- 23 May 2017
The Pros and Cons of Leather Vs. Rubber Vs. Fabric Straps
With summer around the corner and more short sleeves and bathing suits being worn, it is a good time to address the issue of leather vs. rubber vs. fabric watch straps. While the decision about what type of strap to wear is typically a matter of personal preference, there are some factors that may influence your decision. These include climate, temperature, exposure to water and activity.
Leather straps are comfortable to wear and can be found in a variety of colors and textures. Leather ranges from calfskin, ostrich and stingray to crocodile, alligator, snake and more. Generally, leather straps are relatively easy to take care of in the right temperatures — often with just a wipe of a damp cloth and dish detergent. In severe heat and humidity, though, these straps tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.
Rubber straps are the perfect choice if you are a water person. Rubber weathers the elements beautifully: water doesn't bother it and it dries quickly without sticking to the wrist. Typically rubber doesn't fade or lose its luster. Many of today's top rubber straps feature embossed details or have tire treads or other motifs on them. Additionally, most are blends of polycarbonate and other materials that keep them from becoming dry or brittle.
Fabric straps come in all types and fabrics. Easily the most preferred fabric for outdoor use is a woven material typical of a NATO strap. Sometimes referred to as military straps, NATO straps have roots dating back to the early 1970s when British soldiers used nylon straps that were highly durable, could be easily cleaned and were not expensive to buy. NATO straps are easy to change and usually slip through the top lugs, pass over the case back and though the bottom lugs. The system acts as double security, too, because one need not worry about spring bars breaking or popping as with typical straps. They are very durable and highly functional, as they dry quickly, don’t stick to the wrist and are designed for extreme wear.