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Best Apple Watch bands 2021: Pick up a stylish strap or band

, Contributing editor · ·
Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data; projecting how events might unfold based on past events or how products and services compare against each other.
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  • Check out our guide to the top Apple Watch straps - whichever model of the smartwatch you own

(Pocket-lint) - Regardless of whether you've got an Apple Watch Series 7Apple Watch SE or a much earlier model, all bands designed for the smartwatch should fit across every generation. 

You'll still need to take into account whether you have the bigger or smaller case size - something that has changed across Apple Watch generations - but the cross-compatibility means there's an absolute wealth of choice out there.

Thankfully for you, we've been wearing various Apple Watch models, with a variety of straps, for years now, so we're well-positioned to tell you about some of the very best options available right now. 


Our current 'Top Pick' is the Apple Sport Loop. Other great options include the Apple Sport Band, Apple Milanese Loop, Nike Sport Band, and Apple Modern Buckle.


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Apple's nylon straps are our favourite to actually wear day-to-day with your Apple Watch. They're really stylish and available in a wide range of colours, but all of them fit extremely comfortably.

Plus, they're suitable for exercise, so you don't have to worry about swapping your band out if you decide to go for a run at lunch. There are also Nike editions for even more options. 

Here is a selection of other Apple Watch straps to consider.

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If you prefer the feel of a silicone strap (or as Apple calls its material, fluoroelastomer), the official sport band is a great option.

It's obviously waterproof and really easy to keep clean, and again is available in plenty of colours to suit your style and outfit. 

AREP

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For those who want a band that's great for exercise, but don't want to shell out hugely for it, this third-party option is a great one to check out.

You get a band that looks really similar to Apple's own ones, but at a fraction of the price. It won't last as long, but, at this price, you might not have any issue with that at all.

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If you're looking for a more business-appropriate look or want to dress up for an occasion, the Milanese Loop that Apple offers is superb.

It's pricey for a band, but you get that soft metallic look and it's really comfortable, too. 

iiteeology

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If you want a metallic-style band that doesn't cost as much as the Apple option we've selected above, you could well enjoy this one from Iiteeology.

It's a link-style band that looks really great and is available in multiple finishes to give you a bit of control over how it fits. We like the black version pictured here, but the others look swell too.

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Our last sports band from Apple, the Nike tie-in for this band is marked out by those holes, which make it even more breathable and perfect for long workouts.

We particularly like this Pride edition of the band, and there are other nice colours available too. 

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This smooth leather band from Apple is a really nice one to look at, and its softness makes it great to wear, too.

You also get that buckle which looks more like a typical watch strap, which can be really useful for an outfit. Still, it's a pretty pricey package. 

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There's nothing quite like a good old-fashioned value pack, is there? This set of two elasticated bands lets you solve the problem of variety by chucking in more than one colour to choose from.

This lets you immediately get set for different outfits or occasions. They're comfortable to wear and look great, so the fact they're not as well-made as Apple's bands shouldn't matter too much.

The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.

These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:

Choosing the strap for your Apple Watch can feel just as important as choosing your watch model and size, since it plays a huge role in determining how your watch looks. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you browse.

This is a big one - Apple Watches are superb ways to keep on track of your health and fitness thanks to the array of sensors and tracking they offer. However, if you pair your watch with a lovely leather band and then go for a run, you might run into some issues with the sweat that entails.

Simply put, if you're going to exercise in your Apple Watch (and especially if that means any sort of swimming), get a waterproof or sweatproof band!

The biggest downside to the many sweatproof options out there for your Apple Watch band is that most of them look a little jazzy - a little informal. So, if you're rocking up to a smart dinner or any other occasion where you want to dress to impress, it might be worth also picking out an option that's a little more formal.

One big variable between different straps, in our experience, is in terms of how easy it is to adjust them. If you know that you like swapping between different tightnesses depending on the situation, you might want to make sure you get a strap that you can adjust, while options like the Sports Loop let you do this in whatever increments you like.

A traditional watch strap is generally leather, it's fair to say, but there are loads of materials you might have tried over the years, from canvas to plastic and loads in between, so if you've ever particularly liked a type of watch strap, bear that in mind! While Apple's own list of options doesn't span that many types, there are countless third-party providers who could oblige.

Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.

An Apple Watch is probably going to be on your wrist all day, every day, and for our money that makes picking the right strap for it absolutely key. It'll change your whole look. Since Apple makes it so easy to swap your straps, too, we think it's a sensible move to pick more than one so that you can swap them out when you need to.

We've used the straps on this list, wearing them to see how comfortable and adjustable they are, and working out which ones work well and which ones, well, don't. Pricing is also important, since Apple's own bands are, without exception, more expensive than we'd all like.

We aren’t interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. And don’t for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise.

We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market. There is also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Conor Allison.