The Apple Watch is the ultimate smart watch on the market—the foremost fitness tracker, calorie counter, email checker, phone answerer, and web surfer, all from the comfort of your wrist.
But though the watch itself is cutting-edge and ultra-high-tech, let’s be honest, the stock band is just…well, not.
When I choose a watch band, I want it to be an enhancement, an addition to style, functionality, versatility, and durability.
Right out of the box, I’ve found the base Apple Watch band looks a bit on the plain, simple, even boring side. So I set out to find the band that would suit me best.
When hunting for great bands, I wanted options: tough bands for sport and active use, maybe even tactical applications; stylish and eye-catching bands I could pair with a formal outfit or wear on a date night with my wife; and, of course, bands that paired with the modern look of the Apple Watch.
My research has led me to put together a list of the top Apple Watch bands for guys who want to step things up.
The bands below range from rugged to athletic to a more classic style, with everything in between. Browse the list to find the band that will suit you and your Apple Watch to perfection.
Tough enough for sports use but wonderfully comfortable in everyday life, this watch band delivers quality, reliability, and durability that will outlast your Apple Watch itself.
This Rugged Band by Nomad is reminiscent of those tough, ultra-sporty watch bands that made the Casio G-Shock such a best-seller back in the day (and the watch I was insanely proud to show off to my classmates). So when I spotted it, I knew I had to test it out.
I was not disappointed. The band is rugged, thick enough that it will feel sturdy, and built from a durable FKM fluoroelastomer rubber that is soft on my skin but still able to withstand years of daily hardcore use.
The ribbed design maintains durability while also allowing for excellent breathability so my wrist stays cool even when running in the heat.
It’s also fully waterproof and sports-friendly, featuring injection-molded stainless steel hardware that keeps it securely clasped around my wrist through literally any activity. I’ve taken it paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, camping, and fishing, and it’s still going strong.
I’m a huge fan of Bellroy’s quality leather goods, so of course their Apple Watch band was one of the first I had to test. And, no surprise, it’s ended up on this list of the top options for you.
The band is made using premium eco-tanned leather that is capable of withstanding years of use (though not prolonged exposure to water!). I’ve used it for 2+ years and discovered that it’s grown more beautiful and unique as it has developed a patina over time.
The polymer underside keeps it flexible and offers more durability, even preventing the build-up of sweat so I can wear it all summer long without overheating. Best of all, it’s backed by a 3-year warranty that proves just how much Bellroy believes in the quality of their products.
If you’re the kind of guy who prefers the sleek, shiny metallic look for your watch bands, this Nomad Titanium Band is a premium choice. It’s made using metal-link bracelets forged from Grade 2 Titanium finished with an advanced Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating that ensures it is the most durable metal band around, resistant to scratches, water damage, corrosion, rust, and wear.
The band even comes with its own tool that lets you adjust the length to fit your wrist just right. Everything about it screams refinement and elegance, making it the perfect business and formal accessory to your smartwatch.
When out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be glad you have this watch band. It goes the route of “perfect for any survival situation” by embracing the rough and rugged nature of the outdoors, utilizing an ultra-tough 550 nylon paracord that can be turned into a fishing line, snare line, tent line, even climbing rope. Or, in one instance, a tow line to hitch my kayak to a boat to tow back to the dock after a shoulder injury stopped me from being able to make my own way back.
The fit is fully adjustable and the paracord is surprisingly comfortable, designed to reduce chafing while on your wrist while still being durable enough to handle any emergency/survival situation.
What I really love, though, is the unique twisting-locking action of the pin lock. I’ve found that once it’s secured in place, I never have to worry about it falling off whether I’m chopping firewood, digging a pit, or running through an AirSoft combat zone.
I gave the amBand M1 Sport Series Rugged Case to a cop buddy of mine just over a year ago, and he hasn’t taken it off since. He loves how tough it looks, with the raised bezels, grit-blasted metal patch, and the gorgeous black stainless steel hardware.
The fact that it’s drop-proof, scratch-proof, and bump-proof just makes it all the more appealing to a guy like him who gets into tough situations on the regular.
The premium TPU case does a great job of shielding your watch from damage and keeping it securely in place on your wrist.
It’s a bit of a struggle to get the Apple Watch clicked into place, but once you do, it’s not going anywhere, no matter what you throw at it. Best of all, the big buttons make it easy to operate it even when wearing gloves, and the case doesn’t interfere with wireless charging at all.
This Harber London watch band steers in the direction of classy and stylish rather than tough-as-nails.
Don’t get me wrong: the full grain cowhide leather is more than sturdy enough to last you a long time—I’ve worn it for nearly three years and have yet to see any signs of damage or wear. However, the band is designed to be a sleek, simple addition to your outfit, with just a hint of that hand-made elegance that proves how carefully it was built (by expert Spanish leather craftsmen). It’s my go-to when dressing up for a night out on the town with my wife or when adhering to a business casual style at an office.
