If there’s one thing that makes us British, it’s the way we rush outdoors to beaches, parks and picnic spots at the first sign of good weather. And who can blame us – we’ve just put up with the British winter!

But while we might sometimes don the T-shirt and shorts a little too early, there’s no question that the change in weather brings about a change in our wardrobes. One thing many people don’t consider is that the warmer months also call for a change in your watch strap. The activities you might start doing, as well as the way our bodies and the different materials used for watch straps react to heat make some watch straps far more suited to the summer months than others. Making the switch can mean you get to keep wearing your favourite timepiece while staying comfortable in the heat. (And you get a great new look to boot!)

Here we’ll take a look at the types of watch straps that will help keep you comfortable – and stylish – through the summer months.

The science of summer

The heat of summer has a few noticeable effects on the body, which will in turn affect your choice of watch strap. Firstly, and most recognisably, most of us will sweat more in the heat, as our body naturally tries to cool us down. This can make some types of watch straps feel uncomfortable, as they tend to absorb the sweat, which can in turn cause discomfort, rashes, and quite possibly an unpleasant smell as well. The worst offender here is leather, so we’d recommend keeping your favourite leather straps reserved for evening occasions rather than taking it out in the heat of the day. We know, we know. We love our leather watch straps too. But trust us, it’s better for everyone this way!

A second, and perhaps less well-known effect of heat on the body is that it actually expands our skin, meaning that extremities such as feet and toes, fingers and – you guessed it – our wrists, become larger. This makes another favourite watch strap material of ours – metal – a less attractive option during the summer months. Metal’s natural rigidity means that as your skin expands, it won’t, which can result in discomfort as your skin presses into the strap. As much as you love that metal look, opting for a material with more flexibility might give you a comfortable wear. (Keep reading for a way around this).

OK – so we’ve covered which watch straps you should be putting in the drawer for the summer months. But what to replace them with? Here are a few of our favourite suggestions, based on what you might be getting up to over the summer.

Just add water

Whether you’re having a dip in the sea or a lake (it’s lovely once you’re in!) or just playing with the kids in the paddling pool, chances are water will feature during your summer activities. But spontaneous swims or water fights become a whole lot less fun if you’ve got to stop to take off your strap every time you think you might get wet. (Leather – we’re looking at you again.) So to let the good times roll, look for materials that are either completely waterproof, or quick drying.

A few suggestions would be:

The ZULUDIVER Vintage Tropical Style Rubber Watch Strap

The ZULUDIVER Vintage Tropical Style Rubber Watch Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Who says you can’t still look stylish while having fun at the beach? One of our most popular models, this strap takes its inspiration from some classic watch strap designs from the 60s and 70s that paired up with luxury Swiss brands like Rolex and Tudor. The high quality rubber will bear up to anything the salt water and hot sun can throw at it, while the perforations give it breathability, making it equally suitable for a casual day at the beach as it is to serious dive expeditions. What’s more, the rubber has a good amount of flex in it, meaning it stays a good fit to your wrist, whatever the temperature might be. One of our best sellers, and for good reason!

The ZULUDIVER 300 MKII Italian Rubber

The ZULUDIVER 300 MKII Italian Rubber Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Another bestseller from our ZULUDIVER range, but with an altogether more modern look than the Tropical, this strap is perfectly suited for everything from athletics, to watersports, to casual wear. Resistant to UV and salt water, it has been made with high quality rubber from the Italian manufacturer Bonetto Cinturini (supplier to many luxury brands as well).

As you’ve probably guessed by now, rubber makes a great choice for getting out and about over summer – we’ve got an extensive range of rubber watch straps on our store here – come in and have a browse!

ZULUDIVER 141 Nato

Zenith on ZULUDIVER 141 NATO strap - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

If rubber doesn’t appeal, then another great option for summer is Nylon. Breathable and flexible, this makes a great replacement for leather when the weather starts to warm up. While not completely water resistant, it is extremely quick drying, so equally suited to diving and swimming as rubber. One such example is the 141 NATO Strap, a long time favourite from our range. Inspired by the strap that was developed by the Ministry of Defence for British soldiers in the 70s, it combines understated style with proven resilience.

The great outdoors

If your summers involve serious action, then you’ll want a watchstrap that can withstand whatever life throws at it. We’ve already looked at one watch from our NATO range, but other materials are available as well, and just as tough.

The ZULUDIVER NATO Canvas

Sinn on Canvas Watch Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Think canvas, think camping out under the stars or the flap of a sail in the wind. Both undeniably sounds of summer, which is why this addition to our ZULUDIVER range makes such a good choice for summer. It’s tough enough to cope with whatever summer adventures you might be heading off on, but is lighter than others in the range as it does not have the additional material behind the case. A perfect strap for the warmer months.

If you like the sound of a tough NATO strap for summer, browse our full range of NATO watch straps here.

Summer loving

Get to a certain age and it seems like every other weekend during the summer months you’ll be off to a wedding. And why not – there’s nothing quite like a summer ceremony (when the weather plays ball at least). But if the dress code is formal – or indeed if you just want to look your best on a summer evening out - some of the options we’ve suggested above might feel a little too casual. So here’s our favourite hack for looking smart while staying comfortable in the heat of summer: Mesh metal straps. These are light, breathable and thanks to the mesh, have enough flex in them to stay comfortable as your skin expands.

Stainless Steel Fine Milanese

Yema Superman on Classic Milanese Mesh Watch Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Fine mesh makes for an extremely comfortable wear as it is breathable with a light feel and a high degree of flexibility. As well as being light and extremely stylish, this strap is easy to adjust with nothing more than a flat head screwdriver, so will adapt to different temperatures. Many people change their watch for summer, opting for a smaller, slimmer case, and this strap is particularly well-suited to that. If you prefer something a little chunkier, the Classic Style Milanase Mesh strap is a good option, and will fit well with larger watches. Or, for an even more robust feel... keep reading!

Genuine H Link Shark Mesh 316L Stainless Steel

Seiko SKX on H Shark Mesh Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

A striking look perfect for dressier occasions combines with some serious strength and endurance in this popular strap. The heavier feel of this strap makes it well suited to larger styles of watch, while the innovative H links mean the size can be adjusted.

Love the mesh look? We have a much larger range of great metal mesh watch straps here.

We hope this has given you a few ideas for straps that will help you keep wearing your favourite watches through the warmer months. We’ve got a whole lot more over on our store – browse our extensive range of watch straps here.