Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Apple Watch bands for dressing up, going running and everything in between

Buying a new Apple Watch band is the best way to style your smartwatch, and there are now thousands out there to choose from.

Whether you're still rocking the original Watch or you've got your paws on the new Apple Watch Series 4, Apple's smartwatch is primed and ready for styling. And even though there's new case sizes through the 2018 generation, it's important to know that old Apple Watch straps still fit across the latest models.

Read this: Apple Watch tips and tricks

If you've been put off by the prices of the official bands, don't fear. There's a mass of third-party Apple Watch bands up for grabs, too, and they can look the part while still being far cheaper than their official counterparts.

We've tried out as many bands as we can to really get a feel for what they're like to wear, customise and adjust, so keep coming back for our latest picks.

Top budget Apple Watch bands

Why pay more? The sheer number of Apple Watch straps out there means there's some brilliant bargains to be had. Check out the best cheap Apple Watch bands.

MIFA leather band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

If you're looking to add a touch of class to your Apple smartwatch yet don't want to pay big bucks, this leather strap should do the business. It comes in 42mm and 44mm flavours making it Series 4 focussed, and comes with steel adaptors and a buckle fastening.

$25 | Amazon

INTENY Sport Band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

A shameless copy of Apple's own nylon offering, it's a pretty good imitation at a fraction of the cost. The strap attaches via velcro, and has a two year warranty if you're not happy with the quality. A highly impressive Amazon review score indicates that few people have cashed in on their warranty.

$8.99 | Amazon

iGK Sport Band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Silicon bands are perfect for those who like to get sweaty or swim with their Apple Watch – so it's handy being able to pick these up for less than $10 a pop. There are a bunch of colours available, and buying a few means you can leave one in your gym bag so you'll never have to suffer wearing a Milanese loop on the treadmill. Just make sure you clean and dry this one regularly to avoid any wrist rashes.

$8 | Amazon

AdMaster

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Another gamut of well-priced silicon bands for workouts, this AdMaster bunch apes the design of the Nike+ Apple Watch bunch. They come with a bunch of men- and women-friendly designed and unisex options - two-toned and mightily attractive.

$9.99 | Amazon

Various: Apple Watch Milanese

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Apple really brought the Milanese loop back into vogue with the original Apple Watch, but at $150 for the official strap, it's pretty eye-watering. Luckily, there are plenty of re-sellers hawking Milanese mesh bands for pennies, showing how much you can save with a little shopping around. We've picked out a couple here.

$9.99 | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Oittm Stainless Steel Metal

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

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.

$29.99 | Amazon

Apple Watch Leather replacement

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Likewise, there are plenty of leather strap options available on a shoestring, too. This genuine leather number has a metal buckle and improved strength makes it well worth a pop.

$10.99 | Amazon

Premium Apple Watch straps

If you're looking for an injection of couture into your smartwatch life, check out our selection below of premium Apple Watch straps hewn from only the finest materials.

Cinnamon leather band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

A lovely deep brown leather watch band, this cinnamon coloured leather strap comes in 38mm, 40mm, 42mm and 44mm flavours to suit Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4. It uses a buckle fastening, comes with Apple Watch fastening and hand-stitched detailing.

$34.30, etsy.com

Rose Gold & Chocolate bracelet

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

The Apple Watch has a rep for being fairly chunky on the wrist, but buying a leather bracelet strap like this rose gold and chocolate number is a good way to reduce the bulk. It’s a double wrap style measuring just 7mm, making it substantially thinner than your average band even when wrapped twice. It’s made with leather, features an adjustable buckle, and loops nicely over the Watch fastening to add detail you can’t find elsewhere – but be warned, it only comes in 40mm and 44mm Series 4 sizes.

$45, etsy.com

Natural Vegetable Tanned band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third-party straps to style your watch for less

Simple is often so much more effective, just like this gorgeous cream leather strap. It’s hand dyed and stitched and comes available for all sizes of Apple Watch old and new – from 38mm up to the big new 44mm Series 4.

$47.99etsy.com

Clockwork Synergy Classic Nato

Best Apple Watch bands

If you'd really like Apple's nylon bands but want something at about half the price, the Clockwork Synergy Classic Nato collection is for you. Not only are there 49 different colour variations, these are light and durable straps, plus they just look darn good. They feature more traditional nylon designs than Apple's crop too.

$24.95, clockworksynergy.com | Amazon

Speidel Twist-O-Flex

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Talk about a blast from the past! Remember those stretch metal watch bands you could wear? Speidel has now modernized its classic band for Apple Watch in both 38mm and 42mm. And best of all, it's a nice and affordable $50. You'll buy it for the nostalgia and charm, but you'll keep it for the comfort and long-lasting craftsmanship.

$50, speidel.com | Amazon

Casetify Classic Lady

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

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 | Amazon

Catalyst Sport Band

Best Apple Watch bands: Third party straps to pimp your watch for less

When you're going for a sports band, you want something breathable. Most breathable sports bands, however, opt for circular perforations that make them look like slices of cheese. Catalyst's option opts for triangles, which makes it look a tad better.

