Buying a new Apple Watch strap is the perfect way to style your smartwatch, and there are now thousands out there to choose from.
Whether you're still rocking the original Watch, you've got your paws on the new Apple Watch Series 4 or you're even looking to gift one, Apple's smartwatch is primed and ready for styling.
Read this: Apple Watch tips and tricks
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'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 bands out there means there's some brilliant bargains to be had. Check out these staples that won't break the bank.
INTENY Sport Band
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
Silicon bands are perfect for those who like to get sweaty with their Apple Watch ‚Äď 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.
$8.00 | Amazon
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
Apple really brought the Milanese loop back into vogue with the original Apple Watch, but at $150 a 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.
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 ‚Äď you can even get a gold finish if you want.
$29.99 | Amazon
Various: Leather replacement
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.
Clockwork Synergy Classic Nato
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.
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
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.
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.
Catalyst Sport Band
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.
Monowear Nylon Active
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.
There aren't too many band brands tailoring options directly at women, but you can find plenty through Etsy ‚Äď 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.
Nomad Modern Leather
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.
Survival Strap paracord band
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.
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.
Colebrook light tan leather band
Top quality Horween leather is the order of the day on the Colebrook range, which also includes darker options ‚Äď 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. This is a much cheaper alternative to the Herm√®s Single Tour Rallye.
$95 | Etsy
Pushing the price bracket up to max is the Da Luca Aeronne, 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.
If you'd like something to match the rest of your Coach items, you're in luck with the Coach Leather strap. It's right up there in the price bracket, but you're getting a higher quality leather strap than Apple's at the same price point. It's got genuine glove tanned leather with heat-creased ends and hand-finished tacking. There's also a bundle of charms to accent the bands. Only available for the 38mm.
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. It's available exclusively for the 42mm Apple Watch.
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.
Nike+ Sport Band
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.
LuxWoods Apple Watch Band
For those looking for something different, straps don't come much more unique than LuxWoods' range. A classic link bracelet made from black ebony wood, the strap 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.
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 (110/70mm), medium (120/80mm) and large (135/85mm) sizes.
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 ‚Äď smooth, granulated, goat, real ostrich ‚Äď and then you can go about picking from one of the 30 different colour options. They're not cheap, but they look the part.
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.
X-Doria Action Band
Need a sport band but don't want to spring for Apple or Nike's offerings? X-Doria's Action Band is what you want. It's made out of a soft silicone that's perforated a little for extra breathability. Those perforations also double as slots to fasten the strap. On top of all that, it also manages a fairly interesting two-tone design ‚Äď like something from the game Halo.
Southern Straps Brown Leather
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.
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