8 best Apple Watch bands for working out 2024

The Apple Watch is more than just an excellent smartwatch, it’s increasingly a must-have tool for anyone who owns an iPhone and exercises. Apple packed the Series 9 model with sensors for tracking your heart rate, blood-oxygen levels, and body temperature, and made the whole thing water-resistant, making it useful in and out of the pool. With watchOS 10 it’s also a lot better at tracking bike rides and hikes. And if you opt for an Apple Watch Ultra 2, you get all the usual features plus a much longer battery life and the ability to dive with your watch.

Best Apple Watch: Does the Ultra 2 make the cut?

The best Apple Watches house great displays and seamlessly track your activity, according to our hands-on testing.

Regardless of what model you choose, they’ll all come with a band, but the best looking watch band isn’t necessarily going to be the best option for starting up or continuing on with your fitness routine. Much like a case can protect the body of your Apple Watch, the right band can make it comfortable to wear during sweaty periods of heavy movement. We think Apple’s Sport Band is the best option for most people because of its color options and comfortable fit, but for that and several other great bands, check out the collection below.

Best Apple Watch: Our top choices

Apple Sport Band
Best band overall

The clue is in the name with this one. Fashioned from a high-performance fluoroelastomer (rubber) material, Apple’s band is light, smooth, and a great option if you’re worried about chafing your wrist during a long workout. Apple’s clever pin-and-tuck closure system that ensures a snug fit that won’t accidentally spring open during fast-paced movements too.

Apple Sport Loop
Best band for larger wrists

Available for both 41mm and 45mm cases, this simple, lightweight band is made from a stylish woven nylon that is both extremely robust and adds an element of breathability, allowing sweat to pass through the double-layer weave. If used with an Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, it also makes your whole purchase carbon-neutral, according to Apple.

Makcpoimer Alpine Loop
Best value band

Clearly taking inspiration from Apple’s own Alpine Band, which comes as an option on the Apple Watch Ultra 2, this version is made from similar rugged woven nylon but comes with its own unique magnetic closure system. It’s arguably less fiddly than Apple’s own G-hook design, but it isn’t likely to be as fail-proof if you are thinking of hitting the climbing wall in it.

Twelve South ActionBand
Best band for the sweatiest among us

Fusing the worlds of traditional sweat bands and watch straps, the ActionBand from Twelve South neatly comes in 40mm-45mm options to accommodate a range of Apple Watch bezel sizes, while a reinforced bumper houses the Apple Watch itself and gives the user full access to the digital crown, without hindering the heart rate sensors that are used on the back. Fashioned from a mix of terry cloth and lycra, the band easily stretches to fit most wrist sizes and doubles up as a great way to mop sweat.

Thwalk Sport Ocean Band
Best band for swimmers

Looking eerily similar to Apple’s Ocean Band, this durable silicone strap has stainless steel buckles and a familiar pin and tuck mechanism that ensures it stays firmly on the wrist. At this price, the band lacks the titanium buckle of Apple’s own option, but it should still be great for swimmers.

Ultimal Adjustable Band
Best band for outdoor workouts

If you’re looking for a rugged band for outdoor workouts, the Ultimal Adjustable Band offers protection for your Apple Watch while making it look like a Casio G-Shock. It fits watches from 44mm to 49mm and includes raised edges around the screen to prevent scratches.

Apple Nike Sport Band
Best lightweight band

Nike and Apple’s collaboration band uses the same fluroelastomer material as the traditional Sport Band, but with big circular cutouts to make it even more breathable. It fits the same watches, and uses a pin and tuck closure for a secure fit. It’s a stylish and performant band.

Dot Outfitters Yoga Band
Best band for yogis

Although offered for Fitbit and Samsung watches, Dot Outfitters also sells an Apple Watch-compatible version of its popular Yoga Band. Designed with the utmost comfort in mind, these bands are made from a stretch-knit fabric that can quickly wick moisture and make your skin breath easy, whether you’re doing Bikram or not.

Which is the right Apple Watch workout band for you?

Apple Watch bands come in many colors, styles and materials, with some better suited to fitness activities than others. As a general rule, we’d suggest steering clear of the more fashion-orientated metal bands, as these will likely rub and cause discomfort during a session. They might also get more easily damaged if you expose them to water or sweat.

Instead, go for the rubber or woven nylon options that are generally more breathable and much softer on the wrist. They’ll be easier to clean in the long run too.

Is Apple the only place I can buy a compatible Apple Watch band?

In short, no. A number of brands and sellers have popped up that offer a variety of comfortable and stylish bands that are compatible with most generations of Apple Watch. Credit to Apple, it’s kept the same simple connector system for the nearly 10 years Apple Watches have been around, which has made it easy for accessory makers to create bands and for customers to upgrade watches without having to change their style. There are rumors Apple might change the connector the Apple Watch uses with its 10th generation watch, but until we know for sure, feel safe purchasing a band that works for the watch you own now.

Can I swim in a nylon watch band?

Most of the bands we have featured are suitable for swimming, particularly those made from silicone or any other rubber-based material. The nylon weave bands are also fine, although you will find they take a while to dry once you are out of the drink.

We’d suggest avoiding taking plusher materials in for a dip, such as the ActionBand and Yoga Band. Although both claim to be machine washable, they will take a long time to dry and will take on water like a sponge, potentially leading to your watch dropping to the bottom of the pool or, worse still, the ocean.

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Author (if provided): Ian Carlos Campbell

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