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Tested: 8 third-party leather bands for the Apple Watch

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Oct. 8, 2015
Before you drop US$150 on Apple's luxurious leather loop, check out these third-party options in exotic leathers and colors.

MintApple’s bands feature a clasp instead of a buckle, and I imagine this is not an issue if you happen to have a larger wrist. However, for my wrist, the clasp was simply too big. By the time I punched extra holes in the bands and adjusted them to fit my 5.5-inch wrist, the clasp poked into the bone in my wrist, uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. The clasp is curved to accommodate the curvature of your wrist, but I expect that it’s designed to lie against the bottom of your wrist, not the side of your wrist like mine did.

sarah mintapple black crocodile
MintApple's black crocodile strap.  Credit: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

Luckily, these bands are leather and therefore do break in after a few days of wear. The crocodile leather band comes in black, brown, red, and tan, and features large scales and a semi-glossy finish. This band is thicker than the others (though it can be ordered for both the 38mm and the 42mm Watch), and is therefore probably better suited to a larger wrist. The crocodile band is evenly padded throughout and takes about four days to break in. It has two leather loops (one stationary, one sliding) to secure the end in place and seven holes for adjustment. This band feels particularly durable and doesn’t warp at all.

sarah mintapple brown lizard
MintApple's brown lizard strap.  Credit: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

The lizard leather band comes in two colors: Black and dark brown – I tested the brown lizard leather band, which is a rich, deep brown with a textured, semi-glossy finish. This band features thick, padded leather near the adapter, and tapers off into thinner leather near the end. It has seven holes for adjustment (I had to punch an extra three), a MintApple-branded polished silver clasp, and two loops (one stationary, one sliding) to secure the end in place.

sarah mintapple brown ostrich
MintApple's brown ostrich band. Credit: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

MintApple’s ostrich leather band comes in black, brown, and red, and has a matte finish. I tested the brown ostrich leather band, which is lighter brown than the brown lizard leather band (more of a caramel color). Like the lizard leather band, this band is padded near the adapter and thinner near the end, but the band itself is also slimmer overall. It’s a much more feminine profile and looks less bulky than the lizard or crocodile bands. The ostrich leather is smooth and flexible, and took less than a day to break in and be comfortable on my wrist.


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