The custom-made stainless steel buckles add not only durability, but also a hint of contrast to the leather so the watch “pops” anytime I pair it with a business or formal outfit.
Keep it simple and sleek with this Native Union watch band. Designed for versatility and durability both, this band is made from a water-resistant silicone that can handle the rigors of kayaking, sailing, swimming, boating, hiking, and climbing—and trust me, I’ve put it through the wringer with all these activities just to see how well it holds up.
The striped design is subtle but adds a touch of elegance that makes it perfect for wearing around the office or to any party, and the inner ridge details ensure your skin is able to breathe and cool/dry off in any environment.
I’ve worn it around town, out camping, hiking, and on holiday abroad, and it’s never chafed or rubbed my skin, no matter what intense activity I’ve gotten up to.
For truly active men, this UAG watch band will be your best friend—and the best protector against wear and tear. It’s built using an ultra-high-strength nylon weave that is specifically crafted to withstand the rigors of outdoor activity—climbing, hiking, spelunking, whitewater rafting, and so much more.
The addition of custom-designed stainless steel hardware maximizes durability, preventing the watch from breaking even under direct strain/tension. And thanks to the Velcro hook and loop closure, you’ve got total adjustability to fit it exactly to your wrist—whether directly on your skin, around a wrist brace, or even when wearing gloves.
For those (like me) who are prone to breaking their watches/watch bands, it’s time for a durability upgrade! This Pitaka watch band is made using super-strong fine-weave 1K carbon fiber, which gives it both a unique look and maximum resistance to damage, wear, scratches, sunlight, and impact.
The minimalist style complements your casual and business outfits, pairing beautifully with other carbon fiber accessories (like a phone or tablet case). Despite its durability, it’s incredibly lightweight and one of the most comfortable watch bands you’ll ever wear.
Athletes, sit up and take note: this is the Apple Watch band for you! It’s designed specifically for sports in mind, featuring a unique design that integrates “evaporative channels” into the underside so sweat can just roll off your skin and evaporate even while you’re running, jumping, and playing.
The silicone is tough and resistant to damage but still wonderfully soft on your skin, with a flexibility unparalleled by any other watch band on our list.
Best of all, it’s both very well priced (one of the most affordable options around) and backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee and reliable, attentive customer service.
For those who prefer the military-style watch band, you’ll love the Tefeca Fortitude series. They’re made using the type of premium nylon straps found on pretty much every military pack and MOLLE system, but feature the stylish addition of leather patches to add some class to the look.
The unibody metal adaptors are designed to be “unbreakable”, so your watch will be protected from impact and wear while you’ve got the band secured around your wrist.
Thanks to the Velcro hook-and-loop closure system, you can always tailor the fit to suit your specific wrist size just right. For the price, you won’t find many better options.
When I’m setting out for a long run, I’ll swap on this band because of how soft and comfortable it is on my wrist. The band has dense loops on the skin side that keeps it from rubbing and chafing even if I’m running a 10K (or longer) and sweating hard.
Thanks to its double-layer nylon weave, it’s tough enough to use on a triathlon when I need to get in and out of the water, and I can trust that it’ll dry off quickly and allow moisture to escape from beneath, too.
No nasty buildup of salt or grime, just efficient ventilation and breathability that makes for a big difference for athletic use.
The Alpine Loop Apple Watch band is built a bit tougher, intended to withstand harsh environments when mountain climbing, mountaineering, snowboarding, and skiing.
It’s made using two textile layers woven together to form a single, stitch-free material that can endure quite a lot of harsh mistreatment without breaking, tearing, or stretching.
I’m particularly fond of the G-hook attachment. Not only is it tough titanium that won’t easily break even in sub-zero temperatures, but it makes it wonderfully easy to adjust the watch even if I’m wearing gloves.
I’ve worn this bad boy through dozens of snowboarding trips, mountain climbs, and hardcore hikes, and it’s holding up wonderfully.
For protecting my cellphone, I love OtterBox’s durability, drop-resistance, and stylish good looks. So it made perfect sense to test out their Apple Watch bands, too—and I was not disappointed at all.
The All Day Band is soft to the touch, won’t rub or chafe my skin even if I’m sweating hard, and is both sweatproof and waterproof. It’s also nicely breathable so my wrist is ventilated and sweat doesn’t accumulate if I’m running or cycling hard.
The antimicrobial protection keeps it from getting stinky (a common problem for heavy sweaters like me) and even reduces the build-up of bacteria.
And, of course, you’ve gotta love that OtterBox limited lifetime warranty that ensures the band lasts for years of daily use.
There’s something wonderfully handsome about Blackthorn Leather’s Apple Watch strap. It’s made using Wickett & Craig English Bridle leather, sourced from one of the finest leathermakers in the UK, but it’s hand-stitched with waxed thread and finished with a “distressed” look that makes it appear almost like an antique right out of the box.
It does a great job of contrasting with the sleek, tech-forward design of the Apple Watch itself, bringing a touch of historical elegance to your modern device.
Get our newsletter
Keep up on the latest gear and deals.