2020 was the first year to give us two Apple Watches, with the Series 6 joined by a new more affordable option in the form of the Watch SE.
Apple is yet to discontinue the Series 3, so the company now sells three different smartwatches. You can technically pick up one of the older Apple Watch models too, although you’ll have to be content with a refurbished model. See our round-up of the best Apple Watch deals here.
Add in the fact that each model has two different sizes and there’s already an abundance of choice, even before you consider straps. The good news is that the Watch Series 4, 5, 6 and SE all offer 40mm and 44mm models, with only the Series 3 sticking with 38mm and 44mm.
That means most straps will work across multiple models. Just make sure you choose the right measurement.
With that in mind, here’s our selection of the best official and third-party options currently available for the Apple Watch.
Best Apple Watch straps 2021
Official Apple straps
Apple prides itself on offering a wide range of straps for the Apple Watch, with a plethora of straps, materials and colour options for every budget and look. These range from the £49/$49 sweatproof Sports band for those intense gym sessions to more premium options like the £99/US$99 Milanese loop band and £149/$149 Modern Buckle leather band.
There were plenty of new additions in 2020 to go along with the new Watch. ” Solo Loop” is a silicone rubber strap with no buckles or clasps, while on the braided versions silicone is interwoven with recycled yarn for a more rustic look. Also new, ” Sport Loop” is made from breathable nylon and has a dedicated hook-and-loop fastener.
All are available in a wide variety of colours, while the popular Sport Band and both Nike-branded straps have new colour options.
Check out the full range of options on the Apple website, with all straps available for 40mm and 44mm models.
If you’re really looking to drop the cash, you can also pick up a high-end link bracelet (£349/ US$349), although for that price you can buy the Watch 3 itself.
Nomad Modern Strap
Nomad makes a range of Apple Watch straps; we appreciate the contrast between its classic and modern designs.
The Horween (US$69.95/around £57) leather is supple and comfortable, and looks smart. We found the stitching slightly abrasive at first but it softened after a little wearing in. Nomad also now makes a slim version, made with the same Horween leather for the same price.
The strap is available in the Apple Watch Series 6/SE sizes of 40mm and 44mm, as well as the 38mm and 42mm sizes of older models.
Nomad Titanium Band
As well as producing a range of leather straps, Nomad now produces two titanium link bands (US$199.95/around £155) for the larger 42mm/44mm models of Apple Watch.
The Titanium strap is lightweight and smooth and makes the Apple Watch feel substantial – all without spending over £300/$300 to get the official link bracelets.
Available in Silver and Black to perfectly match the body of the Apple Watch, the strap looks and feels like something Apple manufactured itself. If you’re on the market for something that’ll get a second look, Nomad’s titanium band is the way to go.
While the stitched look of leather straps provide the classic look that many are after, the very nature of leather means it’s not the best material if you’re looking to exercise or take a dunk in the pool.
However, strap maker WsC has come up with a great workaround: a classic-looking strap dubbed the Nautilus, complete with metal buckle and white stitching, but made from diver-grade silicone.
The material is incredibly soft to the touch, making it comfortable to wear over long periods, yet it’s durable and easy to wipe down after a dunk or particularly sweaty run. If you want something a little fancier than Apple’s Sports Strap but don’t want to compromise on durability, the Nautilus is a good option.
Jord Apple Watch Band
Jord makes its own range of rather beautiful wooden watches, but if you’d prefer to stick with your Apple Watch you can plump for one of the company’s wooden straps instead. Jord straps are designed for all Watch sizes.
The wooden links are lightweight and comfortable, and available in a range of materials: ebony, zebrawood & sandalwood, walnut & olive, and koa. Our recommendation is the darker finishes (our favourite is the near-black ebony), which have a more luxurious appearance.
Note that, as with other link-and-clasp straps, you may have to add or remove links to make the strap fit your wrist; the Jord straps come with a set of tools to do this but we still found it fiddly and had to ask the company’s (extremely helpful) online assistants for tips.
Jord offers leather options too starting from £60, while wood options start at start at £70.
