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Apple Watches are some of the best wearables currently available, but their bands leave a little something to be desired, meaning that some of the best Apple Watch bands out there are being made by 3rd party manufacturers. If your band is starting to show wear, has outright broken, or if you're just looking to customize your watch with a little more individual flair, a new band might be just what the doctor ordered. 3rd party options may look even more attractive after you've taken a glance at the Apple store and discovered just how expensive first-party replacements can be.
What makes a great watch band? First, it needs to be comfortable, as you'll likely be wearing it for hours at a stretch. You also want something that looks great and fits with the watch's aesthetic, without being too loud or overwhelming that sleek Apple design. And you want a durable band that will stand up to regular use, as there's a good chance subpar durability is how you landed here in the first place.
Affordable rubber sport band
Wide range of color options
Great budget alternative to official Apple Sport Band
Rubber band sometimes causes sweat underneath when working out
Priced at less than ten dollars, this third-party Apple Watch band fits the Series 1-5 and is quite the bargain. It is made with high-quality silicone and fastened with hypoallergenic stainless steel pins, lending itself to a clean and secure fit.
The material is also highly durable, resistant to sweat — though it does tend to get your wrist sweaty underneath when working out — and water. It's also impervious to chafing. The iGK Sport Band offers ten stylish colors and comes in four different sizes: Small/Medium and Medium/Large wristbands for both the 38/40mm and 42/44mm Apple Watches. For active users, the iGK is practically weightless, making it the perfect accessory for your busy life.
Soft, easy to wear nylon band
Available in three sizes to fit all wrists
Wide range of colors to choose from
Takes a few wears to break in
Available in both 38mm and 42mm sizes, the Carterjett Nylon Apple Watch band is a serviceable alternative to Apple's own nylon band offerings and costs far less. With a bevy of colors and styles to choose from, the Carterjett sports a soft-touch leather-inspired feel and is both waterproof and breathable. Compatible with all three generations of the Apple Watch, Carjett's band is tool-less and screw-less, requiring no additional hardware to adjust its stainless steel buckles.
The Carterjett's premium design makes it feel right at home, whether you're involved in outdoor activities or going out for a night on the town. Colors include traditional black and brown, camouflage, and blue and tan, to name a few.
Sturdy, lightweight rubber
Made for durability
Available in a range of sizes and colors
Tire tread design might be too rugged for some
Rubber might not be the go-to Apple Watch third-party replacement band for many, but for outdoorsy types, the Carterjett Apple Watch tire tread rubber band is a must-own. Available in eight different colors and in both 38mm and 42mm sizes, these lightweight bands feel tough enough to endure nearly any type of activity.
Carterjett highlights that the tire tread rubber band is also waterproof and hypoallergenic to prevent reported issues that have plagued competitive models. A classic buckle and multiple holes allow you to customize the fit of the band to based on the size of your wrist while its silicone construction makes it feel both flexible and high-quality.
Stylish, lightweight, and comfortable
Smooth and durable
The Nike Sport Band is one of the best choices for sports or outdoor activities, assuming your budget permits. Although it’s a more expensive option, Nike’s band is soft, durable, and smooth, yet can withstand whatever you throw at it.
Made from fluoroelastomer, a synthetic rubber, this band feels great on the skin and is perforated to enhance breathability and let water and sweat bleed through. It comes in Small/Medium and Medium/Large sizes and is available for all Apple Watch models. Gym-goers and athletes should at least consider the comfortable and lightweight Nike Sport Band.
Elegant and stylish leather band wraps twice around your wrist
Affordable, offered in several colors and sizes
Leather tends to darken over time
The V-Moro Crazy horse leather watch band wraps around the wrist twice to replicate the Hermes-style bands. Made out of fine grain leather with a multitude of colors available and 38mm and 42mm sizes, the inclusion of a finished metal clasp adds to the character of the watch.
Featuring a lifetime warranty and dedicated customer support, the full-grain cow leather is likely to last for years. The watch adapters feel both tight and secure when attached to the Apple Watch hardware. While V-Moro encourages users to avoid water to assist with the longevity of the leather, the band quickly dries and returns to its previous sharp looks.
Resistant to water and sweat
Expandable, customizable length
Third-party stainless-steel Apple Watch bands are readily available, so standing out is a tall order. Fortunately, the Twist-O-Flex by Speidel combines fashionable style and mainstream appeal with a wallet-friendly price tag. Available in black, silver, and brushed colors, as well as 38mm and 42mm sizes, the Speidel is resistant to water and sweat.
The band's overall flexibility plays to its strength by stretching up to a range of five inches, allowing users to easily take the Speidel off and put it back on again. The design offers two layers of steel pieces, providing extra support and making the Speidel durable and long-lasting.
Unique design, made from stainless-steel and black sandalwood
Available in several eye-catching styles
Not designed for frequent use in water
An Apple Watch band made out of wood might raise plenty of eyebrows, but the LDFAS natural wood band makes an excellent first impression. The combination of a natural black sandalwood and stainless-steel metal band is an eye-catching arrangement boosted by an equally eye-catching price tag.
The butterfly folding clasp keeps the watch firmly in place on your wrist and prevents loosening during everyday wear. As with most wooden products, the LDFAS band isn't waterproof, so active individuals might consider a silicone-based band more practical for sports.
Beyond activities, the natural sandalwood becomes more attractive over time as wear and tear bring out rich color tones. Installation guidelines are included right in the box, as is the necessary hardware to remove individual links.
For an awesome, super affordable, hypoallergenic Apple watch band with sleek, understated style, the iGK Sport Band is absolutely amazing. If a rugged leather look is more your aesthetic, however, consider the Mkeke leather band, which is one of the coolest-looking bands available.
While we haven't tested Apple watch bands yet, when we do, our expert reviewers and testers will evaluate them on style, comfort, fit, and durability. First, we swap in the band for the existing Apple watch strap, making sure it's compatible. Then we take a look at the material of the band, judging how attractive it is, if it can blend into professional environments and the gym, and how resistant it is to sweat. Finally, we examine the price and compare it to similar bands in the same range to make our final judgement. All of the Apple watch bands we test are purchased by Lifewire; none are provided by the manufacturer.
David Beren is a tech journalist with more than ten years of experience covering the industry. He even founded his own tech site, and has also worked as a social media and content marketing manager for major consumer brands.
Material - You can buy Apple Watch bands in pretty much any material that regular watch bands come in. The question is, how will you be using the watch? If you’re big on the outdoors, a material that isn’t delicate and is easy to clean, such as nylon, might be a good fit. If you’ll mainly be wearing the watch in and out of meetings, stainless steel is a great choice.
Price - Even though these are third-party Apple Watch bands, they can be pricey. It’s worth taking budget into account, especially because one of the benefits of an Apple Watch is the ability to switch out bands based on the occasion. It might be worth going for a lower-priced band and being able to buy two, rather than one fancier band.
Style - Regular watches are often fashion statements, and your Apple Watch can be, too. From wood-grain options to more classic styles, there are plenty of Apple Watch bands that are just as fashionable as they are functional.