Before the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015, smartwatches had plenty of brains, but the beauty and design of the devices were seriously lacking. Naturally, Apple, a company known for its design prowess, took a concept many companies had struggled with — smart wearables — and made it a best seller. With sleek curved corners, a digital crown reminiscent of standard watch dials, and casings in multiple aluminum or stainless finishes — including rose gold, gold, silver, and space gray — the design of the Apple Watch finally has people excited to wear a computer on their wrists.
The stock wristbands that come with the watch? Not so much. Until now, that is.
The bands holding the actual square watch can be as unique as the wrists wearing them. This is where personality, style, and of course, practicality play a part. As such, Apple, its partners, and third-party companies have gotten creative with crafting Apple Watch accessories that fit every type of user’s need. From athletic to luxury to even Victorian-inspired, these 10 Apple Watch bands can’t be missed.
Photo courtesy: Casetify
Wear your whimsy on your wrist with an Apple Watch strap from the brand that has mastered all things fanciful and feminine: Kate Spade. The scallop design of this watch strap is goes-with-anything chic, while the silicone material lets you live every part of your life — from working out to cooking, to commuting, to anything you do that might see some spills and bumps — without needing to be too precious about the strap on your wrist. Available in black, navy, white, lavender, or pink (see, it goes with anything!), the Scallop Strap fits both 38mm and 40mm Apple Watch styles, along with all models from Series 1 through Series 4.
Shop: Kate Spade Scallop Silicone Apple Watch Strap, $68, available at Kate Spade
So, you’re an active person. Like, really active. When you’re not doing Tough Mudders, you’re scaling El Capitan in Yosemite. A low-key weekend is kitesurfing or fixing your two-story home’s leaky roof. With all that action, you’re going to need an Apple Watch band that keeps up with your lifestyle. Named after a military bus, consider the Runner by Rhino Band a modern-day suit of armor for your Apple Watch. Currently available in five colors for Series 1, 2, and 3, the Runner is made of a polyurethane blend for shock protection against every bump, drop, and scrape you may send its way.
Shop: Rhino Band Runner, $39.99, available at Rhino Band
If an Hermès Birkin bag has always been on your wish list, but that pesky five-figure price tag has kept it out of your budget, the line of Hermès Apple Watch bands is a, ahem, relatively affordable chance to get your hands on French luxury. Made of Barenia leather — a smooth calfskin that the design house originally used in its equestrian line — the band’s double-strap design and buckle are reminiscent of the same straps used on a horse’s girth to secure a saddle in place. Sized for a 38mm Apple Watch, this cuff is an attention grabber.
Shop: Hermès Apple Watch Strap Double Buckle Cuff, $690, available at Hermès
Whether it’s a quick mile around the neighborhood or an 8-miler for your marathon training, breathability is key when selecting an Apple Watch band. That’s why the woven nylon of the Nike Sport Loop has quickly become a classic for athletes. The nylon wicks sweat away, a major plus over silicone sports bands, and is woven with reflective thread, catching the light of approaching cars and street lamps when running at night. The velcro (or “hook-and-loop” fastener in Apple-Nike design speak) lets you adjust the band’s fitting fast, so you won’t need to worry about ruining your PR to stop and fumble with your watch.
Shop: Nike Sport Loop, $49, available at Nike
You want to track all the gains you’re making at your gym or crossfit class, but keeping your Apple Watch on your wrist is getting treacherous, what with all the kettlebell swings and burpees. Place the Apple Watch body into the protective bumper of the Action Sleeve, strap the sleeve to your upper arm or bicep, and you’ll have all the fitness functionality of the Apple Watch easily accessible throughout your workout — and not in the way of heavy equipment. Twelve South, the company behind the Action Sleeve, even claims the snug upper arm fit helps the Apple Watch better track your heart rate. Added insights into those gym time gains? Win!
Shop: Twelve South Action Sleeve, $29.99, available at Twelve South
As a kid, upgrading from plastic watches to those with metal links held a certain gravitas. Old enough to be trusted with something a bit nicer and also old enough to appreciate the finer things in wrist wear. If silicone smartwatch bands have never been your thing, how about a polished stainless steel link bracelet? As with typical link watches, individual links can be removed from the band to fit perfectly on your wrist. Available in rose gold, gold, silver, and two-tone silver and gold, a link bracelet band shines with everyday elegance.
Shop: Casetify Link Bracelet Band, $95, available at Casetify
Your record player sits right next to your 4K TV. The living room is a hodgepodge of estate sale treasures and brand-new mall finds. For those who love the convenience of modern technology but have an affinity for the retro, there’s an Apple Watch band for you. More of an Apple Watch chain, actually. Compatible with Series 1-3 watches, the stainless steel Pinstripe Pocket Watch beautifully marries classic craftsmanship with tech practicalities. Slide the chain from your hip pocket, flip the watch cover up, and have instant access to your latest Apple Watch notifications. Sorry, a matching monocle, you’ll have to find on your own.
Shop: Bucardo Pinstripe Pocket Watch, $119.40, available at Bucardo
The jewelry and accessories that get worn daily on our bodies feel like a second skin. To go from a watch band you wore everyday for 10 years to a silicone Apple Watch band might feel simply unnatural. Don’t throw out those old, molded-to-your-wrist bands! Simply adapt them instead. Use an Apple Watch band adapter to swap in most 22 mm watch bands. Save your favorite lo-fi watch bands from the kitchen junk drawer.
Shop: Newon Stainless Steel Link Adapter for Apple Watch Band, $6.98, available on Amazon
Let’s face it: Technology trends change fast. Does anyone remember the colorful iPhone 5C? The Apple Watch series you have today will likely not be the Apple Watch series, with all its new bells and whistles, that you want tomorrow. A leather watch band, though, is one trend that will never go obsolete. Fine leather goods resting alongside a wrist-sized computer is the best of both worlds: understated luxury with flashy technology. Made of Horween leather, from one of America’s oldest tanneries, the Nomad leather strap is intended to patina with wear, for an Apple Watch that’s an extension of you.
Shop: Nomad Modern Leather Strap, $69.95, available on Nomad
Let’s have a reality check for a minute. There are a lot of options available when it comes to Apple Watch bands. We’ve covered just a fraction of them, but what about the bands that don’t stand out for low price or durability, but are just plain cool? A design that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t sacrifice quality production is the leather Casetify Neutral Abstract watch strap. Water resistant and crafted of crosshatched Saffiano leather, the multi-color print is perfect for when you just want something fun in your peripheral vision.
Shop: Casetify Neutral Abstract Apple Watch Strap, $52, available on Urban Outfitters