Nomad Strap for Apple Watch review: best leather band?

The Nomad Strap for Apple Watch is my favorite leather Apple Watch strap. Apple’s Classic Buckle design is too straight-laced and kind of boring, the Leather Loop is cool but really nontraditional and the Modern Buckle is… well… not for me. I’ve tried other third-party leather Apple Watch straps and so far none have the quality build or bold style of the Nomad Strap. Not even close.

The Nomad Strap costs $150 and comes in 3 color varieties: Classic Tan with Silver Hardware, Rustic Brown with Black Hardware and Amber Gray with Black Hardware which is the model I’ve been testing (and loving). There’s just something really appealing about the way these straps look and feel to a guy. They’re not too flimsy or thin, the colors are classically stylish and the steel hardware doesn’t shrink away from being noticed: it’s big and a bit more in your face than the metal found on Apple’s official leather bands. So ya, I’m a big fan of the look and feel of the Nomad Strap. And since the look of a watch band is 60% of it’s appeal (the other 40% being comfort and price) that’s a big deal.

Since I’ve already covered the looks let’s talk comfort next. This is a Watch band that takes some breaking in to find the ideal comfort level. It’s not super comfortable on day 1. By day 3 it’s on it’s way to molding properly to your wrist. Within a week I’d say your wrist will be in total harmony with the Nomad Strap. And there’s something kind of cool about a product that takes some time to conform to you because after awhile it really is YOUR watch band.

So once it’s fully trained to your wrist size and shape, it’s pretty comfortable to wear. That said, I can’t say it’s the most comfortable Apple Watch band I’ve ever worn. That honor still probably goes to the Sport Band which is the only band I really forget I’m even wearing because it’s so light and soft. I would say, though, that this band is more comfortable than any metal Apple Watch band I’ve ever worn — partly because it’s much lighter.

Finding the right length and tightness with the Nomad Strap has proven a little challenging for me: the two most comfortable settings are either slightly tighter or looser than ideal for me, but this will be totally different for every human on planet Earth.

I also really love the smell. From the moment I lifted the lid on the box it smelled like I was in a shoe store with that brand new leather smell.

One thing I don’t like about this particular leather band is how long it takes me to put on and take off. Now take that in context: this band doesn’t REALLY take a long time to put on or take off but it’s longer than simpler, less stiff bands like the Sport Band which I can get on and off in a fraction of a second. I think this aspect will improve the longer a person wears the Nomad Strap, though.

Something else I love about this band, though, is how easy it is to install. I can’t tell you how many third party Apple Watch bands are hard to slide in or out of the locking mechanism. The cheaper the Watch band, the worse the problem seems to be. But the Nomad Strap is smooth as butter. At least as smooth as the official Apple bands in my testing! So if you’re a person who might actually want to swap bands thought the day (like when you’re exercising) that’s an important fact.

And now a word about quality. This band seems rugged and very well made. That isn’t to say it’s going to look pristine forever: it won’t even look pristine for a few days as it was designed to age and wear gracefully over time. Again, there’s something cool about that: this Watch strap really shows it’s unique wear based on your own life and therefore is like no other Nomad Strap out there.

One final thing I absolutely have to mention is the smell of this strap. Yes, the smell. As soon as I unboxed it, it was like walking into a shoe store. I’ve never gotten than from any other leather Apple Watch strap — maybe it’s because the strap is minimally treated and in a more raw state. But something about that smell… it’s just good.

So if you’re looking for a unique, well-made leather Apple Watch strap I couldn’t recommend the Nomad Strap any higher. It’s an all around winner that’s easy like. Now I haven’t tried every leather Apple Watch band on the market, but, IF it’s not the best leather Apple Watch strap — premium or otherwise — it’s certainly among the top contenders.