Apple Watch Band Guide – Swapping and Customizing Your Look

The Apple Watch allows you to easily swap and change bands for a customized look. With a wide variety of band materials, colors and styles available, you can match your watch to your outfit or mood. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Apple Watch bands, from how to swap them out to band recommendations for workouts, office wear and more.

Table of Contents

  • Benefits of Swapping Apple Watch Bands
  • Apple Watch Band Styles Overview
  • How to Change and Swap Apple Watch Bands
    • Band Release Buttons
    • Removing the Band
    • Attaching a New Band
  • Band Size Guide
  • Apple Watch Band Materials
    • Fluoroelastomer Sport Band
    • Nylon Band
    • Stainless Steel Band
    • Leather Band
    • Metal Link Bracelet
    • Hermès Leather Bands
  • Top Apple Watch Band Recommendations
    • Best Bands for Workouts
    • Best Bands for Work
    • Best Bands for Fashion and Styling
    • Best Value Bands
  • Third Party Apple Watch Band Options
  • How to Care for Your Apple Watch Band
  • Common Apple Watch Band FAQs

Benefits of Swapping Apple Watch Bands

The ability to easily swap and change Apple Watch bands is a major benefit for users. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Customize Your Style – With a wide variety of band colors and materials, you can customize the look and feel of your watch to match your personal taste and style. Change from a sporty silicone band for workouts to a classy leather band for the office.
  • Suit Different Activities – Certain band materials like silicone fluoroelastomer are better suited for vigorous exercise and getting wet with sweat. Leather bands are not ideal for sports. Having different band options lets you suit the band to the activity.
  • Adapt to Outfits – Match your Apple Watch band color to the outfit your wearing for a cohesive styled look. Swap between bands to complement business formal, casual everyday, or dinner party attire.
  • New Look Over Time – The ability to change bands prevents your watch from looking stale. A new band breathes fresh life into an older model Apple Watch.
  • Easily Replace Worn Bands – Watch bands will show signs of wear over time, especially with repeated use. Having the option to swap bands allows you to easily replace worn ones.

Swapping Apple Watch bands is an easy way to customize your look, suit different activities, match outfits and keep your watch looking fresh. The versatility adds great value.

Apple Watch Band Styles Overview

Apple and third party vendors offer a wide range of Apple Watch band styles and designs:

  • Sport Band – Made of silicone fluoroelastomer with a pin-and-tuck closure. Designed for active lifestyles with sweat and water-resistance. Comes in a wide range of colors.
  • Nylon – Woven nylon bands that are durable and lightweight. Provides a softer, fabric feel. Variety of colors available.
  • Stainless Steel – Made of stainless steel metal links for a sleek, stylish look. Pairs well with formal attire. Silver, graphite and gold colors offered.
  • Leather – Crafted from fine leather for a classic, elegant style. Both classic leather and modern loop designs available.
  • Metal Link Bracelet – Premium metal link band styled as a bracelet. High-end adornment for a luxury look. Only in stainless steel.
  • Hermès – Luxury leather bands designed by Hermès for fashion and prestige. Offered in a variety of colors and styles. Only compatible with larger watch sizes.
  • Milanese Loop – Stainless steel mesh bands that are fully magnetic and adjustable. Modern styling that is both durable and comfortable.
  • Sport Loop – Soft, breathable nylon bands with hook and loop fasteners for adjustability. Designed for active lifestyles and comfort.

There are also more niche band styles like the leather link bracelet, pride edition bands, and bands with designer patterns.

How to Change and Swap Apple Watch Bands

Changing and swapping Apple Watch bands is designed to be quick and simple. Follow these steps:

Band Release Buttons

All Apple Watch bands have band release buttons on the underside of the watch case.

  • 42mm/45mm case – release buttons are located at 10 and 2 o’clock
  • 38mm/41mm case – release buttons are at 12 and 6 o’clock

Removing the Band

  1. Locate the band release buttons on your watch case.
  2. To remove a band, press and hold the button to slide the band out. Repeat on the other side. The band will detach from the watch.

Attaching a New Band

  1. Align the end of the new band with the watch casing.
  2. Press the band release button and slide the band piece into position until it clicks securely in place.
  3. Repeat the process to attach the other side of the band. Ensure both sides are firmly clicked in.

