It seems like a small thing, but swapping out the strap on your Apple Watch can set (or reset) the mood for a whole outfit or event. There's no question about it: An Apple Watch band makes a statement.
No matter which Apple Watch you have or want to buy, a voluminous assortment of watchband choices awaits you. The new Apple Watch 4, despite some changes in face dimensions, is still compatible with the bands you may already have with previous editions of the watch.
When purchasing an Apple Watch from the Apple Store or website, you instantly get a choice of several bands and finishes, including the popular Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Sport Loop or Nike-branded Sport Band, all of which can also be purchased separately for $49. High-end leather watchbands from Hermes ($489), Apple's leather Modern Buckle Band and the Milanese Loop ($149) are also available separately from Apple.
Apple tends to vary its watch packaging with new releases, but the Apple Watch Series 4 is the first to ship in two boxes. That's because Series 4 ships without the band attached. The main box contains only the watch and charging accessories. While there's still no way to order a watch without a band, separating the band package from the watch package may subtly encourage customers to be more adventurous in their strap choices.
Alongside Apple, many third-party vendors periodically release a fresh crop of watchbands. Why go with a third-party watchband? For one thing, there's a tremendous number of them in every style, color and price. Whether you prefer bands, loops, classic buckles, linked bracelets, nylon, leather, earth tones, metal or whatever your imagination can conjure, you will find an Apple Watch band for every professional environment, lifestyle, occupation and fancy. Here are some of our favorites.
Best boho band
Nyloon Bellamy Apple Watch Nylon BandCredit: Nyloon.net
A beautiful nylon watchband with vibrant colors, the Nyloon Bellamy has a comfy fabric feel against your wrist. At $39.95, it fits most wrists in either the large or small watch sizes. Eight holes provide sizing flexibility, with many colors and varieties to choose from. While the band can start off a little stiff, it softens up considerably after you wear it a few times.
Best Apple Sport Band look-alike
Epic Classic Silicone Apple Watch BandCredit: EpicWatchBands.com
Epic's Classic Silicone Apple Watch Bands are nearly dead ringers for the Apple Sport Band, but they are much less pricey at $14.99. With 25 vibrant colors to choose from, the 42mm band works with the 44mm Series 4 wristband case, and the 38mm band works with the 40mm Series 4 case. Soft and comfortable, the band is sold with three parts, with both the small/medium and medium/large bands for a proper fit.
Best retro band
Speidel Twist-O-FlexCredit: Amazon.com
Are you a Twist-O-Flex fan? If yes, get ready to enjoy your favorite band on the Apple Watch. While always popular as a style, the Twist-O-Flex metal watch bracelet, reminiscent of the 1960s, has proven a great fit for Apple's timepiece. As an added attraction, it can also twist itself into a pretzel. The Apple Watch Twist-O-Flex has that familiar design, made with brushed stainless steel and a black and silver aluminum expansion band. It is strong, resists sweat and expands 5 inches from its original size. It comes in small, medium and large in black, silver and brushed. As always, it's super easy to slide on or off.
Best artistic watchband
Casetify Floral CollectionCredit: Casetify.com
Sure, you want an Apple Watch, but some people may wish to express their artistic side, especially if you're in any sort of creative profession. Casetify gets the picture. With its floral and striped collections, made from crosshatch Saffiano vegetable-tanned leather, floral Apple Watch bands are gorgeous, soft and scratch-resistant. The collection, which costs $45 each, features a wide selection of designs, including roses, daisies, peonies and even cactus. All florals and stripes fit both size watches.
Best for treacherous trips
Survival Straps Paracord Apple Watch StrapCredit: SurvivalStraps.com
You're not fooling around, and neither is your Apple Watch band. Survival Straps makes an ultra-strong, waterproof strap that will see you through the roughest terrain, from the city subway to Half Dome, for $49.99. These straps, which have three size adjustments, are built with military-grade 550 paracord and high-quality stainless steel adapters. The closure is a marine-grade 316 stainless steel shackle that the company promises will never break or rust. It's available in over 40 colors, including two-tone, for both men and women.
Best dressy/rugged mix
Pad & Quill Field Strap for Apple WatchCredit: Pad & Quill
If only the best will do – and the extra cost won't set you back too much – consider Pad & Quill's Field Strap for Apple Watch. For $99.95, you can wear this band anywhere, from the office to a pickup basketball game. The Field Strap combines a refined look with rugged, water-resistant Cordura fabric and stitching from UV-resistant accent thread. Full-grain leather accents and a soft interior complete the look. You can get this elegant piece in a nickel or matte black finish. Made for the 44mm Apple Watch 4 and all previous-generation 42mm watches, each watch is signed by its artisan.
Best strappy watchband
Arrow & Board Triple Tour Apple Watch BandCredit: Arrow & Board
By now, everyone is familiar with the Hermes Double Tour Strap, made for a bit of fancy wrist-wrapping for an equally fancy price of $489. Arrow & Board takes that line of thinking in a slightly different direction with the much less expensive Triple Tour, a band that is literally split down the middle to offer you a third wearing option for $99. The Triple Tour watchband can be worn with both straps surrounding the watch face or on the left or right side, and it is made to order. It's available for all Apple Watch sizes in tan, black and medium brown.
Best budget leather band
Mkeke Genuine Leather iWatch BandCredit: Amazon.com
It may be inexpensive at just $10.99, but you can't go wrong with this Mkeke vintage leather watch strap that exudes old-time charm for wrist circumferences of 6.7 to 8.3 inches. It features high-quality leather craftsmanship and, while designed to be comfortable, looks dressy and elegant for the office or business meetings. The stainless steel buckle lets you easily strap on or remove the watch, while the band is easily adjustable to fit your wrist. The Mkeke comes in classic black and saddle brown.
Best budget Milanese Loop
Orobay Apple Watch BandCredit: Amazon.com
Apple's drop-dead-gorgeous Milanese Loop is a bit pricey for some buyers at $149, especially if you only want to wear this style for more formal occasions or important meetings. But you can get away with a fashionable premium stainless steel variation in silver or black for men or women for $9.99. Other colors, like rose gold or space gray, are $10.99. The Orobay has a magnetic non-buckle closure, for a strong yet elegant clasp that keeps the watch secured to your wrist. The band is easy to adjust and gives your workday watch a cool mesh design that stays light on your arm.
Best NATO band
Southern Straps NATO StrapCredit: SouthernStraps.com
The Southern Straps band is tough but handsome, with stitching running down each section, giving your wrist an original flair. At $39, it proudly completes your outfit for the office or any outside event. Southern Straps are all individually made, for both leather and nylon bands. The nylon's sturdy look derives from a single piece of nylon that doubles over, sealed and stitched. With 84 different Apple Watch band combinations to choose from, the NATO band fits all sizes of available Apple watches.
Best strong sports band
Juuk ViteroCredit: Amazon.com
If you like giving your wrist a bit of flash, have a look at the Juuk Vitero for $159.99. This hard-anodized aluminum band sports racing stripes and sports car tire tread patterns for a dynamic, colorful accessory suited for all occasions. It features a Y-tapered link design with contrasting colors, specifically engineered for wrist comfort. A double-push butterfly button buckle opens and closes the band with a reassuring click. It comes in an assortment of color combinations, including an Iron Man color palette.
If the new Apple Watch 4 – sporting a bigger, brighter face and compelling new health features – is inspiring you to switch watches, or buy a new one for the first time, you don't have to rely on Apple's default band choices (lovely as they are). There are plenty of reasonably priced, high-end variations that will be right for you, in the office and beyond.