Buying the best Apple Watch strap is the perfect way to pimp your smartwatch.
If you've been put off by the prices of Apple's official bands, don't fear. There's a mass of third party bands up for grabs, and they can look the part while still being far cheaper than their official counterparts.
We're trying out as many bands as we can to really get a feel for what they're like to wear, customise and adjust, so look back for more diverse straps every month.
RuslieStraps Leather Band
Using vegetable tanned leather the RuslieStrap band offers a distinctive choice for those looking for a high quality leather feel, but not excited by plain old brown. It comes in 38mm and 42mm sizes and includes the Apple Watch connectors.
$64.99 | Etsy
Colebrook light tan leather band
Top quality Horween leather is the order of the day on the Colebrook range, which also includes darker options – but we love this tan number. The "racing" strap is punched with holes to add extra detail, and you can choose between black and silver connectors and buckles.
$95 | Etsy
Southern Straps NATO military green
Of all the straps we've been wearing recently, the military green NATO from Southern Straps has been getting all the attention. The gold lugs play nicely against our space grey Apple Watch Series 2, although you can opt for different colour hardware if needed.
Pushing the price bracket up to max is the Da Luca Aereon, with its Swiss ammo leather material and sturdy silver buckle. At 20mm it doesn't dominate the wrist, and trumps its competitors in the leather aroma department.
TOMS Artisan Black Diamond
When you think desirable Apple Watch straps, your mind probably doesn't jump straight to shoemakers. TOMS, however, has put its mastery of canvas to wrist-pimping good use, and the Black Diamond Artisan model is the pick of its bunch.
Crafted from hard-wearing woven fabric, the Artisan band is finished with a supple leather back for a comfortable fit on wrists between 130-180mm. Stainless steel accents and a rounded buckle finish the look. Not only does this strap look slick, it's also being used to do some good in the world. For every strap sold, TOMS is donating a solar light to a child in a developing country.
Pad & Quill Field Strap
This is the sort of watch strap Bear Grylls would wear, but don't let that put you off. Pairing water-resistant Cordura fabric with full grain leather accents, its hard-wearing canvas build will stand up to whatever you can throw at it, day after day after day. Pairing substance with style, it looks effortlessly cool too, and is comfortable to wear all day without issue. It's available exclusively for the 42mm Apple Watch only.
Elobeth Soft Sports Bracelet
Despite being one of the best looking bands it makes, Apple is refusing to sell the Apple Watch Nike+ sports strap without the watch itself. That doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the Nike look and feel on your existing Apple Wearable though. This convincing copy gives the appearance of owning the Nike+ edition, while bringing all the same waterproof, run-loving benefits. Yes, it's a little thinner and less robust than the official unit, but it still wears nicely and is comfortable to exercise in.
$10.49 | Amazon
Spigen Rugged Strap
The best Apple Watch straps aren't just about elegance and finesse. Sometimes you need a strap that's rough, tough and up for a fight. That's the Spigen Rugged Strap you'll be after then. Perfect for those with an outdoors lifestyle, it takes the run-friendly, waterproof ways of Apple's standard Sports strap and cranks it up to 11. The 42mm strap has a pin and tuck buckle that offers a secure fit and a knock-resistant finish. It's pretty big and bulky, but whether you're walking up a mountain or throwing yourself off one, it's tough enough to keep your watch safe.
LuxWoods Apple Watch Band
For those looking for something different, it doesn't come much more unique than LuxWoods' range of straps. A classic link bracelet made from black ebony wood, it feels delightful, with each link smoothed and polished. What's more, it's light and comes with a high quality buckle. Word of warning, however, the adjustment is really tough and it's easy to damage the band.
Casetify Classic Lady
It's hard to ignore this muted and classy Casetify strap, which puts a more feminine spin on the classic red, white and blue. Made from a refined plastic, it's durable and offers a genuine dose of class welcome among the legions of metal chainmail and leather that dominate the third party strap market. There's also a red, white and blue Classic 1970s men's version, too.
$52 | casetify.com
Pad and Quill Padded strap
The Field strap uses delightful two tone effect, blending leather and cordura together for an interesting ensemble. The leather is such good quality it's a shame that it's wasted on the inside, but that effect isn't lost on your skin, and it's super comfy to wear all day. Designed for 42mm Apple Watch Series 1 & Series 2 for 130-210mm wrists, there are two colours with grey/black and brown/black options available.
Pad&Quill 60 Year Luxury Lowry Cuff
A bold statement of a watch strap, the Pad&Quill leather cuff is for those who like a bit of chunk on their arm. Reminiscent of Fossil watch straps, the supple leather is top quality, which is certainly echoed with the price tag.
JETech Milanese loop
For those looking for an alternative to Apple's classic but cripplingly expensive Milanese loop, JETech might have the answer. This delightful strap eschews a buckle in favour of an adjustable magnetic clasp to hold the strap at your desired size. It's available for the 38mm and 42mm variant of the Apple Watch.
$19.99 | Amazon
Choicecuts Horween leather strap
This Choicecuts strap uses Horween Coffee Bean Dublin leather with minimal stitching for a cleaner look. The Horween is far darker than normal leather straps, and comes with the clasps and connectors required for an instant fit. The strap is available in small (110 x 70mm), medium (120 x 80mm) and large (135 x 85mm) sizes.
Lucrin offer a variety of sizes and colours in their leather band range, so you can pick one to suit your sartorial style and your 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch casing. Your first choice is between a Classic or a more refined Elegance design, then there's a choice of leathers — smooth, granulated, goat, real ostrich — and then you can go about picking from one of the 30 different colour options. They're not cheap, but they look the part.
$167.99 | lucrin.com
Oittm Stainless Steel Metal
If you fancy a nice stainless steel strap for your Apple Watch but can't afford the asking price of the official link bracelet, try these cheaper alternatives for Oittm. We can't vouch personally for how good they are, but there are hundreds of reviews online attesting to their quality. The straps come with a folding clasp and there's a choice of colours for both the 38mm and the 42mm models — you can even get a gold finish if you want.
$27.99 | Amazon
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