Best Apple Watch Bands, According to the CNET Staff Who Wear Them

Having the ability to swap out bands on an Apple Watch is one of the most unique features of Apple’s signature smartwatch.Having that choice means that no matter what event you’re going to, or what activity you’re engaged in, you can wear your Apple Watch, with no need to buy a different timepiece. If you’re on the fence about buying an Apple Watch, maybe these flashy bands will help you take the leap.

CNET team members use plenty of different straps in their day-to-day lives, and of course, we all have our favorites. Some of us like things to be super simple, while others like a lot of variety and patterns. But all the bands on this list are excellent quality and suit our purposes well.

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I’ve tried out a lot of different Apple Watch straps, and I’ve always liked the look and feel of the Nike Sport Band. But this one beats even that. It has a slightly less sporty and more rugged look, and the materials feel premium and like they’re designed to hold up well. It comes in a few different color options, but I’ve yet to remove the Marine Blue one since I got it.

The clasp holds nice and secure, so I don’t really have to worry about my watch falling off. I’ve been using this band for a few months now and recommend the product to everyone. I’ve received more compliments about the band than I can remember. Nomad makes some really high-quality accessories for Apple gear, and this is no exception.

–Jared DiPane

Russell Holly/CNET

I’ve used just about every fitness watch strap made by Apple and third parties, but I always come back to the standard Apple Sport Band. It isn’t the most comfortable band I’ve ever worn, but it’s the easiest to clean by far, and the colors haven’t faded at all, despite my constant use in sunlight.

–Russell Holly

John Falcone/CNET

I’ll be honest: I picked this strap pretty much at random because I liked the weathered, faux leather earth-tone look in the photo — and the incredibly low price. But six months later, I’m really liking it. It’s comfy, and it’s held up nicely, despite a couple of unintended dunkings. What more could you want for such a low price?

–John P. Falcone

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

I need my Apple Watch band to be completely unfussy. I don’t want to fiddle with buckles — I just want to slip on my watch and go. This inexpensive band is perfect for just that. It’s a single strip of elastic without any sliders or anything else to adjust. It’s soft and stretchy enough to hold the watch firmly against my wrist so that the heart rate monitor sensors work correctly, without being too tight.

I can vouch only for the styles where the design is woven into the band (not the solid color or printed options). I first bought the Neon Orange color, and that’s the one I still use today. I bought a second band, the solid Wine color option, and it’s stiff and scratchy by comparison.

–Sarah Mitroff


When I’m not using the above-mentioned Nomad Sport Band, my other go-to Apple Watch strap is the Spigen Rugged Armor. The style is totally different, but as someone who’s into G-Shock watches, I absolutely love the way this one looks and feels. Instead of sliding the band in on each side, you snap your Apple Watch into this, and it provides protection for the sides of the watch as well.

It comes in a few different colors, and I think right now I own them all. It doesn’t make the buttons any harder to press either, which is a huge advantage. If you’re someone who’s rough on your Apple Watch, this is a great option to consider.

–Jared DiPane

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