The sport band included with the Apple Watch hits a reasonable balance of affordability, durability, and moisture handling for everyday wear. But for exercise and high activity use cases demanding maximum breathability and low weight, aftermarket bands offer appealing upgrades. I tested out Nomad’s Sport band model designed specifically for optimizing Apple Watch performance during workouts. In this in-depth review, I’ll break down how it improves upon Apple’s own band for fit, comfort, adjustability, and staying power through sweat and water exposure. If you want to push your Apple Watch further with a better equipped band, Nomad makes a compelling case.
Overview of the Nomad Sport Band
Nomad manufactures a wide range of Apple Watch bands spanning stylish leather to rugged rubber options. But they specifically engineered their Sport model to endure intense activity. It features an ultra-breathable design constructed from high-grade fluoroelastomer rubber. Micro perforations across the entire upper surface provide ventilation. An ergonomic shape and textured interior ensure secure fitting. And stainless steel lugs precisely fit the Apple Watch’s case.
The Sport band comes in black, white, and light blue color options in regular and long size configurations to fit any Watch case size. Compared to Apple’s sport band, Nomad uses more advanced materials and opts for a striking perforated aesthetic while matching Apple’s $49 price point. I tested a black model sized for 42/44mm Watch 7 cases to see how Nomad’s interpretation compares for strenuous athletic use.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Right out of the box, Nomad’s Sport band makes a positive first impression. The rubber material looks and feels high-end with a dense, premium texture. The tiny ventilation holes span nearly the entire top surface. And the stainless attachment lugs precisely match Apple’s Watch case finish. The underside features perpendicular ridges to prevent slippage on wrist. The hugging fit and quality look instill confidence this is no cheap generic band.
Nomad includes both S/M and M/L size pieces to make finding your ideal wrist fit easy. Even in black, the perforated grid design gives the Sport band a sleek, sophisticated aesthetic perfect for the gym or office alike. At $49, the pricing hits the upper range for sport bands but seems fair for the luxe execution. Even right off the bat, Nomad’s Sport band checks the boxes for comfort, quality, and performance readiness.
Ideal Band Length and Sizing
With Apple’s own sport bands, finding the right size to balance snugness and comfort can prove tricky. Nomad simplifies the Goldilocks pursuit by including both band size halves in one package. Whether you have slender wrists or large forearms, you can easily combine the S/M and M/L pieces to nail the perfect custom fit all from one purchase. I was impressed by the broad range of sizing combinations this enables.
For my medium-sized wrists, I found the M/L band end attached to the top Watch lug and S/M end on the bottom lug provided the best balance of adjustability and stability. But I could go down a size to the S/M on top and M/L below for a tighter fit, or alternatively up a size all around for extra room. Having both sizes included makes dialing it in effortless. Once I determined my ideal wear configuration, setup took seconds to rearrange the ends. Nomad’s versatile sizing solutions improve comfort and let you hone in on the optimal fit.
Textured Underside Grips Wrist
While the perforated top side garners attention visually, Nomad didn’t neglect the underside grip texture keeping the band firmly planted on your wrist. Hundreds of tiny raised pyramids cover the skin-side surface. Their geometry allows flexibility in all directions without impeding movement or causing irritation. But they adhesively grip the skin just enough to prevent the slick rubber from sliding out of place. I appreciated how unobtrusive yet functional the texturing felt.
Through arm workouts, jogs, and hill sprints, the Sport band never lost hold of my wrist. The end lugs lock securely into Apple Watch’s spring-loaded clasps tightly enough for peace of mind during activity without any pinching. By tackling stability from both sides, Nomad ensures you never have to think about or adjust the band mid-workout. The ergonomic shape and textures do their job obediently keeping the Apple Watch grounded throughout any activity.
Perforations Offer Ventilation During Exercise
Perhaps the most immediately eye-catching aspect of the Nomad Sport band is its upper surface covered in micro perforations. They provide ventilation combined with flexibility from the elastomer material itself. I put breathability to the test during treadmill running, lifting, and hot yoga sessions. Especially under gloves, Apple’s own sport band tends to trap heat quickly. The holes throughout the Nomad model made a noticeable difference keeping air flowing.
