People have been wearing rings to signify their married status for generations, and in all that time the basic design (round, shiny) and composition (precious metal) of those rings has remained largely unchanged. So it’s striking that a new kind of wedding band made of silicone, a human-made material best known for its application in products like sealing caulk, breast implants, and ice cube trays, is suddenly en vogue.
Silicone wedding bands are ascendant because they offer numerous advantages over traditional rings made of precious metals. Namely, they’re less expensive and safer to wear during intensive activities. If you’re married, you can use a silicone band as a replacement for or supplement to the wedding band you already have, assuming that you’re the kind of guy who wants to be wearing his wedding band 24/7 (more on that later).
The popularity of silicone wedding rings and the relative ease of adapting a stalwart industrial material into a simple form means the marketplace is flooded with different options. But all are not created equal, and the silicone wedding band you should buy depends on why exactly you want one in the first place.
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What the Experts Say
Two of the industries most affected by the rise of silicone rings are jewelry and, given their popularity among athletes, fitness. On the jewelry side of things, Gunnar Gustafson of Element Ring Company says that silicone rings solved a longstanding problem.
“Traditional wedding rings have been made of metal or other solid materials, but this has always posed an issue for those with very active lifestyles and those who work extensively with their hands,” he says. Gustafson says that among those who love silicone rings are electricians who need a non-conductive ring for safety and climbers who want a ring that won’t get snagged on a rock, risking a particularly gnarly avulsion injury.
The gym is also home to plenty of equipment that can pose a safety hazard when operated by someone with a traditional ring. Tom Eskey, a personal trainer and founder of Garage Gym Revisited, says he was initially skeptical but came to see why metal rings were risky for any exercise involving hands.
“The metal ring scrapes against the barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc., making it more difficult to properly grip. This can result in anything from a minor inconvenience to a major problem,” he says, citing the safety risk of losing grip on a barbell hoisted above your head. And even if you don’t drop anything, “the force on the ring from the equipment causes it to dig into the finger, making for a very uncomfortable experience.
“When I wear a silicone ring, I honestly forget that it is even there. It does not impede my grip at all and absorbs the force of the barbell without digging into my finger,” he says. It’s not hard to see how everyone from construction workers to rowers to movers could appreciate these same aspects of silicone rings, and why their popularity among so many different kinds of workers and hobbyists is growing.
Groove Life Groove Ring
“Regardless of the logic of it, knowing your significant other is wearing a ring brings peace of mind and it provides a feeling of togetherness. It’s just how we’re wired as humans,” says Gustafson. If the idea of not wearing a wedding ring makes you or your spouse uneasy, a silicone ring is a simple, inexpensive way to ameliorate your concerns and ensure you continue to live in wedded bliss.
Unlike most other silicone rings, this option from Groove Life can be personalized with custom initial engraving, so it’s perfect for sentimental guys who can get their wife’s initials on their silicone ring the same way they would one made with precious metals. Customization aside, the eponymous inner grooves allow for airflow and a more comfortable fit.
ROQ Silicone Wedding Rings (4 Pack)
Unlike every other wedding ring material—precious metals, bone, fossilized wood, etc.—silicone is an elastic, high friction material. That means a silicone ring is less prone to falling off your finger. And even if it does, the relatively low price point for a silicone ring versus a traditional ring means that losing one, while perhaps still a sentimental bummer, isn’t nearly as bad of a financial hit.
A four-pack of these silicone wedding bands is less than $10, so losing one isn’t a big deal. And with a ton of colors to choose from—including multicolor multipacks—you can mix up your look in a way you couldn’t with just one ring.
Enso Elements Classic Silicone Ring
There are some men who are fond of dressing to stand out, be it with a loudly patterned shirt, flashy jewelry, intricate hairstyles, or sneakers that cost as much as a mortgage payment. A precious metal wedding band is a shiny and expensive object that suits their taste. A silicone wedding band, on the other hand, is neither shiny nor expensive. It’s plain and simple, which means it’s better suited to the unadorned man whose wardrobe isn’t part of a strategy for attention seeking.
These unique rings are made of silicone but infused with precious materials that give them a shine more like traditional options. Where many silicone rings are clearly differentiated in look and feel, Enso Elements do a better job of blending in with a more traditional look that still offers the benefits of a silicone option.
A 2021 study in the Journal of Hand Surgery concluded that the “significantly lower failure force” for silicone rings versus metal rings (i.e. the force needed to snap them off) meant their use “should be encouraged in professions where ring avulsion injuries are more likely.” That’s also a useful benefit in non-professional but still physically demanding settings like Crossfit gyms. It’s no wonder that silicone rings appear to be very popular with both heavy laborers and heavy exercisers, people whose active lives mean they don’t want to worry about scratching a metal ring, serious injury, or fretting over an expensive piece of jewelry getting lost. Reviewers say that the SafeRingz Titan feels sturdier than other brands, an observation likely rooted in its greater than average 9-mm width and composition of domestically sourced, medical-grade silicone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Silicone Rings
How tight should a silicone ring fit?
Silicone rings are sized the same way traditional rings are. You want one that fits snugly without cutting off circulation to your finger, though you should be aware that a small amount of stretching over time is possible.
When should I take off my silicone ring?
A silicone ring can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, including hand sanitizer and soap, but it can also trap sweat and grime in direct contact with your skin. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly remove your silicone ring to wash your hands and let your finger air out for a bit.
How do you clean a silicone ring?
Enso recommends a 2:1 combination of vinegar and carbon dioxide, boiling water, or a dishwasher cycle to keep their silicone rings clean, advice that’s applicable to other silicone rings, though you should definitely check with the manufacturer of your ring before cleaning it.
Can I get a silicone version of the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings?
You can, dark magic not included.