When we think about G-Shocks, what usually comes to mind is their ruggedness, functions and their overall hard-use looks. Straps are just a detail that most people don’t think much about. However, Casio has been really prolific when it comes to straps. They have produced quite a range of straps, with diverse materials and looks. And on the wrist, they feel worlds apart.
Resin is Casio’s “bread & butter”, the kind of strap that came on the first 5600 in the early 80’s and is the most common type still used today. The composition of the resin has changed, but the feel is the same all over these years. It’s tough and effective, and 99% of users find it very comfortable.
Here we have a composite strap: a central nylon mesh insert surrounded by a border of resin. Very nice on the wrist, won’t look bad with the years and possibly (probably?) more tear resistant then a plain resin strap. Unfortunately it’s been quite a while since Casio released a model with this kind of strap.
Faux leather with fine nylon
Another composite strap, but in this case it’s a more rugged faux leather with a very fine nylon mesh underneath. That makes it more malleable and therefor easier on the wrist, but as always the case with faux leather, it may crack with constant use.
Faux leather with coarse nylon
This is basically the same kind of strap as the previous one, but with a more coarse mesh of nylon over the faux leather. Not as nice on the wrist, though, because of the stiffer nylon mesh.
Casio also released some models with a full nylon strap. The strap is very malleable, so it’s very comfortable to wear. But it has two issues; it’s hot, and since it’s composed of in reality two straps one over the other, it makes the watch head sit very high, making the watch impractical to wear with long sleeves. Compare the height of the DW-8800 with the picture of the GW-5610 and you’ll notice the big difference. Casio also offers some nylon straps with just one single strap, so probably for those models the height on the wrist would not be an issue.
This is an unique strap because it’s only found on the GW-5000. Think of a resin strap that is quite softer and with a soft rubber feel to it. Without a doubt it’s one of the most comfortable straps ever issued by Casio, to the point that the GW-5000 has achieved grail status to many collectors.
Carbon fiber insert
This selection is definitively NOT all that Casio has to offer in terms of straps, but I’m pretty sure it covers most of the options you will find among the myriad of G-Shocks released. Is there such a thing as “the best strap”? I don’t think so, that would depend on personal preferences and intended use, but there are some models that have advantages and of course, disadvantages.
I particularly love the feel of the rubber resin of the GW-5000, but the Rangeman, with its carbon fiber insert, would be the one I would pick for rough use because of overall comfort and resistance.
Choosing a model is a totally personal decision, but if you’re going to choose a G-Shock that comes with a strap that is not the bread & butter resin kind, DON’T base your decision on looks alone. The strap makes or breaks the watch, so strap the watch on your wrist before making your mind on the model. Just look at the GT-003: I think it looks really nice, but it does not feel great on the wrist.
The G-Shock was made to be worn, so be certain to choose one that will feel good on your wrist.