Pela Apple Watch band review: A sleek, eco-friendly strap with unique lugs

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Pela’s environmentally responsible Apple Watch bands are a sleek, stylish, and comfortable way to outfit your wrist while also not bringing any undue harm to our planet.

Cases are one of the most environmentally damaging aspects of the smartphone industry. Many users will go through multiple cases during the lifespan of the phone, and while a lot of the phone’s components can be recycled (or handed down), and there are various programs to facilitate this, it’s not quite the same for cases.

For the often-used accessory, many cases end up discarded instead of recycled or disposed of in an ecologically-friendly way.

An environmentally friendly solution

That’s where Pela started, by making iPhone cases out of a more eco friendly material. Now that trend has caught on, and many phone case manufacturers have done the same.

The material Pela uses is called Flaxstic, which is made of a bioplastic elastomer and flax straw. The flax straw has natural shock-absorbing properties and is usually burned because it takes too long to break down in farmer’s fields.

By utilizing this along with bioplastics, Pela is able to make strong cases with a unique look that doesn’t hurt the environment.

When they’ve run their course, the cases are fully compostable and can break down into their natural components. This same material — Flaxstic — is used in the Apple Watch bands as well.

Each band has a vivid color, is very smooth and comfortable to wear, and no two are exactly alike.

Underside of the Pela Apple Watch strap

Underside of the Pela Apple Watch strap

When your band ships from Pela, it arrives without the lugs installed. It’s the same with the metal button that holds it closed.

Pela designed the band so that the metal parts could be easily removed and recycled separately or reused on your new product. The button pops in and out, and we’ll have more on the lugs in just a moment.

There is a small Pela logo on the mold of the band and it has a similar clasp to Apple’s Sport Band. It wraps around your wrist, and the tongue end goes through the other. When you have it at the right tightness, the pin locks it into place so it won’t come free.

We’ve been wearing the band and found the Flaxstic material extremely comfortable for extended wear, and the clasp is flat and doesn’t dig into our wrists.

The band comes in multiple colors, including the Canary Yellow that we picked up alongside Stormy Blue, Clay, black, lavender, Teddy Brown, and Forest Floor. There are two sizes of the band to fit both sizes of Apple’s wrist-worn computer.

Lovely, lovely lugs

We wholeheartedly appreciate the eco-friendly aspect of the Pela watch band, but as true Apple nerds, we were also incredibly impressed by something far more simple — the lugs.

Sure, most people won’t pay them any attention, but Pela did something different and so Apple-esque with these lugs, we felt they should be lauded.

As we mentioned, the lugs don’t come preinstalled on your band, leaving users to install them themselves. Any normal Apple Watch lug will connect in one of two ways.

We see typical watch style spring-loaded pins holding the lugs to the straps. These often require a special tool to pull the pins from the holes on the lugs to free them. Not an easy task.

The other style of lugs are what Apple uses, which employ tiny screws to hold the arms of the lugs to the part that goes in the watch. When you remove the screws, the arm can come free and slide out of the lug.

These are easy enough to remove, but require a tiny screwdriver.

There are other lug styles out there, but those are the most prevalent. Then we have what Pela pulled off.

First remove the Pela band, rotate the arm of the lug, then slide it out of the band.

First remove the Pela band, rotate the arm of the lug, then slide it out of the band.”

Pela’s lugs come in two parts. These cast metal pieces slot together and hold very securely when connected to your watch, but as soon as you remove them, they slide apart and allow the band to come free without any issue.

You can see the process in the photo above, which is quite impressive. Users have no issues installing the lugs, and they can be reused with other bands you may have.

Unfortunately, the lugs only come in polished silver, which means they don’t match all of the various colors of Apple Watch. That said, it blends in well enough with the silver aluminum and both colors of stainless steel.

Should you buy

Frankly, the only reason not to consider the Pela straps is purely your style. The band itself is wonderful with great colors, plenty of comfort, and a secure clasp. On its own merits, this band deserves a spot on your wrist.

The Pela Apple Watch strap

The Pela Apple Watch strap

The environmental aspect is another reason altogether. It ships to you with extremely minimal packaging, is entirely compostable after use, and has no BPAs or plastics in its build.

As a company, Apple has put a lot of effort into making the organization carbon neutral and has reduced plastic use and made the packaging more compact and less wasteful. Many of Apple’s customers feel similarly and plan their own purchases to have like values.

Pela’s doing great things with its products and makes us feel even better about buying its gear.

  • Eco-friendly design made of natural components
  • Entirely compostable
  • Lugs and clasp are easily removed without tools
  • Lugs have unique design to be reused with almost any other band
  • Lovely color choices
  • Minimal packaging
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Affordable
  • Lugs only available in polished silver

Rating: 5 out of 5

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