And that’s it, you’ve changed your Apple Watch band! It only takes a few seconds.

Band Size Guide

Apple Watch cases and bands come in different sizes you’ll need to match up:

  • 38mm case – Fits 130mm-180mm wrists
  • 40mm case – Fits 125mm-195mm wrists
  • 41mm case – Fits 140mm-210mm wrists
  • 42mm case – Fits 130mm-200 mm wrists
  • 44mm case – Fits 140mm-220mm wrists
  • 45mm case – Fits 130mm-210mm wrists

Measure your wrist before selecting a band size. Bands are sized:

  • Small – Fits 130-180mm wrists
  • Medium – Fits 150-200mm wrists
  • Large – Fits 180-220mm wrists

Apple does offer ways to slightly adjust sizing with extenders on some bands. You want your band to fit snug but not overly tight.

Apple Watch Band Materials

Apple and third parties offer bands in a variety of different materials, each with their own properties, pros and cons:

Fluoroelastomer Sport Band

  • Description – Made of synthetic rubber fluoroelastomer material. Pin-and-tuck closure.
  • Features
    • Sweat and water resistant
    • Durable and can withstand high activity
    • Smooth, non-irritating feel
    • Antimicrobial treatment
    • Vibrant color options
    • Affordable pricing
  • Best For – Active lifestyles, exercise, water activities. Situations where you may sweat.
  • Downsides – Fewer style options. Less breathable for all day wear.

Nylon Band

  • Description – Woven nylon bands with pin buckle closure.
  • Features
    • Soft, breathable feel
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Color won’t bleed or stain
    • Durable enough for exercise
    • Range of colors
  • Best For – All day wear, active and casual lifestyles.
  • Downsides – Less water resistant. Limited style versatility.

Stainless Steel Band

  • Description – Watch bands made from stainless steel metal links. Uses pin closure.
  • Features
    • Stylish, versatile for dressy or casual Looks
    • Durable stainless steel metal
    • Variety of finishes: silver, graphite, gold
    • Adjustable link removal
    • Matches stainless steel watch cases
  • Best For – Fashionable accessorizing, suits, work, parties.
  • Downsides – Less ideal for vigorous activity where scratching may occur. Price.

Leather Band

  • Description – Crafted from high quality leather. Uses classic buckle closure.
  • Features
    • Timeless, stylish look
    • Variety of leather types and colors
    • Softens over time
    • Formal and casual styles
    • Luxurious accessory
  • Best For – Fashion, work, parties, events, dress attire.
  • Downsides – Leather wears over time. Damage with water exposure. Prices.

Metal Link Bracelet

  • Description – Luxury metal link band styled as a bracelet. Uses butterfly closure.
  • Features
    • High-end aesthetic
    • Intricate detailing
    • Stainless steel or space black
    • Adjustable links
    • Fully magnetic closure
  • Best For – Special occasions, luxury gift, rewards, high-end fashion.
  • Downsides – Very expensive. Scratches over time. Limited versatility.

Hermès Leather Bands

  • Description – Premium leather bands designed by Hermès. Unique Orange sport band included.
  • Features
    • Highest quality fine leather
    • Handcrafted in France
    • Contrast stitching details
    • Exclusive Hermès designs
    • Luxury gift box
  • Best For – Luxury gifts, Apple/Hermès fans, fashion sophisticates.
  • Downsides – Extremely expensive. Few style options. Only for larger watch cases.

Top Apple Watch Band Recommendations

With so many Apple Watch band options, here are top picks for various needs:

Best Bands for Workouts

For exercise and training, you want a durable, sweat-resistant band:

  • Sport Band – The fluoroelastomer material is ideal for absorbing sweat during workouts. Sporty look.
  • Sport Loop – Super comfortable nylon loop band stays put during activities. Allows skin to breathe.
  • Nike Sport – Sport band co-designed with Nike for active types. Breathable, flexible and lightweight.

Best Bands for Work

For professional workplaces, choose a stylish band like:

  • Milanese Loop – Stainless steel mesh looks sleek and high-end for work attire.
  • Stainless Steel – A stainless steel link band adds sharp style to business or formal wear.
  • Leather – Real leather bands (especially Horween leather) convey professional luxury.
  • Modern Buckle – A two-piece classic leather band polished for work.

