The 8 Best Apple Watch bands for working out
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If you wear your Apple Watch while working out, pairing it with a comfortable, secure band will allow you to exercise without worrying about chafing and skin irritation. Durable and easy to clean, the best Apple Watch bands for working out can be broken down into two main categories: those made from soft and breathable fabrics like nylon, and flexible, fast-drying materials such as silicone that can stand up to even the sweatiest of workouts. Let’s dive a little deeper into the options.
Erum Ilayas, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board-certified dermatologist who has practiced in the Philadelphia and Boston areas for 15 years, and is currently with the Schweiger Dermatology Group. She earned her medical degree from the MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, and served as Chief Resident of Dermatology at Cooper University Hospital.
What to consider when shopping for an Apple Watch band for working out
First, you’ll want to consider the material and feel of the band. Dermatologist Erum Ilyas says that textiles like woven nylon and polyester “wick moisture away from the skin,” which can help reduce irritation caused by friction. You can find watch bands made with tightly woven fabrics in basic designs, as well as braided versions and terry cloth cuffs, which are extra soft and will absorb sweat. Fabric bands should be hand-washed regularly to control bacterial growth and odors, but note that due to the fibrous nature, these straps will take a bit of time to dry.
Silicone is another skin-friendly material that’s easy to maintain and feels smooth to the touch. “Silicone is actually breathable and has the added benefit of softly gripping the skin to avoid movement of the band while sweating or active,” shares Dr. Ilyas. She also notes that quick-drying silicone is naturally waterproof and easy to wash by hand.
When possible, opt for a band with minimal hardware, as raised, bulky features can pose a snag risk on apparel and other gear. Bands fashioned from a single piece of material — without any buckles — are also less likely to catch on anything, and their low-profile design will stay out of your way. Apple makes several Loop (read: bracelet) bands in both fabric and silicone that stretch just wide enough to fit over the hand and wrist. These Apple brand watch bands will run you between $50 and $100, but if you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, you can find a number of highly rated aftermarket Apple Watch bands in similar styles that cost a lot less.
Taking proper measurements of your wrist is important, as the band should fit snugly to prevent shifting while you exercise. A good fit will also allow the sensor on the back of your Apple Watch to have consistent contact with skin to take accurate readings of your heart rate and other metrics.
The best Apple Watch bands for working out combine style, function, and durability to keep you comfortable while you sweat — check them out below.
Shop the best Apple Watch bands for working out
In a hurry? These are the best Apple Watch bands for working out
- A classic fabric band from Apple: The Apple Sport Loop
- A budget-friendly Sport Loop Alternative: Arae stretchy watch band
- A fan-favorite band from Apple: The Apple Sport Band
- A budget-friendly Sport Band alternative: Jieliele Solo loop strap
- A sweat-absorbing terry band: Twelve South ActionBand
- A rugged, shockproof band: OROBAY shockproof band
- A stretchy braided band: GBPOOT sports watch band
- A breathable silicone band: SVISVIPA sport band
1. A classic fabric band from Apple
- Pros: soft on skin, Apple brand
- Cons: dries more slowly than silicone, higher price point
The Apple Sport Loop band is woven from double-layer nylon and has two pieces that connect using a hook-and-loop fastener (similar to Velcro). The two pieces fasten together securely and adjust easily to help you find a comfortable fit. The Apple Loop band is breathable and soft, and it comes in several two-toned colorways in regular and extra-large sizes.
A reviewer wrote: “This Sports Loop is great for everyday use and exercising, it does not shift on me at all. If it gets wet, it dries super quick.”
Material: nylon | Available band sizes: 2 | Available colors: 12
2. A budget-friendly Sport Loop alternative
- Pros: soft on skin
- Cons: dries more slowly than silicone, limited sizing
This nylon Apple watch band from Arae has a low-profile elastic design that fits wrists up to 8.6 inches (note that the Apple Loop comes in two sizes, the larger of which can fit wrists up to 9.6 inches, which means this option is slightly more limited). Rather than two separate ends, the stretchy band has a loop design that slips over the wrist, and it features a slim metal buckle for tightening and loosening it.
The buckle’s placement on the outside of the band is less likely to be a pinching hazard, and it can be adjusted to fit a range of wrist sizes. The band is easy to wash by hand (washing machines should be avoided to maintain the elastic quality), and it comes in a variety of colors that fit all sizes of the Apple Watch.
A reviewer wrote: “This band is so light and breathable. It doesn’t move at all on my wrist making it ideal for workouts. If the band is dirty, I simply remove and wash with warm water and soap and let it dry. Good as new. Worth the money. I will be buying in other colors and for my boyfriend's Apple Watch as well!”
Material: nylon and elastic | Available band sizes: 1 | Available colors: 17
3. A fan-favorite band from Apple
- Pros: fast-drying, no-buckle design, Apple brand
- Cons: not as soft as fabric, higher price point
Boasting a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating, Apple’s Sport Band is made of fluoroelastomer, a silicone-like material that the company describes as smooth and flexible. The two-part strap has an adjustable pin-and-tuck design that prevents pinching and keeps the end tab of the strap hidden. Other than the end tabs and strap pin, the Sport Band has no metal hardware, making it a good option for sensitive skin and anyone searching for a low-profile band for their Apple Watch.