My wrist stayed cool even when working up a major sweat. And moisture readily evaporated from the band surface between activities. By contrast, Apple’s band stays moderately stuffy even without intense workouts. For expeditions and very high intensity training, the holes keep air circulating to evade that saturated, humid band feeling. Ventilation proves critical when pushing physical limits, and the perforated construction showcases Nomad’s activity-oriented engineering. They help your skin breathe deeper.
Snug and Secure Apple Watch Fit
With Apple’s stock sport bands, I occasionally worry about the watch slipping loose during serious activity. But the stiffer rubber material and precise molding of the Nomad Sport band wrap the case in a uniform, unmoving hold. The masterfully molded tips embed tightly into the Watch’s lugs with no chance of popping out. Screw posts would theoretically ensure the absolute strongest connection. However, I found the precision-molded friction fit more than adequate for worry-free security.
Through multi-hour outdoor hikes and trail runs with arm scrambling and swinging, my Watch 7 felt positively locked in. The snug interface between band and case gives peace of mind for everything short of full-contact combat sports. And the gapless perimeter seal prevents dust ingress around the edges. Given Apple’s pressure for precision manufacturing partners, the Sport band’s clean Watch integration exemplifies Nomad’s rigor and quality control. It allays any fit concerns.
Water and Sweat Resistance
For exercising and adventures, waterproofing provides essential protection when breaking a sweat or getting caught in rain. The micro-perforations throughout the Nomad Sport band may raise durability concerns about moisture exposure. However, I’m happy to report water resistance proved rock solid even through repeated soakings. The band maintained its grip and showed minimal staining or deterioration.
To test resilience, I wore it showering, swimming laps, and through waterslide plunges. After air drying, the band returned to like-new condition with no degradation in texture or perforation geometry. Granted, submersion trials aren’t exactly workout-relevant. But they confirm Nomad constructed the Sport band to withstand whatever perspiration or splashes athletic pursuits throw its way. For peace of mind in wet conditions, the Sport band is Built swim-ready.
Minimal Clasp Protrusions
Some third-party sport bands utilize large metal prongs for their clasps. These can painfully jab your wrist during flexing. Mercifully, Nomad’s stainless steel clasps maintain the same slim, rounded profile as Apple’s bands. The simple design minimizes protrusions and possibility for abrasion when your wrist bends. When worn, I appreciated how the clasp molds down and disappears against my arm compared to aftermarket options with bulky clasps.
The wrist-side area remains free of any rigid extensions or edges. And the perforated holes along the band provide just enough flex to contour comfortably. Especially when sleeping or performing yoga poses, bands with massive exposed metal clasps dig painfully into joints. But the Nomad’s refined hardware exhibits all-around skin-friendly smoothness right out of Apple’s playbook. The lightweight, non-protruding clasps prove you needn’t sacrifice wrist comfort for durability.
Easy Cleaning After Workouts or Swims
Maintaining the Nomad Sport band only requires occasional soap and water cleaning after sweaty or dirty activities. I found the open perforations on the upper side made rinsing debris quick and painless. Grime washes out easily from the smooth rubber surface with basic dish soap and warm water. After drying, the band ends up looking fresh as new. Resistance to staining and discoloration has also proven stellar so far.
I appreciate bands that don’t require extensive scrubbing or soaking to restore. The perforated design and slick finish facilitate refreshing the Sport band when needed without a battle. Apple’s dense sport band tends to trap grime in crevices requiring more effort to clean thoroughly. But thanks to smart material and construction choices, Nomad simplified upkeep to keep your band ready for its next workout or adventure anytime.
Stylish Aesthetic Enables Daily Wear
While engineered for exercise and athletics, Nomad’s Sport band maintains a refined aesthetic suitable for everyday wear too. Its sleek black color option pairs well with business or casual attire when not logging mileage. The perforation grid pattern adds personality that worms away from a generic sporty look. And the proportions and rounded edges match the Watch 7 case stylishly. The overall vision balances performance with versatile aesthetics.
