For runners: The lightest possible Apple Watch / Apple Band combo

With the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition, the specific combinations currently seen on Apple’s website are pre-stocked combos for launch.

However, you will be able to custom-build the exact Watch/Band combinations you desire.

For athletes like runners, cyclists, etc. weight is definitely a consideration, so we’ve figured out the lightest possible Watch / Apple Band combo.

It’s the Apple Watch Sport (25g for 38mm, 30g for 42mm) with Black Classic Buckle (leather, stainless) (16g for 38mm, 19g for 42mm).

Total weights:
• 38mm Apple Watch Sport (25g) with Black Classic Buckle (16g): 41g
• 42mm Apple Watch Sport (30g) with Black Classic Buckle (19g): 49g

42mm Apple Watch Sport (30g) with Black Classic Buckle (19g): 49g
42mm Apple Watch Sport (30g) with Black Classic Buckle (19g): 49g

The Apple Watch Sport costs $349/$399 (38mm/42mm) and the Black Classic Buckle costs $149 for both sizes, so the lightest possible possible Watch / Apple strap/band combo costs $498 in 38mm (41g total) or $548 in 42mm (49g total).

Of course, the leather would absorb sweat and also discolor over time whereas the fluoroelastomer would not, so let’s look at that combo:

Band weights for the fluoroelastomer Sport Bands actually vary by color with Black being the lightest (38mm/42mm):
• 47g/51g – White
• 44g/48g – Blue
• 43g/48g – Green
• 42g/46g – Pink
• 37g/40g – Black

42mm Apple Watch Sport in Silver with the 42mm Black Sport Band with Space Gray Stainless Steel Pin - 70g total
42mm Apple Watch Sport in Silver with the 42mm Black Sport Band with Space Gray Stainless Steel Pin – 70g total
Now, choosing the fluoroelastomer Sport Band saves $149 and offers a material impervious to sweat, but there’s a tradeoff in weight gain.

As runners (who also like to have a bit of uniqueness), we’re leaning towards either one of the following custom configs:
• 62g total – 38mm Apple Watch Sport in Silver with the 38mm Black Sport Band or the 38mm Black Sport Band with Space Gray Stainless Steel Pin ($349 + $49 = $398 total)
• 70g total – 42mm Apple Watch Sport in Silver with the 42mm Black Sport Band or the 38mm Black Sport Band with Space Gray Stainless Steel Pin ($399 + $49 = $448 total)

To save $49, go with the stock launch configs:
• 62g total – 38mm Apple Watch Sport in Space Gray with 38mm Black Sport Band ($349)
• 70g total – 42mm Apple Watch Sport in Space Gray with 42mm Black Sport Band ($399)

Remember, third-party bands for Apple Watch are likely to proliferate like rabbits, so expect to see some ultralight specialty bands for your Watch in the not too distant future.

Happy running!

UPDATE: 10:30pm EDT: Corrected the weight total for the 42mm Apple Watch Sport (30g) with Black Classic Buckle (19g). Thanks, reesmaxwell.


  1. I can’t wait for the Apple watch.
    I have previously purchased a number of heart rate monitors that needed a band around the chest which for me was very uncomfortable.

    1. No. Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor and accelerometer work on their own. The Watch’s native Workout app can track different kinds of workouts that don’t require GPS. All of that information can later be synced with your phone if you exercise without it. The Watch also has up to 2GB for storing music and podcasts.

      So, are you a troll or just a typical ignoramus?

      1. Are you an ignoramus??? Accelerometers do not do a great job of tracking distance, especially when you are on trails. So anyone that bikes or runs will need to carry the phone for the gps info, which is needed to track effectively. Oh yeah, the watch does not have a barometer either so if you want reasonably accurate elevation information you will need the phone for that too. Think I will stick to my Suunto for now, it does not require that I carry my iPhone6 plus everywhere I run or bike!

          1. Sweet! I like you Regular Reader. You are not rude and back up your posts with fact (the link at least, no way of verifying your Ironman claim.) Nice job.

            To “I exercise” – chill.

  2. Watch ( 🙂 ) all that running. I was a reasonably competitive middle distance runner from around 14 years old to my mid 50’s. Now, like nearly every long term runner my age, my knees, feet and lower back are shot from those millions of impacts. The only people I see running who are my age (mid 60’s), came to running late and haven’t done the damage yet. But they will.

    1. Technique has a lot do with that… Since changing to a mid-foot strike a few years ago, my running-related pain is mostly gone. Like a lot (maybe most) runners, I previously ran using a heel-strike, which is like a modified form of walking. It’s why most running shoes have a wide heel area with plenty of cushioning.

      With a mid-foot strike, I land on the widest part of the foot, which distributes the force of impact better. Also, muscles absorb more of the impact force (like a rubber band), not the joints. Think about running bare-foot in loose sand; that’s a mid-foot strike.

      It took about one year to fully transition, and run efficiently. Calf muscles take more strain. A good place to start is when running uphill. The only time I still do a heel-strike is when it’s a steep downhill.

      I now use a more “minimalist” shoe, which is flatter and lighter (better suited for a mid-foot strike). Another significant benefit is that my running speed (pace) and cadence (steps per minute) have improved noticeably.

      1. The opposite approach is massive cushioning popularized by Hoka. Some runners I know swear by them and some don’t like them. Some say that it has really solved their injury problems but they look like clown shoes. I would give them a try if they ever came out with 4EEE shoes. A lot of runners don’t do much or any core strength work as it’s all about getting in the miles and that can contribute to injuries.

