Apple watch

Braided Solo Loop vs Sport Loop

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  • As an Apple Watch owner, I was convinced to get one after trying braided solo loops.
  • The design has its flaws, but I find the woven bands to be superior to the silicone Sport Loops.

Apple Watches have become more than just a fitness accessory. With features like fall detection, sleep monitoring and, of course, telling the time, you’d be hard pressed to find the option to take your Apple Watch off to charge it.

I had been on the verge of getting one for years now, but held off because I know too well I would take it off and forget about it.

However, with the release of the lower-cost Apple Watch SE and Braided Solo Loops, everything was about to change for me.

Apple’s new interlocking stretch bands have made me a watch wearer. Compared to the silicone alternative that comes with the Apple Watch, I found them much more comfortable for constant wear, although they do have their downsides.

Apple’s braided solo loops are just a better, more breathable fit.

side by side with the apple braided solo buckle strap against the apple sports band

The Braided Solo Loop is much more comfortable than the Sport Band.

Sarah Saril/Initiate

Compared to the solid, poreless Apple Sport Band, the Braided Solo Loop solves one major issue for me: breathability. Gone are the days of sweaty wrists under my watch, now my skin can to breathe.

Now you might be thinking: is that really it? Is it really worth paying Apple $100 in the name of sweaty arms? When you’re as sweaty as me: yes. It’s also worth considering that Apple Watches are a 24/7 companion at this point, so comfort is key.

The design certainly has other equally attractive features that also compare better to the Sport Band. It is flexible and stretchy which also gives a more relaxed fit. It’s washable and dries quickly (again: breathable design), so getting your braided loop wet isn’t a problem.

Sarah holds the braided apple watch strap to the side to show off her thinness

It’s thin too.

Sarah Saril/Initiate

The Solo Loop design is also incredibly thin, meaning there’s no bulk from the tension loops and clasps. However, this means that you must purchase your exact size.

The Braided Solo Loop is not without its drawbacks.

sarah's old braided strap buckle solo braided dirty apple and stretched

My old unwashed band can still be cleaned with a good wash.

Sarah Saril/Initiate

Unlike a silicone alternative, the braided loop can get dirty more easily. It’s an inescapable truth, but at least you can wash it off with dish soap.

Sarah pinches the extra slack on the braided buckle strap of her apple watch

The extra slack made my old buckle pretty much unusable for me.

Sarah Saril/Initiate

The biggest design flaw, in my opinion, is the band’s tendency to stretch over time. Warping didn’t become a problem for me until I was past the one year mark, but play has become a real hindrance to wearing my watch over the past few weeks.

I’ve tried a few tricks online to shrink the weave, including heat and blow-drying when wet, to no avail. The only real solution seems to be to buy a new $100 braided loop.

Is Apple’s Braided Solo Loop Worth It?

sarah wearing the apple braided solo buckle strap and her husband wearing the apple sport buckle

Apple Watch Band preference ultimately depends on the wearer.

Sarah Saril/Initiate

For me, I’ll be using the braided loop exclusively, until someone designs something that stretches less over time. It’s just a real day-to-day improvement that I can’t give up on now. Even though I have to shell out for a replacement every year, I consider it worth cutting costs elsewhere in order to splurge on my favorite watch strap on an annual basis.

If you’re lucky enough to be spared sweaty wrists, Apple’s Sport Loop is a tried-and-true design for a reason. It’s naturally waterproof, dirt-resistant and, just like the Braided Loop, it’s available in a number of stylish colors.

You can even skip most of a latch by opting for a form-fitting Solo Loop design – but you may run into the same stretching issues I’ve encountered over time.