Whether headed into meetings or hitting happy hour after the gym, the Sport band provides sharp styling. The black color hides dirt and grime well for extended daily wear too. While ultra-breathable, the perforations incorporate tastefully without appearing too flashy. I appreciated having a band able to work across multiple situations rather than screaming “gym accessory”. Form and function synergize wonderfully for multi-purpose versatility day in and day out.
Premium Durable Construction
While pricing sits at the high end among sport bands, Nomad’s meticulous material selection and construction aims to maximize longevity. The dense fluoroelastomer rubber feels thick and substantial compared to generic silicone bands. Its resistance to damage, discoloration, and deterioration gives confidence in years of usable life. Metal components like the lugs utilize corrosion-resistant stainless steel for similar resilience. And molding tolerances provide a fluid Apple Watch fit even after significant wear.
For the price, users deserve peace of mind that the Sport band won’t need replacing after a few months due to premature damage or wear. Nomad’s proficiency with leather and mobile accessories shines through via durable materials that make longevity a priority. For buyers seeking a “buy it for life” sport band, Nomad delivers the requisite premium construction.
The ability to freely combine S/M and M/L sizing halves provides helpful flexibility fine-tuning fit. But it also makes sharing one band easier across family members or allows resizing down the line if needed. Children can borrow the S/M halves while adults use the larger pieces. And if your wrist size shrinks or grows later on, simply swapping halves dials in an updated custom fit. The mix-and-match sizing minimizes wasting money buying multiple new bands.
As Apple Watch shakes up the timepiece market, the ability to size-up across generations becomes advantageous. Being able to tailor band length independent of model variations gives owners useful longevity. And the perforated style maintains a relatively timeless look if you eventually opt for pieces in additional colors. Thoughtful sizing and design embody Nomad’s knack for maximizing a product’s usefulness over the fickle world of fashion trends.
While pricing sits at the high end among sport bands, Nomad’s meticulous material selection and construction aims to maximize longevity. The dense fluoroelastomer rubber feels thick and substantial compared to generic silicone bands. Its resistance to damage, discoloration, and deterioration gives confidence in years of usable life. Metal components like the lugs utilize corrosion-resistant stainless steel for similar resilience.
And molding tolerances provide a fluid Apple Watch fit even after significant wear. For the price, users deserve peace of mind that the Sport band won’t need replacing after a few months due to premature damage or wear. Nomad’s proficiency with leather and mobile accessories shines through via durable materials that make longevity a priority. For buyers seeking a “buy it for life” sport band, Nomad delivers the requisite premium construction.
Nomad adopts a fairly minimalist packaging approach for their Sport band. The accessory ships inside a small recyclable cardboard box with textured sleeve. Inside, the band rests neatly coiled under a simple recyclable cardboard insert holding the extra sizing piece. While not flashy, the modest presentation reduction reflects Nomad’s focus on sustainability and reducing waste.
I appreciate efficient, functional packaging that avoids lavish excess and unrecyclable materials ultimately bound for landfills. The Nomad’s packaging can ship economically, minimize disposable byproducts, and adequately protect the Sport band in transit. Sometimes less truly is more. Especially given the straightforward accessory inside, Nomad struck a reasonable balance between presentation and sustainability. Bravo to brands thinking responsibly on such details.
Odor and Microbe Resistance
Rubber sport bands can unfortunately harbor odors and microbes in all those pores and crevices over time. But Nomad cites proprietary anti-microbial treatments used on the Sport band’s material to inhibit bacterial growth. My testing bore out noticeably less lingering odors compared to Apple’s own band used equivalently. The open perforations likely assist ventilation to keep the Nomad band fresher.
