluefire1 said:
    The Space Black Milanese Loop is stunning --polished, classy, elegant, comfortable and chic!


    and $200, which is what I spent on my last Watch. Anyone find a decent knockoff version of this model yet? I started looking on Amazon once, but you can't trust the reviews on anything like that on there anymore. 

    I feel like the prices on the higher end bands could come down a bit back down to earth, since the $10000 Edition isn't around anymore.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    It took me a while and over time, I found some on eBay and Craigslist, but I’ve got a thing for the original Sport Bands. They are comfortable and every color Apple has come out with, even things like White and Soft White (while sooo close in color) are matchable to anything. For some, it’s just a collection to be proud of. Here’s how I store my complete collection of Apple Watch Sport bands (with some Woven Nylons and Nike Sports as well). ;)


  • Reply 16 of 25
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,117member
    I've been using the original sports band for a while now and have no complaints -- except it's a bit awkward to put on getting the little peg into the correct little hole and then sliding the sticky band into its slot...

    I've been thinking of switching to the sports loop on my next watch.  But I'm wondering how all those little nooks and crevices would hold up being drenched in sweat during long & hard summer runs.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    Bezels & Bytes women’s fashion watches! Great style, adjustable and fun. Available at BezelsandBytes.com and at Nordstrom also. 


    allmypeople
  • Reply 18 of 25
    mavemufcmavemufc Posts: 326member
    Got 5 bands which I purchased from Apple Stores, and last week I bought a cheap sport knock off band from ebay can honestly say its just the same quality as the official Apple ones I have, £49 from Apple, £7 from eBay.
    allmypeople
  • Reply 19 of 25
    mavemufc said:
    Got 5 bands which I purchased from Apple Stores, and last week I bought a cheap sport knock off band from ebay can honestly say its just the same quality as the official Apple ones I have, £49 from Apple, £7 from eBay.
    yep. and if you want a more guarantee in quality read the well reviewed ones on Amazon.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Bezels & Bytes women’s fashion watches! Great style, adjustable and fun. Available at BezelsandBytes.com and at Nordstrom also. 



    Now THOSE are lovely. A good valentine's for my woman!
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