UAG Leather Watch Band
While UAG is the go-to place for bulky, durable cases for phones, tablets and other tech accessories, the company also produces a line of minimalist leather straps for the Apple Watch. The simply named “Leather Watch Band” is crafted from Italian leather that’s incredibly soft to the touch and flexible, providing a more comfortable experience than some of the cheaper bands on the market.
The Italian leather is complimented by black stainless steel buckles and a locking collar snap to avoid those annoying flappy strap-ends you get if the strap is a little long, and also helps avoid accidental unfastening of the strap when worn.
Available in both brown and black, the UAG Leather Watch Band is a comfortable, premium leather strap that’ll age and improve as it’s worn. It’s available for $59.95 (around £46), making it more expensive than other straps in our chart, but we think the Italian leather and locking collar snap make it worth the extra cash.
Southern Straps is a San Francisco-based company that hand-make a collection of straps exclusively for all sizes of the Apple Watch – and they’re pretty impressive.
Our favourite Southern Straps are made from leather (US$99.95/around £77.83). As well as being much cheaper than Apple’s official alternative, the company uses full-grain leather tanned in Italy, providing a soft-to-the-touch strap that can be worn all day with zero irritation on the wrist – something we can’t say for many other straps.
The leather straps are available in two colours – Black and Brown – with either gold, silver or black buckles, adding to the overall premium look and feel. The best part is that because it’s made from high-quality leather, it’ll continue to age and develop a unique pattern.
If leather isn’t your cup of tea, the company also produces a range of Nylon Apple Watch straps ($49.95/around £39) that look similar to the official Apple straps, but with high-grade heat-sealed and double woven nylon for improved durability over long periods. It’s also pretty cheap when compared to Apple’s official offerings, is available in 12 variations and is compatible across all Watch models.
Noreve Griffe 1
They’re not cheap at around £151/US$161, but these leather Apple Watch straps from the French company Noreve look lovely enough to justify the price tag. They are supplied, like Apple’s own straps, in two pieces, which fit easily to your watch and connect with a traditional silver-plated tongue buckle and two leather loops.
The Griffe 1 strap is available in 10 colours. We’ve tried the ‘Rouge troupelenc’, which seems to be red, and also like the look of the yellow and Mediterranean blue options.
Make sure you select the right size before adding to cart, as it’s available for all the sizes of the Apple Watch.
Casetify, which makes phone cases, also has a fabulous range of Watch straps for all models of the Apple Watch.
Its prices are reasonable too, starting at £40/US$52 for its Printed Saffiano Leather bands (faux leather, that is). We especially like the Gray Leopard style (pictured).
Casetify also has genuine leather (£79/US$100) and metal link (£70/US$95) options.
Wristouch produces a variety of straps with various designs, ranging from the understated to the loud. Most straps fit the 42mm size so should work with the Series 3 watches, so be sure to check the size compatibility before you add to cart!
The link bracelets are made from the same 316L stainless steel used in the Apple Watch, for a durable, great-looking bracelet but at a fraction of the cost.
The details of each bracelet are intricate and they feel like premium bands when worn. This is especially true of the stainless steel link bracelet, which costs £349/ $349 from Apple, but only £65/$99 from Wristouch.
Although the £29/$49 sports strap is made from rubber, its design allows it to complement the Apple Watch. The minimalist design is coupled with a subtle textural contrast that works really well, especially when most people are used to plain, simple Apple Sport Bands ( £49/US$49).
There are also mesh straps, which
start at £45/$69, and leather ones
Apple’s proprietary band-switching solution makes changing straps fairly simple, but it also means that standard watch bands can’t be used with the Apple Watch. That’s opened up a new market for Apple Watch strap adapters that allow you to fit any standard watch strap to your Apple Watch.
Bandmax offers a variety of different finishes for both the 38mm and 42mm models, available from £5.99 on Amazon UK (check you get the right size!).
Wearlizer offers silver, grey or Rose Gold adapters, from £5 on Amazon UK or $9.99 on Amazon US.
Despite not being straps, these adapters allow you to put any other watch strap on your Apple Watch – a handy solution!