When Apple released the original Apple Watch in 2015, it knew that it was as much an activity tracker and productivity tool as a fashion piece. While the Apple Watch’s design and operating system have evolved over the last seven years — the watch’s band clasping mechanism has stayed the same.
If you’re like me, you’ve likely amassed quite the collection of watch bands since the very first Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch has always come in two different sizes a ‘small’ and ‘large’ face. The smaller watch face came in 38mm, 40mm, and 41mm, depending on the series of your Apple Watch. The larger watch face came in 42mm, 44mm, and 45mm. These details are essential because your Apple Watch band will fit regardless of the watch’s face size as long as the band is for the ‘smaller’ or ‘larger’ Apple Watch.
You can find Apple Watch bands everywhere. Amazon, Best Buy, Nomad, and many different online retailers. Personally, I’ve found my experience with third-party Apple Watch bands disappointing. You may buy a $12 watch band off Amazon, but the band material is thin, the band doesn’t feel as nice, and the colour may fade.
However, Apple makes quite the assortment of high-quality first-party Apple Watch bands in varying styles and colours. Currently, Apple sells ten different styles of Apple Watch bands, plus their Hèrmes collection. In addition, Apple is known for rotating colours every season, so if you come across a colour you like, jump on it while they have it in stock.
This article is meant to help break down the difference between every Apple Watch band Apple sells to help you pick which bands are best for you!
Here’s your guide to every Apple Watch band style Apple sells:
Apple’s Solo Loop launched in September 2020 along with the Apple Watch Series 6. The Solo Loop comes in twelve sizes to accommodate different wrist sizes. Each band is made of one continuous piece of liquid silicone rubber.
Initially, the Solo Loop received critical reviews due to poor sizing assistance. However, Apple has since released a printable paper sizing tool, offered all sizes for try-on at local Apple Stores, and made the exchange process much easier. The Solo Loop is sweat and waterproof.
It’s ideal for someone who doesn’t like buckles or clasps. The band is worth checking out if you’re looking for a band to wear casually, while working out, or while swimming. The Solo Loop is designed to stretch to slide on and off your wrist. The Solo Loop retails for $59 on Apple’s website.
Braided Solo Loop
The Braided Solo Loop was released alongside the Solo Loop. The Braided Solo Loop is made up of 16,000 recycled polyester yarn filaments. Apple says that the polyester filaments are wrapped around ultra-thin silicone threads, made using precision-braiding, and are laser cut to the exact length. There are no clasps or buckles, just like the Solo Loop bands.
From personal experience, I can say the Braided Solo Loop is incredibly stretchy, well made, and comfortable to wear. This strap comes in twelve different sizes and ten colours plus a limited edition Black Unity and Pride band.
The Braided Solo Loop is best for someone who wants a casual yet comfortable band. The band is water and sweat-resistant. However, it’s not as easy to clean as a silicon band because the band is fabric. The Braided Solo Loop is the more premium option retailing for $119 on Apple’s website.
The Sport Band is one of the Apple Watch’s original bands being released all the way back in 2015. The Sport Band is made out of a rubber material called fluoroelastomer, making it sweat and waterproof. In addition, Sport Bands’ feature a unique tucking design that hides the band’s tail. This creates a clean, modern look.
The Sport Band is my top recommendation for a person who wants a flexible strap for all situations. It’s great for working out, playing sports, and casual occasions. Every Sport Band comes with two “tails” that vary in length to account for different wrist sizes. The Sport Band currently comes in eight colours and retails for $59 on Apple’s website.
Nike Sport Band
The Nike Sport Band is a spin-off of Apple’s Sport Band. The Nike Sport Band is made in partnership between Apple and the sports apparel brand, Nike. The band is made of fluoroelastomer materials like Apple’s Sport Band. Still, it has holes throughout its design to provide your wrist with more breathability.
The Nike Sport Band currently only comes in five two-tone colour options. This band also features the tail tucking style and two “tail” sizes as Apple’s Sport Band. So if you’re looking for a unique styled strap or are very physically active — this is an excellent band for you. The Nike Sport Band retails for $59 on Apple’s website.
The Sport Loop was introduced in 2019 and replaced Apple’s now discontinued Woven Nylon Bands. The Sport Loop features a hook-and-loop fastener (aka velcro) design that allows you to tighten the strap to your desired fit. The Sport Loop has been affectionate called the “sweatpants” of Apple Watch bands because of its soft fabric material.
The band is sweat and waterproof. However, similar to the Braided Solo Loops, the fabric is more challenging to clean than the silicone material bands. Each strap has two tones of colour. A lighter shade runs down the band’s left side, and a darker shade runs down the right.
