You may ask yourself, hey, the stock strap is just fine on my watch – why would I want something different? Or you might be tempted to find the best place to get 5 nylon straps for $8 on the internet, and call it a day. If you’re one of those two types of people, you’re missing out on a whole world of straps that can bring something fun to your watch, and at some surprisingly affordable price points. Today, we’ll have a look at three options from BluShark straps.

One of the great things about a more established strap company is that they’ll have a variety of options for you, including some that take an established design and mix it up. Take, for example, the padded strap. That’s something we commonly see with a leather strap, in which there’s a thin piece of padding put between the leather layers, making for a bumped up profile. Well, how about you take that a bit more casual – and rugged – and substitute in some cordura nylon? Yes, the same stuff that you likely have on at least one item in your home – be it a backpack, wallet, or some other EDC accessory.

Cordura nylon is tough, but BluShark elevates it with this padded strap treatment. The reverse side of it is leather-lined (for comfort against your wrist), and the overall look of the tight weave has a bit of a sheen, which makes it a dressier sort of a casual approach. It was by far the stiffest of the three straps I checked out from the brand, but it has a unique look in a material that will certainly stand up to what you might throw at it. These straps will run you $26 in either a 20mm or 22mm width (with quick-change spring bars), which then tapers 2mm to the stainless steel buckle.

Now, what if you want something casual and tough, but something a bit less bulked up than those cordura straps? Then I’d say the CanvaSoft 2.0 straps are your choice. Canvas, it’s well known, it goes with anything (particularly outdoors gear) and it lasts for a good long time. Canvas, however, can sometimes be a bit rougher than you might want to have against your skin. Not so with this strap – it is by far the softest canvas that I’ve felt. BluShark counters that with some solid stitching around the buckle tang holes, all in a strap that’s under 2mm thick to give a good balance between rough and tough and conforming easily to your wrist.

Frankly, I found this strap to be more versatile than the cordura one, but that could very well be due to what watches I was testing with (ok, it was just the one, the Michelsen Arctic Explorer) and my own sense of style. I guess padded straps aren’t just my thing, and I tend to want stuff that’s durable but still as compact and thin as it can be (sort of like the Arctic Explorer). Like the cordura, the CanvaSoft 2.0 is available in 20mm and 22mm widths (no taper on either) with a price of just $18.

What if, on the other hand, you find yourself wanting something even more flexbile, more breathable, and more, well, different? That’s where the BluShark Pajama Stretch strap comes in. I don’t know that I’d want a pair of pajamas made from this material, as a strap it’s super comfortable. I’ve become a fan of stretch being incorporated into other things (jeans with some stretch are a revelation), and it works just as well here in this nylon single-pass strap. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this is the perfect watch strap for summer.

I’m as surprised as anyone to hear myself making that claim, due to the fact that I’m not generally a fan of NATO-style (single or double pass) straps. I mean, I entertain them, as they can bring some great color and and “I don’t care what I’m doing in the outdoors” approach, but I normally don’t find myself keeping it on a watch more than a day, or maybe two, at a time. Wit the BluShark Pajama Stretch strap, it took up almost permanent residence on the Michelsen over the last month or so. It’s just that comfortable.

Think about it – in the summer time, you might be getting up to any manner of activities where water (swimming, rain, sweat) could be in the mix. A thinner textile like this will bring a quicker dry and breathability to the mix. Also in summer, if you’re like me, your wrist size can change over the course of the day. Have some stretch in there, and that’s no longer a concern. I was frankly surprised by just how much I really enjoyed this strap. This strap was the most expensive of the trio, and I felt it was worth every penny, just for the sheer comfort of it. If they ever have one that mixes some luminous thread in there, well, you can picture the Futurama meme and that’s how I’ll be.

We had gotten away from reviewing straps here a bit at WWR, as there was a lot of the same ol’ same ol’ coming out. Sure, we had our good standby favorites out there, and the custom makers are doing some awesome (if pricey) stuff as well. Now that we’ve taken a look at what BluShark has to offer, there’s definitely something different in the mix here that I’m sure will meet your needs. I’m telling you, best summer watch strap – ever.

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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