While this band is a solid performer in the working out arena, its double notch, which lodges into the band's perforations, means you're not going to feel like this will fly off your wrist.

$39.99, catalystlifestyle.com | Amazon

Alto

Best Apple Watch bands

Coming in a choice of six leather variations, Alto's bands are another consideration for those who aren't sold on Apple's own styles. Since it's leather, Alto indicates that the band will eventually develop into a different shade, and there are options for those with either a 38mm and 42mm. And the great bonus of leather bands is that they're generally unisex-looking, meaning the only thing you have to worry about is the colour.

$99, viaalto.com | Amazon

Pad & Quill Field Strap

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

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. It's available exclusively for the 42mm Apple Watch.

$99.95, padandquill.com | Amazon

Meridio

Best Apple Watch bands

Meridio comes about as close any any third-party watch strap brand to replicating Apple's own premium feel. We've tested out the company's standard leather options from its Nappa collection, as well as its more vintage bands. They're durable, have the same thin-leather style as Apple's collections and you even have the option to engrave your initials on.

If that's not enough for you, and you're okay with paying a little more, the Italian band-maker also fashions straps from pythons, crocodiles and even ostriches. Enough? Oh wait, there's also a few made from cat-sharks. Wild stuff.

From $89.99, meridioband.com

Monowear Nylon Active

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

You want a nice nylon strap, but you'd prefer it of the loop variety, like Apple's own Sport Loop strap. However, you also don't want to shell out for it. That's when you'll turn to Monowear's Nylon Active, a nylon loop strap. There's a genuine leather panel on the back and stainless steel lugs, making this a good match for either the aluminium or stainless steel Apple Watch variations.

$31.99, monoweardesign.com

Infinity Bangle

Best Apple Watch bands: Third party straps to style your watch for less

There aren't too many band brands tailoring options directly at women, but you can find plenty through Etsy – including this bangle. It's a bit flashier than what you may be used to through standard straps, but it does help zhuzh up the bezel and turn the Watch into a bit more of a fashion piece. The band is made from stainless steel and zirconia stones, coming in both 38mm and 42mm variants.

$55.20, etsy.com

Nomad Modern Leather

Best Apple Watch bands: Third party straps to pimp your watch for less

Nomad's leather straps are unlike others. The Modern Strap has got a bold, minimalistic style that's reminiscent of a sports band in the right lighting - but it's not, with slim-to-nil stitching and a refreshing slate grey colour. The straps are made out of Horween leather and are designed to patina over time, giving you a rugged long-term look to complement its modern design.

$59.95, nomad.com

Survival Strap paracord band

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

If you're looking for the ultimate Apple Watch band, one that'll stay on your wrist when you're on your most extreme adventures, then you have to look at Survival Strap's paracord band. They're tactical straps made out of authentic military paracord. You can also customise it to your heart's content, with more than 40 different colour combinations.

$49.99, survivalstraps.com

Strapple Crocodilus

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Not only does the Strapple Crocodilus sound like the main character in a kid's cartoon show, but it also represents a nice alternative to Apple's leather straps. It's not actually crocodile leather, with Strapple instead using a fine Italian calfskin leather and embossed alligator pattern. Pair with a nice space black Apple Watch and you have something that screams luxury.

$140, strapple.com

Coach Camo Strap

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Coach's collections typically introduce a couple of bands with some fancy graphics, like a shark or a penguin sipping from a champagne glass, but its most classic look is the Camo Strap. It's a brown leather strap with some subtle camo printed on it, so if you want your wrist-based device to blend into your wardrobe while also being simple you're in look. Bonus: This works exclusively for the 42mm Apple Watch, unlike the other Coach, with is 38mm only.

$75, coach.com

Nike+ Sport Band

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Finally! You can purchase the Nike+ sports strap without buying a special Nike+ Apple Watch. You too can now enjoy that light, airy strap built especially for exercise. While the regular Sports band is perfectly fine for exercising, the perforated holes on the Nike+ variant make it much more comfortable on your sweaty wrist. If you're a runner, this band is a winner. Plus, Nike's bands are colour coordinated to match its shoes so you'll always be in sync.

$49.99, nike.com

Choicecuts Horween leather strap

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

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 (110/70mm), medium (120/80mm) and large (135/85mm) sizes.

$80, etsy.com

Lucrin Leather

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Lucrin offers a variety of sizes and colours in its 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.

$172 | lucrin.com | Amazon

Southern Straps Brown Leather

Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

Handcrafted in San Francisco, Southern Straps' Brown Leather Apple Watch band uses a vegetable tanned full-grain Italian leather. And boy, does it feel good to wear. If you're looking for something to complement a suit, this band is for you.

We tested it during a wedding and found it drew a considerable amount of attention, with people asking whether it was a new band from Apple. It comes with either gold, black or silver lugs.

$79, southernstraps.com


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