From 9to5Toys:

You may have noticed that Apple introduced, upgraded and announced a slew of new products this morning. Amidst the craze of today’s moves was the unveiling of new Apple Watch Bands, including the much sought-after Nike Sport. You may recall that up until today, this popular band was only available with the Series 2 Nike+ model.

The bad news for consumers? Apple continues to charge rather outlandish prices for its official watch bands with prices topping out at $689 for the Hermès double cuff. To help lend a hand, we’ve rounded up some of the best third-party alternatives to today’s new releases to help you save some cash. Head below for the full list.

First thing, let’s talk quality. Obviously, Apple’s official watch bands are going to be made from top-grade materials. There is no doubting that. But for a fraction of the price, you can pick up multiple alternatives that can be easily swapped out for different looks. There are also a number of trusted third-party accessory makers cranking out beautiful alternatives that you’ll find down below. I have upwards of 15-20 bands at this point from reviews, and the vast majority have stood the test of time through workouts and daily use.

Apple’s official Nike bands come in at the usual $49 price tag, much like the rest of the sport options in its lineup. Going this route is the most affordable of Apple’s add-ons but there is still money to be saved. A few months back we reviewed OULUOQI’s popular Nike look-alike band, which I still wear daily. It’s been so popular that it is currently sold out over at Amazon. Nonetheless, there are still a handful of other options that look similar available for $13 Prime shipped or less.

This morning’s news also delivered three new traditional Sport Band colors, including Camellia, Pebble and Azure. This is an area that we’ve covered heavily in the past with prices starting below $12. For example, this highly-rated option goes for $10.99 Prime shipped and it includes two different band lengths for a custom fit. You have a choice of six different colors here, with more options available from other brands.

If you’re hesitant to go with a lesser-known name from Amazon, we can whole-heartedly recommend Nomad’s Rugged Strap at under $40. We positively reviewed this band when it was released for its top-grade materials and design. It’s just $9 less than Apple’s official option but the build quality here is top-notch.

Switching over to nylon, Apple unveiled six new options at $50. Nylon discounts are hard to come by, but trusted third-party brands do offer a few alternatives. Incase offers six different colors at $40 and we found it to be a suitable alternative in our hands-on review. Clockwork Synergy also has a couple of options that are worth checking out as well for a bit less. Just the same, there are a slew of colors available over at Amazon for under $15 Prime shipped, too.

Finally, Apple updated its leather offerings with new Classic Buckle designs at $149 and the pricier Hermès that starts at $489. This is the one particular category of third-party bands where you’ll want to be extra picky if you care about quality. Most of the third-party leather options over at Amazon do not feature real cowhide, but are a synthetic blend of different materials. You can find a band for under $20 but let’s be honest about the quality there. You can expect to see some fraying over longer periods of time.

Thankfully there are a number of trusted brands out there that are cranking out beautiful alternatives to Apple’s official leather add-ons. Pad & Quill certainly comes to mind with its full-grain straps that start at $100 and go up to $250 for a Hermès-like cuff. We’ve long been a fan of P&Q’s products, and its leather bands follow suit. Nomad also makes a gorgeous $60 strap and Incase offers a similar clean look for the same price.

Be sure to follow @9to5Toys on Twitter and like us on Facebook, as we regularly see deals on these popular watch bands. What are your favorite Apple Watch alternatives on the market today? Drop us a comment down below and let us know!

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About the Author

Trevor Daugherty

Trevor Daugherty is the Senior Editor of 9to5Toys. Since joining in 2014, he’s specialized in product reviews, exclusive discounts and 9to5’s New Toy of the Day. Contact him direct at trevor@9to5mac.com.