        1. Moving from rather excellent Mizuno Wave Runners for years to Adidas Boost made so much improvement, I can hardly describe it. I tell every runner I meet who complains of leg injuries or pain: Try a pair of Adidas Boost running shoes.

          1. It’s an impressive line. It looks like they beefed up the cushioning and reduced the drop to accommodate mid-foot strikers. I have only used New Balance shoes because they come in 4E. Haven’t worn anything else in ages and waiting for more shoe companies to make more wide shoes but most vendors ignore this market. Adidas and Nike run narrow in my experience.

      2. Shoes are critical. I went to a dedicated running shop that did a full measurement on my feet and had me try on several shoes. They watched me run up and down the street to see how I ran. We settled on Adidas shoes.
        The reason I went to the shop was that I was having issues with several pairs of shoes whilst training for a marathon. I seriously doubted I would be able to complete the race without blisters or injury.
        I got the new shoes a week before the race. It was a bit a risk but the other shoes were giving me such grief so I decided to run in them.
        For the first time ever I had no reaction to the distance and since then have used the same model for over 10 years. Not one blister since and injuries minimal.

    2. I am 58 years old and run ultra marathons typically 50 mi to 100 or 120 mile distances. My back, knees and feet are fine. I am a mid striker as well. Soo, I am not sure all that applies. I agree if I ran roads I would likely have issues. I stick solely to the trails.

  3. Nicely done video but there are problems, at least from a runner’s perspective. They said that you could record your distance but they showed a cyclist at that moment. They showed two female runners without much clothing and I didn’t see anyplace with phones (armband is usual). They might have been using a Nike footpod to measure distance but that’s relatively inaccurate because your stride isn’t consistent.

    I would still stick with my Garmin Forerunner – it can track more motions (with the chest strap), and can give you your exact route with elevation, heartrate and mileage. You can upload to the cloud to share your route and results or keep it private and you don’t have to carry a phone with you.

    The regular GPS running watches are fairly heavy because GPS uses a lot of power – I don’t think that weight is really a factor. If you participate in races with a lot of people, you’ll see and hear them setting their GPS Watches at the start of the race so that they can see their progress through the race compared with the distance markers.

    The Forerunner has a few additional sensors on the chest strap so that it can track your movement information, upload it and then analyze your stride and make recommendations.

    That’s a dedicated device vs a general-purpose device. I think that recreational runners doing 30+ miles per week would probably prefer a dedicated runners watch over the Apple Watch unless they’re going to bring their phone with them.

    TIme to stop talking about running and go out and run.

  4. Interesting. I have a Seiko dive watch I currently use when running. It’s 101g (just checked online) so even the 42mm sport band version at 70g sounds really light and easy to run with. I for one am happy with the weights listed!

  5. Amazon is already listing all types of Watch bands and charging stands will be next a discount to prices.

    I predict the bands and watch charging stands will be another cottage industry that expands greatly as the watch takes hold………

  6. The lightest model is the best model. It’s a happy coincidence that it’s also the least expensive:
    • 70g total – 42mm Space Gray WATCH SPORT with 42mm Black Sport Band $399 plus AppleCare+ $79 and sales tax. So I figure just over $500 💵 each. Minus $50 for the smaller 38mm model. 💰😃

  7. What a bizarre article. What sort of a runner would want a watch – any watch – with a leather band? It’d be rancid from sweat within a few runs.

    Also, it’s ignoring the elephant in the room. You also have to have your iPhone with you for GPS tracking – which yes, you can do without and the watch will still log data. But then if you’re serious about your running, you’d want it. So if you REALLY want to keep the weight down (and unless you’re ultra-elite, 8g or so really makes no discernable difference) you wouldn’t be using any smartwatch/phone combo. You’d have a professional running GPS watch.

    They can’t have it both ways – either the runner is going to go for the very best, which wouldn’t be an apple watch/phone combo anyway, or they’re not going to be that fussed in which case a few grams of lightness doesn’t matter anyway and people who want it should go for the cheapest and most run-friendly option.

    1. In general, running watches that I’ve seen have synthetic bands made out of plastic-type materials or cloth-like (nylon). My daily watch is currently an Ironman with a FastWrap Nylon/Velcro band and it’s soft and absorbent. Good to use in a pinch for a run on an indoor track. My outdoors running watch is a professional model as you state. I think that more serious runners will stick with their professional watches. That doesn’t mean that they can’t have an Apple Watch as well but it won’t be for tracking their outdoor runs.

  8. This discussion reminds me of when the iPhone first came out – there were concerns over cut/paste, keyboard, enterprise, etc… Over time the hardware and software evolved to meet the majority of user needs. I suspect it will be the same for the Apple Watch.

    The runner that was featured in the Keynote (name escapes me), she was running with an iPhone as well, wasn’t she?

    1. Turlington wore her iPhone on an armband for her marathon training. I personally hate armbands because they are typically made from Neoprene and they get soaked with sweat and take a while to dry out. The Neoprene can get warm too.

      I can’t imagine wearing an armband with a phone when doing interval sprints on a track as the stresses on your body are pretty big.

      I have never seen anyone with a phone and an armband at a race though I’m sure that it does happen just because there are so many runners out there. Perhaps the model is that you train with an iPhone on your arm but don’t wear it for the actual race. I think that the dedicated running device would win hands down.

      Pull up images of marathon starting lines from Google and look at what they’re wearing.

    2. During the actual race (half-marathon actually), she was not wearing the armband. She had a front pouch but I don’t think that the phone was in it – it might have been carrying gel packs. She said that the phone tracked distance and some other stuff but that could be with a foot pod.

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