Best Bands for Fashion and Styling

For fashionable looks, check out:

  • Sport Loop – The nylon sport loop comes in fun colors to complement outfits.
  • Braided Solo Loop – Trendy, fashionable band with a soft stretchy design. Mix and match colors.
  • Leather Link – Interlocking leather band styled like a bracelet. Sleek accessory.
  • Sport – The sport fluoroelastomer band has fresh color options to match styles.

Best Value Bands

You don’t have to pay premium prices to swap Apple Watch looks:

  • Sport Band – The entry-level sport band offers quality at only $49.
  • Sport Loop – A comfortable nylon sport loop for just $49. Budget friendly.
  • iVAPOR Sport Band – Well reviewed sport band for only $13 on Amazon.
  • UpperCase Braided Solo Loop – Woven nylon loop dupe for under $15 on Amazon.

Third Party Apple Watch Band Options

Apple isn’t your only option – there is a vast market of third party Apple Watch bands:

  • Amazon – Find Apple Watch bands for under $10. Brands like iVAPOR offer sports bands, leather bands, stainless steel and more.
  • Casetify – Trendy designer Apple Watch bands in a variety of patterns and collaborations.
  • Pad & Quill – Quality leather bands like luxury banded leather and hand-stitched options.
  • Nomad – Rugged leather and canvas bands built for adventure and outdoor activity.
  • UAG – Durable bands in nylon, fluoroelastomer and more that can take a beating.
  • Clockwork Synergy – Interchangeable straps featuring NATO style nylon, leather, silicone bands and more.

Don’t limit yourself to Apple’s selection. Shop around for Apple Watch bands that meet your style, features and budget needs.

How to Care for Your Apple Watch Band

Proper care keeps your Apple Watch bands looking pristine and extending their lifespan:

  • Keep Dry – Limit exposure to moisture which can damage leather bands. Dry off any wetness from wash hands or rain.
  • Use a Band Case – Cases provide protection from bumps, scratches and the elements during adventures.
  • Clean Periodically – Use a soft damp cloth to gently wipe away dirt and skin oils on the band. Avoid harsh cleaners.
  • Avoid Chemicals – Don’t expose your band to chemicals in products like perfumes, solvents or detergents. Rinse any accidental exposure.
  • Store Properly – Keep bands stored flat when not in use to prevent warping and deforming, especially with leather.
  • Inspect for Damage – Check periodically for cracks, tears or malfunctions and replace if needed. Avoid worn-out bands breaking.

With regular care and cleaning, Apple Watch bands can deliver years of performance. Handle them with care to get the most life and enjoyment from your bands.

Common Apple Watch Band FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about Apple Watch bands:

Are Apple Watch bands interchangeable between different case sizes?

No, the 38/40mm bands are not interchangeable with 42/44mm bands. The sizing of the connectors are different. Bands are designed specifically for each case size.

Can I get Apple Watch bands wet?

Some can. The fluoroelastomer sport bands and nylon sport loops are swim-proof. But leather and stainless steel bands can be damaged by prolonged moisture exposure. Avoid getting them wet.

How do I clean an Apple Watch band?

Use a soft damp cloth to gently wipe away dirt, sweat and skin accumulations. Avoid using harsh soaps, cleaners or submerging in water. Dry thoroughly afterward.

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Can third-party bands damage my Apple Watch?

Poor quality third-party bands could potentially damage the watch connectors. Stick with bands from reputable brands that specifically state Apple Watch compatibility.

How can I stop skin irritation from the band?

Switch to a breathable sport loop or nylon style band. Ensure the band isn’t too tight. Clean and dry your wrist and the band regularly to limit irritation from dirt, sweat and moisture.

Can I return an Apple Watch band if I don’t like it?

Yes, Apple allows returns and exchanges on Apple Watch bands if returned in new condition within 14 days of receiving it. You’ll need to package it properly for return shipping.


Swapping Apple Watch bands is an easy way to customize your look. With a wide variety of band materials and designs to choose from, you can dress up your watch for workouts, work or a night out on the town with just a quick band change. Use this guide’s tips to pick the ideal bands, properly change them, and keep your bands looking pristine. A fresh band can make your Apple Watch feel like new again.

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