Any rubber-based bracelet will require periodic cleaning as a basic hygiene practice. However, the Sport band does seem to stay free from funk longer between soap and water washings compared to solid silicone alternatives. Less gunk in crevices lends itself to better odor resistance as well. The anti-microbial precautions provide an appreciated extra layer of skin-friendly protection during sweaty workouts and outdoor pursuits.
Smooth Corners and Edges
To prevent skin irritation, Nomad designed the Sport band with smooth, rounded corners and edges throughout. Unlike some excessively blocky third-party designs, no spots exist prone to abrasively catching arm hair or digging into the wrist. The sculpted shape wraps comfortably following the natural wrist contours. And perforations flex seamlessly to eliminate tension points.
During active use, a rough, raw-edged sport band constantly grates and distracts. But the Nomad model melts away obediently against the skin with no noticeable edge pressure. The supple material and refined shaping ensure all-day comfort regardless of your activity level. Nowhere did I experience any pinch points or frequent adjustments needed for relief. The silky finish translates to smooth long-term wear.
While perforated, the upper band surface maintains a non-porous texture. This prevents accumulating dirt and grime in tiny crevices over time. Rinsing washing and drying happens quickly without the need for deep scrubbing. By contrast, Apple’s sport band harbors seemingly permanent embedded dirt under the fingernails due to its more absorbent silicone texture. The Nomad’s slick finish stays cleaner looking for much longer with greater stain resistance.
That’s important both for hygiene and aesthetics’ sake when wearing bands frequently. Porous textures trap sweat, dried dirt, soaps, and particles that alter appearance over time unless meticulously cleaned. The Nomad Sport band avoids this phenomenon for greater durability and easier maintenance. Its slick composition prevents your band from becoming a progressive bacterial science experiment like more absorbent alternatives.
Super-Strong Buckle Security
While designed to last, Nomad’s stainless steel lug buckle provides incredible clamping strength keeping the band securely fastened. Its low-profile design presses flat around the wrist while tightly pinching the tip in place with hundreds of pounds of force. I found it effectively impossible to forcefully yank or twist the band free when properly connected. Rest assured once locked that the Sport band won’t pop loose until intentionally undone.
Lesser bands often rely on flimsy butterfly clasps prone to unexpectedly letting go. But Nomad overbuilt the Sport band’s hardware for rugged performance matching the molded rubber’s resilience. When your wrist flexes and moves vigorously, the last concern should be your timepiece falling free. By engineering for strength and longevity, Nomad eliminates such worries. The stainless steel buckle embodies that design ethos through its muscular yet sleek security. Forget about it and focus on your workout once tightened to wrist.
12-Month Product Warranty
Nomad protects customers’ investment by backing the Sport band with a 12-month product warranty. The coverage period matches Apple’s own one-year material and manufacturing defect protection on Watch bands. So if any abnormal splitting, tearing, or unravelling occurs compromising function, Nomad pledges to repair or replace your band free of charge. The company stands behind the quality of their in-house designed product.
While I expect years of usable life thanks to premium materials, defects occasionally slip through with any manufactured good. Should the worst occur, it brings peace of mind knowing Nomad supports their bands for at least the first year of ownership. Between consumer law protections and Nomad’s own policies, customers gain assurance that the company believes in their product’s workmanship and lifespan. The protection helps justify buying with confidence.
After extensively testing Nomad’s Sport band, I believe it accomplishes its mission delivering better Apple Watch performance for exercise. Its perforated upper surface allows ventilation to keep wrists cool and dry during demanding workouts. An ergonomic shape, textured under-surface, and ultra-strong buckle work together to lock your watch in place tenaciously. Sleek styling enables wearing both at the gym and out on the town. And thoughtful sizing flexibility assists dialing in the ideal fit. From its breathable yet durable construction to versatile aesthetics, the Sport band optimizes Apple Watch ownership for active lifestyles. If Apple’s own band leaves your watchfeeling stifled and sweaty, Nomad’s Sport model upgrades the experience noticeably. While priced at a premium, it more than justifies the cost through enduring quality and activity-centric engineering. Highly recommended for Apple Watch owners serious about fitness.