Popular Wristband Materials and Their Uses


When you think of the word wristband, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the athletic kind, made from elastic and towel-like fabrics. However, a wristband has become more than just a sporting accessory. Over the years, they have been used as souvenirs, awareness and promotional materials, logistics solutions, and even as official merchandise for different companies and organizations.

Here are some of the most common kinds of wristbands in the market and how they can be used for different purposes.


Silicone wristbands, also known as baller bands or gel bracelets, are arguably the most popular kind of wristbands in the market. They have been around since the 1980s and gained widespread popularity in 2004 with Lance Armstrong’s “Livestrong” brand.

Despite their rather sporty background, silicone wristbands have also been used as fashion accessories especially since they can be customized in different styles, colors, and thicknesses. What’s more, silicone wristbands are also affordable, durable, environment friendly, and easy to wear, making them an ideal accessory to promote different causes. Other popular uses for silicone wristbands include security and identification badges, event giveaways, and fundraising materials.

Fabric or Cloth

Fabric wristbands are usually made with the same cloths used to make lanyards. These wristbands come with either a plastic barrel, loop locks, metal or plastic clips, or ring attachments as fastening mechanisms. Their durability and comfort factor makes them ideal for multi-day events and festivals like Coachella. Because they are washable, fabric wristbands are also long-wearing and can be used even beyond the occasion they were meant for – the trick is to create a design that’s a balance between brand promotion and stylishness.

There are also terrycloth wristbands, also called sweatbands, which are used to wipe the sweat from the forehead during sports activities. Most fabric wristbands are usually branded with an athletic company’s logo, which helps make them a fashion statement or a “badge” of sorts, although they can also be customized to show different icons and messages.

Vinyl and Plastic

Wristbands made of vinyl or plastic are non-transferrable, due to a locking clasp that can be opened only by breaking the lock or cutting the bracelet itself. Plastic and vinyl are also waterproof materials, so if you’re organizing events in water parks, swimming pools, or at the beach, then these are the perfect option to monitor the crowd.

Vinyl and plastic wristbands can also be manufactured with extremely vibrant colors, which make them appealing to kids and young teens. More recently, glow in the dark vinyl and plastic wristbands have also been cropping up in nighttime events. If you’re looking to add a more unique touch, there are also translucent varieties these wristbands.


Tyvek is a paper-like composite material manufactured by DuPont, the same company that developed Teflon, Lycra, Kevlar, neoprene, and other polymers. Tyvek is made from polyethylene plastic fibers, making them lightweight, tear-resistant, and waterproof. Wristbands made from Tyvek are often seen in theme parks, concerts, fun runs, and other one-day only as a tamper-proof ID badge because, similar to vinyl or plastic wristbands, they have to be destroyed to be removed.

The kind of wristband you need depends on the event or the cause that you’re supporting – if you’re supporting an environmental organization, you probably don’t want to use a disposable wristband – as well as your intended use for the wristband (i.e. security badge, memorabilia, fund raising items). One thing is for sure: a wristband maybe small, but its potential is enormous.