Budget Runner: Replacement Garmin Watch Band

I love my Garmin 235 running watch. I've been using it for all of my runs since December 2016. I've got a simple black one.

I decided to try out a replacement Garmin wrist band from AliExpress, a Chinese online retail service known for selling merch at low prices.

Order & Shipment
I purchased the "Black Flower" design from the "FlySerina Store". I placed my order on May 29th, 2019. I received my band, shipped straight from China, in a small padded envelope. It arrived on June 21st, 2019.

Price
Although you can find unique merchandise on AliExpress, the main reason I purchased my watch band here was for the low price. Prices on AliExpress tend to fluctuate; I paid $3.17 for the watchband, with free shipping. Note that sometimes ordering through the mobile app gives better pricing than via the desktop interface. I usually do my shopping on a computer and fill my cart from there. I can login via the app on my phone and compare the total price between the two before placing my order.

Replacing the Band
The replacement came with a couple of mini screwdrivers to remove the hardware from the watch in order to make the switch. You're dealing with a very small screw going into the holding pin but it's not too hard to remove and replace the bands. The replacement band didn't come with any instructions but the process is easy to figure out. It's a good idea to do the change over a table or tray since there's a chance you might accidentally drop the tiny screw or pin as you're working on it.


Product Review
The replacement band is much more supple than my standard issue band. It bends naturally around my wrist without having to be "broken in". My RoadID fits on the new band perfectly. I like having the pattern on the band. It adds a bit of flair without being too flashy. I've been using the new watchband for about a month and I don't see any signs of wear and tear at all. It seems pretty solid. I was able to give my old watchband a good cleaning, which was needed. Since there was nothing wrong with it, I saved it so I can use it again.


Recommendation
I am very happy with this purchase and I will probably look to buy other replacement Garmin watch bands on AliExpress in the future. Recommended.

Update 4/6/21
I used the above band for about a year and a half. During the summer, after about a year of use, I noticed that some of the design was starting to wear off of the band around the buckle. The silicone strap and plastic hardware were still in excellent condition so I didn't see an urgent need to replace it. Last fall I ordered a couple of different pattern bands and in January I finally replaced the band featured in this post. Mechanically it was working fine and the wear on the pattern was barely noticeable. I mostly replaced it just to have something new. Still recommended!

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