Apple’s Sport Loop is an excellent option for a person looking for a soft, casual strap. I use a Sport Loop when I’m sleep tracking. Currently, there are five different two-tone colour combinations you can purchase. These bands retail for $59 on Apple’s website.
Nike Sport Loop
The Nike Sport Loops is another Nike-Apple partnership band. The band is made of the same materials as Apple’s Sport Loops with one additional benefit. The Nike Sport Loops feature a nylon weave with reflective thread. This means that a shimmer of light will reflect back at the source whenever light strikes the band.
Design-wise, the Nike Sport Loop comes in three different colours plus a Pride edition. The three coloured variants have the word ‘Nike’ and the Nike checkmark. Meanwhile, the Pride Edition band is white with five strips of colour running down it.
The reflective material makes this an excellent strap for outdoor runners. If you’re a huge Nike fan, the Nike logo on the band makes this a steller strap for you too. The Nike Sport Loop retails for $59 on Apple’s website.
The Leather Link is made of handcrafted French Granada leather and features a unique magnetic clasping design. The two band tails magnetically attach to each other, allowing you to adjust your fit. I really enjoy the Leather Link, personally owning both a black and brown one.
The Leather Link replaces Apple’s Leather Loop that was exclusive to larger-faced Apple Watches. When purchasing the Leather Link, you need to pick between an S/M (130-160mm wrist size) or M/L (140-180mm wrist size) to ensure you get the best fit.
The Leather Link is a fantastic formal and business casual option. The band comes in eight colours and retails for $119 on Apple’s website.
Apple’s Modern Buckle is another Apple Watch band that shipped with the original Apple Watch back in 2015. The Modern Buckle is made of Granada leather sourced from a French tannery established in 1803. To give the band strength and stretch, the underside of the band features Vectran weave—a material used by NASA to create airbags for the Mars rover spacecraft.
The Modern Buckle is only compatible with smaller-faced Apple Watches (38mm, 40mm, and 41mm). Therefore, before buying this band, you’ll need to measure your wrist to ensure you purchase the correct size. There are three sizes; small (135-150mm sized wrists), medium (145-165mm sized wrists), and large (160-180mm sized wrists).
The Modern Buckle is an excellent choice for a more formal Apple Watch band. The leather comes together using a unique magnetic buckle. This magnetic buckle makes the band easy to take on and off and very secure on the wrist. Currently, there are six colour options for the Modern Buckle. The band retails for $189 on Apple’s website.
The Milanese Loop is made of a woven stainless steel mesh material. Specialized Italian machines make the Milanese Loop. The Milanese Loop features a beautiful design that wraps through one of the Apple Watch’s band clasps and magnetically attaches, giving the perfect fit to every wearer.
This band makes for another tremendous formal or business casual option. In addition, the initial Milanese Loop design got refreshed to allow the band’s magnetic to slip out and the band to lay flat. This is a significant design change by Apple to support flat Apple Watch charging stands.
The Milanese Loop comes in three different colours to match each of the stainless steel Apple Watches. This band fits wrists between 130-180mm and currently retails for $119 on Apple’s website.
The Link Bracelet is Apple’s most expensive band, not counting the Hermes collection. Given that Apple’s website and packaging at the Apple Store still show 38mm and 42mm sizes, it seems that these bands may be from the original Apple Watch days. Given their pricing, it’s not surprising that Apple didn’t sell many of them.
With that said, I did buy one several years ago, and it’s one of my favourite bands. The Link Bracelet is made of 316L stainless steel alloy and features more than 100 components. It takes nearly nine hours for this band to be precision cut. Apple also designed a custom butterfly locking mechanism for each of the band’s links. This allows for easy and quick length adjustments by adding or removing links without a specialty tool.
The Space Black Link Bracelet goes through an additional process to get a diamond-like carbon coating to obtain its unique space black finish. The Link Bracelet is ideal for someone who wants an expensive watch on their wrist. You can purchase the Link Bracelet in Silver for $449 or in Space Black for $579.
Apple partnered with the French leather goods brand Hermès to create a unique premium collection of Apple Watches and bands. The Hermès Leather bands are handmade by French artisans with supple Swift leather.
The Hermès Leather bands come in a Single Tour and Double Tour style in various colours, buckles, and designs. Hermès Leather bands are best for someone who appreciates designer brands and wants a stylish, formal Apple Watch band. Prices range from $429 to $679 from Apple.
Hermès Jumping Single Tour
Hermès Jumping Single Tour bands are made of a woven textile by Hermès French designers. This newer addition to the Hermès family is meant to bring a little athleticism to their collection. These bands are sweat and waterproof, and are best for someone who appreciates a premium designer brand but wants something more casual or athletic. The Hermès Jumping Single Tour is currently available in seven colourful styles and retails for $399 at Apple.
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