Nomad Active Strap for Apple Watch Has Ruggedly Refined Good Looks

I love my fast, comfortable, cellular-connected Apple Watch Gen 4 and wear it daily. Over the summer, I used the Nomad Sport Strap so I could swim. (Read my review.) The rest of the time I’ve used the titanium band. (Read my review.) Since getting the new $69.95 the Nomad Active Strap, however, it’s been my “go-to” strap; here’s why.

I’ve reviewed Nomad’s Apple Watch straps made from a variety of materials.

The Titanium band is gorgeous. It looks professional but also holds its own in a casual setting.

Their Sport Strap is made from silicon. It feels great and is a fantastic watch band for active times. I wore it daily all summer so I could use my Apple Watch to track my swimming.

Their Modern Strap is made from Horween leather. It gives the Apple Watch a classic look and feel. (Of course, that assumes you choose an appropriate watch face.)

The new Nomad Active Strap for Apple Watch has a bit of what makes each of those other bands great. It has a classic leather watchband and appearance, it is appropriate in both professional and casual settings, and, because it is waterproof, it is great for periods of activity too.

“But wait,” you say, “this band carries the moniker Active Leather but its also waterproof? How does that work?”

It’s really quite simple. Magic!

Actually, it might seem like magic, but it’s really the result of Nomad’s ingenuity and constant desire to make great products that people will actually use.

The band is available in your choice of black or mocha leather and either black or silver hardware. At $69.95, the bands sit in the middle of Nomad’s price range.

As the company explains, they took the design of their excellent Modern Strap but, instead of using Horween leather in its construction, opted for a special Heinen leather.

Active Strap left. Modern Strap right.

Sourced from Germany, Heinen leather is waterproof and able to endure heavy, daily use. Leather is described as “naturally tanned hydrophobic Heinen leather.” That means it looks great but is naturally waterproof. Paired with 316 stainless steel hardware, this band looks refined but is ready for just about anything.

Breathable Active Design: No matter how tough your workout, simply rinse with water and your Active Strap is ready for a night out. We’ve designed Active Strap with ventilation channels on the underside where water and sweat would normally get trapped. Don’t be afraid to get Active Strap wet.

Nomad wasn’t satisfied with simply using a waterproof leather, however. To add to its comfort and ability to quickly dry after being immersed, Nomad built ventilation channels into the underside of the band. You don’t see the channels when wearing the band but they do add to its comfort, flexibility and drying abilities. The result is a watchband that is “designed for heavy everyday use” and it’s “formal enough for any night out.”

The Active Strap band:

  • Is compatible with all 44mm / 42mm models/versions of Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5
  • Is designed for wrist sizes ranging from 150mm to 210mm so “one size fits most”
  • Measures 81mm length (buckle side) and 118mm length (adjustment side)

But how, you might wonder, does this leather differ from other leather Nomad employs in their products? As they explain:

The leather we use in Active Strap is provided by Heinen, a German tannery established in 1891. Heinen’s special tanning process make this leather extremely water resistant and durable, perfect for athletic and outdoor applications. While other leather is sprayed with a water-resistant coating that wears off over time, Heinen leather is thoroughly infused with natural lipids that should never wear out.

Interestingly, while the bands made from Horween leather look like leather, when you first see the Active Leather band you might think it is “synthetic leather” (i.e., plastic). It’s not but the smooth surface is unlike any leather I’ve seen and could be a bit confusing.

They go on to say:

We built this strap for your most active pursuits. Saltwater, sweat, dirt, and sand; this strap handles it all. A high-tech tanning process developed in Germany infuses this leather with natural lipids creating a thoroughly hydrophobic strap that easily wipes clean.

As has been the case with previous Nomad straps I’ve reviewed, the bands employ custom lugs. Made through an injection molding process, the hardware is designed with a high tolerance fit and refined details that add to its looks and durability.

Workout to Night Out: A waterproof strap formal enough for an important meeting. Surf in the morning, head to the office, and then out with friends – all without having to change straps. Active Strap uses advanced materials to combine modern style with ultimate functionality.

After completing my review of the Nomad Titanium band it became my daily driver. When summer arrived I swapped it out for the Sport strap so I could swim but would reinstall the titanium band when we were going out. With the Active Strap, I no longer need to continually swap my bands. It looks profession when I’m dressed up but is casual and durable enough for everything else. We are heading on a cruise shortly and it’s the band I’ll be using. It will work just fine when we are at dinner, shows, or the casino, but I can also take it swimming without giving it a second thought.

The Nomad Active Strap looks great, feels comfortable and is ready for my next adventure. It’s. great band and, at under $70, is worth checking out whether you got a new Apple Watch over the holidays or are just looking for something new for the watch you already owned. Check it out here.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Nomad Active Strap for Apple Watch

What I Like: Looks great; Wide comparability; Comfortable; Channels keep your wrist comfortable and help the band dry quickly after getting wet; Waterproof; Looks great in professional settings and while snorkeling

What Needs Improvement: Waterproof leather is genuine leather but, initially, it might not look and feel like it

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.