The Best Watch Straps for A Hot Summer

Wearing the wrong watch strap in the warmer months can be uncomfortable at best, and a sweaty mess.

Summer is the time to ditch your leather straps and opt for some ‘cooler’ options, both literally and figuratively.

Here are some of the best types of watch straps to wear in the hot summer weather.


The NATO is typically a rugged and tough, military style watch strap. 

It’s most regularly weaved from nylon and is comfortable, easily adjustable, and best of all, waterproof.

They’re made longer than most straps, originally made to be adjusted to fit over a large dive suit, but the excess fabric tucks back nicely.

The extra length means you can easily adjust the strap to any size, on the fly, even if your wrist swells up a bit in the heat.

Best of all, it doesn’t require any additional tools to adjust, as a metal bracelet would.

It also has the added benefit of weaving through both of your spring bars (the little bar that holds your straps in place, on the top and bottom of your watch. 

This means, that if one of them were to somehow fly off, your watch would still hang on your wrist. Very helpful when swimming, or doing any other physical activity. 


Next up is a slightly ‘classier’ option for the summer.

A perlon strap is weaved from well… A material called perlon.

Like a nylon NATO strap, it’s light, breathable, waterproof, and comfortable. 

It also doesn’t have set adjustment holes, you can adjust it to literally any size, to always get the perfect fit for your wrist.

They’re relatively inexpensive and come in a wide range of colors, so it’s a fun way to add some playfulness to your watch collection for the summer. 


Rubber straps are typically the go-to for divers and other watches you might wear swimming in the pool or at the beach.

They’re a little thicker and beefier than the previously mentioned perlon and nato straps that are weaved from fabrics.

The rubber strap is a bit more of a substantial option. 

Natural, vulcanized rubber straps will remain very breathable and comfortable and will wick away sweat, moisture, or any other water, great for swimming.

Be careful though, as some silicone watch straps are advertised as rubber, and won’t be as comfortable, or wick away sweat as easily. Artificial rubber (re: silicone) straps will also attract lots of lint and dust and overall are just something you generally want to avoid. 

I highly suggest you stick with natural (sometimes called ‘vulcanized’) rubber straps. My personal favorite is Bonetto Cinturini (Amazon), which uses natural vulcanized rubber and, in my opinion, some of the best-value rubber straps you can get.

Metal or Mesh Bracelets

The great thing about metal watch straps is they’re almost never out of place. 

They can work well when worn in a casual or formal dress environment, and are often durable, waterproof, and comfortable.

Though in the summer, you should consider giving your oyster bracelets a break and try bracelets with smaller metal weaves and links, such as mesh and jubilee. They’re just a tad more breathable and light, thanks to the addition of many smaller links instead of a few larger ones, allowing for more room between the links to allow the air to flow.

They also tend to be very durable overall, and while they may show scratches over time from heavy use, or physical activity, they also can be re-finished and brushed rather easily by most any proper jeweler or watchmaking professional, or even on your own if you have the patience.

Leather Rally Straps

I know, I know. I said no leather straps.

But this is different. Hear me out.

Leather rally straps are similar to regular leather straps, but with perforated holes that add to the breathability and comfort of the strap. 

They’re designed based on racing themes of the 60s and 70s, where holes were perforated into race cars, steering wheels, etc, to help make the car more aerodynamic, at least in theory.

It’s still a leather strap, though, so you want to avoid swimming in it, or getting it wet, and can still be uncomfortable in the middle of a hot summer day.

Leather rally straps are best reserved for a cool night out and can look really, really ‘cool’, paired with the right watch. 

Try it on a chronograph or vintage dive watch and let me know how you like it. 😉

Final Thoughts

As the weather gets hotter, it’s important to pick the right watch strap for the job.

NATO, perlon, rubber and steel watch straps will all keep you cool in the summer, while also being durable and waterproof for all the swimming and fun in the sun.

Leather rally straps are a good alternative for a cool night out to traditional leather watch straps, as the perforations will promote air ventilation and help keep you cool.

What’s your favorite strap when it’s hot out? Let me know in the comments below.

– Anthony

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