A reviewer wrote: “Fits well and I love the color. These silicone bands are durable and easy to clean. Stays secure during workouts.”
Material: fluoroelastomer (similar to silicone) | Available band sizes: 2 | Available colors: 10
4. A budget-friendly Sport Band alternative
- Material: silicone
- Pros: fast-drying, no-buckle design, budget-friendly
- Cons: not as soft as fabric options
This sports watch band is made from a single piece of stretchable silicone that slips over the wrist for a comfortable, pinch-free fit. The band is breathable and waterproof, making it suitable for water sports and sweaty workouts. It is also dirt-resistant and can be easily hand washed and dried between workouts. It comes in a variety of colors and three sizes to fit a range of wrists.
A reviewer wrote: “Very comfortable. I swim laps for exercise and like a band that is waterproof. I will be buying additional colors.”
Material: silicone | Available band sizes: 3 | Available colors: 16
5. A sweat-absorbing terry band
- Pros: absorbent, soft, won’t dig into skin, no-buckle design
- Cons: may be loose on smaller wrists
If you perspire heavily while you exercise, this set of two absorbent ActionBand wristbands from Twelve South are the next best thing to carrying a towel with you. Arguably the most comfortable Apple watch band on the list (or at least the softest), the machine-washable blend of cotton and Lycra is soft, stretchy, and highly absorbent.
One band has a traditional sweatband design, while the other features an opening for the Apple Watch to nest securely, and it features a bumper to protect the watch screen while keeping it in place. While this Apple Watch cuff has a one-size-fits-most design, some reviewers noted it is a little loose on smaller wrists.
A reviewer wrote: “I needed a comfortable workout band, also need to check my heart rate while working out. This works perfectly.”
Material: cotton and Lycra | Available band sizes: 1 | Available colors: 1
6. A rugged, shockproof band
- Pros: rugged design, fast-drying
- Cons: only available in one size, not as soft as fabric
This rubber band from OROBAY has a rugged design with a built-in case for the Apple Watch to guard against impact, whether you’re using it at work or while working out. The watch pops into the back of the case, which is precisely cut to hold it securely, and the area surrounding the watch face features a 2-millimeter raised bumper edge to further protect the screen from scratches or drops.
The OROBAY band has a traditional, two-piece adjustable design, and it has two loops that keep the end of the strap flat and out of the way. It’s made from rubber — not silicone — but reviewers have reported it’s “soft and comfortable” and that the “very flexible material doesn’t irritate the skin.” Keep in mind, though, it’s only available in one band size, so this option may not be a fit for everyone.
A reviewer wrote: “Needed a strap for the gym, this one actually turned out to be really great value for the price. The Apple Watch base clips in easily, and so far it hasn't slipped out, even after accidentally hitting it against something on a few different occasions. Seems like good protection so far, while being pretty comfortable to wear. My favorite thing about this strap is that there is no additional screen protector, allowing me to keep my own high quality one on there.”
Material: rubber | Available band sizes: 1 | Available colors: 7
7. A stretchy braided band
- Pros: soft on skin, no-buckle design, wide size range
- Cons: dries more slowly than silicone
This braided watch band has a stretchy loop design that fits over the wrist without the interference of buckles or tabs, and it’s available in nine sizes for an exact, comfortable fit. It’s made from interwoven recycled polyester yarn and silicone threads that are gentle on skin, breathable, and water-resistant, so your wrist will stay comfortable during intense workouts.
Due to its stretchy design, this breathable Apple Watch band comes in 12 precise sizes to help you find a custom fit. Several reviewers noted the importance of measuring your wrist to ensure you order the correct size, as the Apple Watch itself can be a little weighty and can cause the strap to loosen if it’s not snug.
A reviewer wrote: “My ideal Apple Watch fit is snug, so that the sensors maintain skin contact without shifting during workouts, yet not so snug to feel tight and leave impressions in my skin. [...] The band is good quality, free of defects and attached to my 44mm Series 4 perfectly. My initial impressions are very positive.”
Material: recycled polyester yarn and silicone | Available band sizes: 9 | Available colors: 9
8. A breathable silicone band
- Pros: perforations enhance breathability, fast-drying
- Cons: not as soft as fabric options, only available in one band size
The perforated design and soft, flexible material of this Apple watch silicone band give it excellent breathability to help keep wrists cool and dry while working out. One end of the two-piece band features two strap openings surrounding a small metal tab, while the other has tightly spaced holes that allow you to secure it for a custom fit for your wrist. The end of the band tucks discreetly into one of the holes to prevent any external parts from getting snagged or caught. Due to its adjustable design, this band comes in one universal size, and it’s offered in a variety of colors that fit all Apple Watch sizes.
A reviewer wrote: “Love this band. Stylish and perfect for workouts. With other bands (sans holes) I have on occasion contracted a rash due to sweating. No issues with that so far with this band. I now have this band in two colors. I like it so much!”
Material: silicone | Available band sizes: 1 | Available colors: 18
Dr. Erum Ilyas, board-certified dermatologist for Schweiger Dermatology Group. https://www.schweigerderm.com/providers/erum-ilyas-md-mbe-faad/