I decided on the Apple Watch with stainless steel Milanese Loop band for a few reasons, but not before considering the benefits and drawbacks of Apple’s entire collection of straps and bands for Apple Watch. Budget will in many cases guide your decision, but going for the Milanese Loop was a no-brainer for me. There are a few downsides of the band compared to others, however.
Here are a few observations I’ve made after wearing it for the last couple weeks, including little talked about pros and cons you’ll want to consider before purchasing the Milanese Loop for yourself.
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1. It looks a bit different than in Apple’s press shots. I was a bit surprised that the link of the Milanese Loop doesn’t look like it does in a lot of Apple’s press shots, especially its overall presence once on the wrirst. To be fair, it looks closer to the shots Apple has on the product’s purchase page, but this is what it looks like in reality compared to Apple’s closeup shots that are used in some of the Apple Watch’s most prominent imagery:
You can see that the way the link looks close up in Apple’s renders is quite different than how the band looks in the real world from a normal viewing distance.
2. It won’t discolor or deform. It’s the only band that is truly resistant to scratches, deformation and discoloring, making it the most durable option among all the bands. Discoloration and deformation is a fact of life for those other materials and something Apple is warning about for its rubber and leather bands. The pricier stainless steel Link Bracelet is also not impervious to damage or wear and tear; like all link bands, it will get scratched and scuffed quite easily (also an issue Apple is anticipating and thus won’t be covering under warranty).
The Milanese Loop, however, with its busy, tightly weaved stainless steel mesh pattern, does an excellent job of resisting and hiding scratches. It also, like all stainless steel bands, won’t have any issue with discoloration, deformation or damage due to sweat and lotions.
3. Pulling hairs. I did experience the tiny links of the band catching and pulling out hairs on my wrist from time to time, which likely won’t be an issue with the other bands.
4. It becomes loose throughout the day. If you’ve ever researched watches with similar stainless steel mesh bands, you’ve probably heard complaints that they often come loose throughout the day or aren’t the most comfortable for regular, everyday use. Apple Watch’s Milanese Loop has the same problem, and Apple’s magnetic closure, while making the watch super easy to get on and off quickly, doesn’t help. I found myself adjusting the strap to make it tighter several times throughout the day, especially during any physical activity.
5. It’s not super comfortable. The stainless steel is definitely not the most comfortable watch band in the world (like any stainless steel band), and with the band coming loose throughout the day, I wouldn’t recommend it for workouts or much physical activity. I’ll be switching to a black Sport band for fitness or long periods of activity (once it arrives).
6. Breathability. One upside of the design in terms of comfort is breathability. Unlike any of Apple’s other straps, the weaved mesh of the Milanese Loop actually allows a bit of air to pass through, allowing you to stay cool and avoid sweating that is common with leather and solid stainless steel bands, for example. It’s also lighter in weight than the solid stainless steel link bands.
7. Fit. The magnetic closure and looped design allow you to adjust the band for the smallest or largest wrists. Unlike the rest of Apple’s Watch collection, no sizing guides or try-on sessions are necessary. You can also adjust the size so it’s perfect for your wrist in terms of comfort and fit, opposed to the 10mm increments you’ll be limited to with Apple’s other bands. If you’ve ever had a watch that was always just a bit too tight or too loose, you’ll appreciate that wont be a concern with the Milanese Loop.
Should you buy it?
Even considering the pros and cons above, I’m still extremely happy with my decision. The durability, premium look of the stainless steel, and the price point relative to the other Apple Watch model options — it’s $300 less than the stainless steel link band — definitely outweigh the downsides of the band and of the other Apple Watch models.
If you are heavy into fitness and plan on using the Apple Watch for mostly workouts and physical activity, grabbing an extra Sport band like I did might be necessary to avoid the downsides that the Milanese Loop has in those areas. But if that isn’t in the budget, then the Sport band is probably the go-to option for athletes.
And just in case you’re curious, this is what the Milanese Loop band looks like on the aluminum Sport model:
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