Nomad Sport Strap review: a more rugged alternative to Apple's

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 28
Nomad's latest Apple Watch band is a reimagined active lifestyle option that is comfortable, easy to connect, and puts off a more rugged aesthetic.

The new Nomad Sport Strap
The new Nomad Sport Strap


Apple Watch bands continue to be a hit for Nomad, with the company releasing several new models as of late. This time we are focusing on its Sport Strap.

More durable than Apple's bands

The band only ships in a black option with grooves down either side, and is made of an ultra-durable fluoroelastomer called FKM. Used frequently in other industries, such as the automotive world, it is heralded by Nomad as being extremely resistant to chemical and physical wear -- exactly what you'd want on a reliable watch band.

The new Nomad Sport Strap
The new Nomad Sport Strap


The first time we picked up the band, we noticed how hefty it was, being more a solid accessory that doesn't feel like a light or cheap band. It can twist and bend easily, but stretches very little.

Nomad uses a custom pin and tuck closing mechanism, akin to Apple's own bands. For the pin, it is made of aluminum that is anodized to a dark gray color. On the bottom of the pin is a Nomad logo. That pin is wide and takes a good amount of pressure to look when putting the band on. The excess part of the strap is tucked away, fitting under the other side of the strap.

A slight concave curve to the band helps prevent it from sticking to your wrist while working out or generating a sweat. The inside is also full of ventilation channels that also make it more breathable for wear.

The new Nomad Sport Strap
The new Nomad Sport Strap has custom metal hardware


Compared to Apple's Sports Band, the Nomad one has a similar closure, but is otherwise more rugged in every way. The pin and tuck clasp is stronger, the FKM rubber holds up more, and it overall has a more rugged appearance.

We'd say Apple's feels softer when you touch it, and of course comes in many more colors, but isn't as tough.

One thing that is slightly odd about the band is the number of adjustment holes. There are 14 in total that goes almost all the way to the end of the strap.

If you'd use that last adjustment hole, there is such a small amount of the strap left, it can't be tucked into the opposing end of the band. If someone did use this hole, it would make the band much more prone to coming off if the end of the strap is hit or snagged.

The new Nomad Sport Strap
The new Nomad Sport Strap


It could have made more sense for Nomad to have included fewer adjustment holes to create a cleaner appearance. While it would fit smaller wrists, it also wouldn't have the chance to come free.

Should you buy Nomad's Sport Strap?

Apple Watch straps are entirely up to personal taste. If you don't want a masculine and robust band on your wrist, then the Nomad Sport Strap isn't for you. But if you like the look of the band, you won't be disappointed.

The band is very comfortable for us to wear, has been incredibly secure, and doesn't appear that it will fail over time. It's a great alternative to Apple's sports band that has a simple appearance, with not much style outside of their color.

The new Nomad Sport Strap
The new Nomad Sport Strap available now


Nomad's lineup includes the Rugged Strap with a traditional buckle clasp, several leather options in varying colors and thickness, and now the new Sport Strap. In our opinion, you can't go wrong with any of them.

Pros
  • Rugged FKM rubber

  • Unique rugged appearance

  • Strong custom pin and tuck clasp

  • Comfortable and breathable
Cons
  • Unnecessary adjustment holes

  • Not as soft to the touch as Apple's

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

Nomad's Sport Strap for the Apple Watch can be ordered from the company directly for $49.95. If you use code AI20 you can get 20 percent off your purchase.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    I wouldn’t list “Unnecessary adjustment holes” as a con. I believe that is a style choice not a functional choice. No one is going to take the band down to hole #1.
    beachdog1charlesn
  • Reply 2 of 9
    neilmneilm Posts: 900member
    Yeah, the holes are for all of adjustment, ventilation and styling. In fact it’d look odd if those “unnecessary” holes had been omitted.

    Good thing that “FKM” is an abbreviation and not an acronym...
    beachdog1
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    razorpit said:
    I wouldn’t list “Unnecessary adjustment holes” as a con. I believe that is a style choice not a functional choice. No one is going to take the band down to hole #1.
    I’d have listed it as a con no matter how you categorize it. I don’t think it looks good with the extra holes and they aren’t functional. Two holes less and I think it would look better and wouldn’t have an issue with functionality *should* someone try to use them
  • Reply 4 of 9
    razorpit said:
    I wouldn’t list “Unnecessary adjustment holes” as a con. I believe that is a style choice not a functional choice. No one is going to take the band down to hole #1.
    I’d have listed it as a con no matter how you categorize it. I don’t think it looks good with the extra holes and they aren’t functional. Two holes less and I think it would look better and wouldn’t have an issue with functionality *should* someone try to use them
    Why would you think the extra holes aren't functional?  It's a "sport" band -- ventilation???  It's the reason I have a Nike sport band with the holes -- for ventilation; helps with sweat when working out.

    Rather than list "unnecessary adjustment holes" as a Con, maybe better to just list that you don't like the design? 

    Edit:  And to be fair, the Nike sport band with the holes is not all that great looking. They could have cut back on the holes a bit. LOL.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Looks like an old G-Shock watch band from the 90s.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    Looks like an old G-Shock watch band from the 90s.
    But I loved my old G-Shock back in the day.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    razorpit said:
    I wouldn’t list “Unnecessary adjustment holes” as a con. I believe that is a style choice not a functional choice. No one is going to take the band down to hole #1.
    I’d have listed it as a con no matter how you categorize it. I don’t think it looks good with the extra holes and they aren’t functional. Two holes less and I think it would look better and wouldn’t have an issue with functionality *should* someone try to use them
    So... I'm happy to see such a positive review for an accessory by Nomad, a company that definitely makes the Apple ecosystem a better and more interesting place. Just don't quit your day job for a career in product design. None of the holes on the pin and tuck side of the band are functional--they're a design choice, too--and it would be a strange looking band without them. 
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Looks like an old G-Shock watch band from the 90s.
    The twelve year old who wrote this article probably hasn't seen a Casio watch.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    If your comparing it to the Apple Sport Band, you should be comparing weight


    edited December 2020
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