Groove Life Rings and Apple Watch Band Review: Groovy, Baby

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $35-50
Groove Life Apple Watch band and rings
Cameron Summerson

Silicone wedding bands have become increasingly popular over the last several years, as they’re more comfortable, safer, and more affordable than traditional rings made of precious metals. While there is no shortage of manufacturers to choose from, Groove Life is making some of the best silicone bands out there right now.

Here's What We Like

  • The grooves definitely help with airflow and moisture evaporation
  • Very comfortable

And What We Don't

  • The watch band may be pricey for what it offers

But you may be thinking, “Aren’t all silicone bands the same? Silicone is just silicone, right?” Of course, like so many other things in life, it’s not that simple. While I won’t get into Groove’s construction methods or specific materials, there’s an obvious feature that makes Groove’s products stand out from the rest of the pack: grooves.

As the company’s very name implies, its products feature grooves cut into the back (the skin-facing side) of its rings and watch bands. The idea here is that this allows airflow between the band and your skin, making the rings or watchbands more comfortable. Air gets in, moisture comes out. Pretty simple concept.

A closer look at the grooves on the inside of the Edge ring.
A closer look at the grooves on the inside of the Edge ring. Cameron Summerson

But you may be wondering if that’s really necessary. You’ve been wearing rings without grooves cut into them for years after all, right? Sure. But silicone doesn’t breathe, so a solid band can feel very “sticky” as you wear it (especially during workouts or other sweaty situations), which is uncomfortable. That’s the whole purpose of the grooves—to give the rings some airflow so they’re not as sticky or uncomfortable as you wear them.

Since silicone is a material that’s great for more than just rings, Groove also makes watch bands now, too. Specifically, bands for the Apple Watch. We’re going to look at both the rings and the bands today.

Groove Rings: Comfortable, Breathable, and All-Around Badass

Groove life rings in black, black and red, and red.
Cameron Summerson

I’ve worn several different brands of silicone rings over the years—from QALO to ROQ to cheap no-name rings. So when I got the chance to check out Groove, I was all in. Right out of the box it’s pretty clear that they have a more premium feel than some of the others out there, like ROQ. Don’t get me wrong, the ROQ rings I have are fine (especially for the price), but as soon as I popped the first Groove ring out of the case it was evident that it’s a superior product—they just feel “sturdier.”

But I also wanted to see if the grooves actually make a difference. If you’re looking for the long and short of it, the answer is yes. But Groove also offers a bunch of different ring styles, and I found that they’re not all the same—some breathe better than others.

I’ve been testing the Edge, Dimension Engraved, and Kryptek Camo rings for the last several weeks. While the Edge and Dimension Engraved rings feel very similar to each other, the Kryptek ring has a more rigid, almost plastic-y feel. Don’t take that the wrong way though—it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s just stiffer than the other rings, which are very pliable and soft. That’s worth considering if you’re used to other Groove rings and have been considering the Kryptek stuff.

Because the Kyrptek is a little more rigid than the others that I tested, it also seems to be a little more hot and sticky during workouts. Is it bothersome? Nah. Just something I noted when changing between the rings. It’s an easy adjustment though.

Which reminds me: if you want to buy a Groove ring, I recommend getting a few. Because after wearing the same ring for several days, it started to get oily and slippery feeling to me, which can be kind of annoying. Switching rings and letting the “oily” one air out seemed to do the trick, and it was good to go by the time the new ring started exhibiting issues. If you only want to buy one ring, though, you’ll probably need to pop it off and wash it with dish soap every few days. I’d also let it air-dry…just don’t forget to put it back on. That could be bad.

These rings are so affordable compared to traditional rings that buying a few different ones is really a no brainer anyway. Not only can you swap out if one starts feeling weird, but you can have different styles for different days.

Groove Apple Watch Band: Like the Rings, But for Your Wrist

The back of the Apple Watch band, showing the grooves
The Apple Watch band has grooves too. Cameron Summerson

If you’ve ever worn a smartwatch with a traditional silicone band, you know they can get uncomfortable at times. They’re sticky when it’s hot, lock moisture against your skin as you sweat, and can honestly just be sort of annoying in a lot of different situations. Like Groove’s rings, the company’s Apple Watch bands aim to fix these issues.

How, you ask? The same way it does with rings—with grooves. Yep, the watch bands also have grooves cut into the part of the band that faces the skin to allow for airflow and promote moisture wicking. I also found the particular silicone compound that Groove uses to be softer and more pliable than other bands, adding to the comfort.

In my experience, the bands perform as expected. The one I tested was very comfortable (compared to the stock Apple Watch band, anyway), and the grooves cut into the back prevented it from being overly sticky or uncomfortable while working out. There’s still a bit of the stickiness that you’d expect from silicone as you sweat, of course, but I did find it to be less than other, non-grooved bands. Groovy.

A closer look at the Apple Watch band's grooves
A closer look at the Apple Watch band’s grooves Cameron Summerson

Like with the rings, there are a bunch of different styles of Apple Watch bands to choose from, including camo, solid colors, textures, and more. So not only do they feel good, but you can grab one that matches your style, too.

But there’s also a bigger question here: are they really worth $50? The value presented by Groove’s rings is good, especially when compared to traditional rings. A ring made from precious metal can easily go for hundreds of dollars, where a Groove ring is around $35. Sure, cheap silicone rings exist too, but as I said earlier, the difference in quality is pretty clear with Groove’s rings.

I’m not sure I can say the same thing for the watch bands. They’re more comfortable and breathable than a regular silicone watch band, but you can buy regular silicone watch bands for ten bucks a pop all day long. Groove’s bands cost five times that, so you have to really ask yourself if a regular band is that much more uncomfortable.

The top of the Groove Apple Watch Band
A look at the top of the Dimension Topo Groove Apple Watch band Cameron Summerson

If regular silicone bothers you and you’re not into metal or fabric bands (I honestly hate those kinds of bands when working out, yuck), then you’ll almost certainly be happy with the increased comfort and breathability of Groove’s bands. But if you’re okay with the ten-dollar band you’ve been wearing for the last nine months, don’t expect a dramatic difference here—it’s marginal at best. But for some people, that may be worth it.

It’s also worth mentioning that Groove is currently working on bands for Fitbit, Garmin, and Samsung watches, too, which is perfect for those outside of the Apple ecosystem. Unfortunately, there’s no ETA on when these bands will be available. Hopefully soon.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $35-50

Here’s What We Like

  • The grooves definitely help with airflow and moisture evaporation
  • Very comfortable

And What We Don't

  • The watch band may be pricey for what it offers

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-to Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read Full Bio »

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