When my fiancé proposed to me, I was quite literally scared to wear my ring. It was so shiny, so sparkly, so stunning -- the last thing I wanted to do was scratch it up, get it dirty or, heaven forbid, lose a stone or the entire ring.
I know diamonds are among the hardiest of stones, but still, I was nervous. And because I exercise, go hiking and hit mountain bike trails so often, my opportunities to damage the ring -- or my finger -- are rather high.
You see the dilemma: I wanted to wear the ring, but I also didn't want to wear it during my favorite activities. How could I keep my left ring finger adorned without risking damage to the ring or injury to myself?
Fortunately, there's a super simple answer to that question. Silicone rings, which are durable yet pliable, provide a safe and inexpensive way to bling out your left hand even in the most rugged scenarios.
While fit is usually a 100% subjective measurement, I'm willing to argue that no matter your finger size or shape, Groove Life rings will probably fit you better than any other brand out there. The difference lies not in the shape or style of the ring, but in the grooves lasered into the inside of the silicone.
I noticed the difference immediately upon putting the Groove Life silicone ring on -- and the experience was reinforced when I took various Groove Life rings through a barrage of tough activities.
The textured inside produces a nonslip fit that feels snug but not tight. These silicone rings didn't twist around my finger at all through the duration of my testing, or if they did, I didn't notice one bit.
The bands of the styles I chose -- thin and stackable -- felt supple but strong and endured several mountain biking sessions, countless workouts and yard work. Through it all I felt safe and comfortable. In fact, most of the time, I felt like I wasn't wearing anything at all.
This especially struck me during a workout with deadlifts and pull-ups, two movements that require a good grip. The Groove Life rings didn't mess with my grip or performance at all, despite exercising outdoors in 80-degree weather and battling sweaty hands.
Qalo is probably the best-known brand in the silicone ring arena, popularized largely by the roster of professional athletes and celebrities who wear its rings. From a quick look at the website, you'll realize Qalo has tons of ring designs for men and women, including special styles for military and first responders.
I tried the classic ring in the QX2 material, which Qalo specifically designed for rugged durability. This ring held up phenomenally well during all the activities I took it through, including mountain biking, CrossFit workouts, weightlifting, gardening, furniture assembly and daily chores.
In addition to the classic QX2 ring, I tried a couple of stackable designs (braided and geo), as well as the modern style. Of all the Qalo designs I tried, the stackable rings proved the most comfortable. I think this is probably because they're thinner and therefore more pliable and less noticeable.
The thicker classic and modern Qalo rings were plenty comfortable, however. I particularly liked the flat silhouette of the modern design. It lays flatter against the finger, which makes it ideal for activities that require a strong grip, such as weightlifting.
I didn't really notice any of the Qalo rings on my finger after the first day or two of wearing them.
In addition to the swath of ring styles already available, you can completely customize a Qalo ring to your specifications. You can also build your own stack with a variety of styles.
The silicone rings I tried from SafeRingz struck me as the most durable by far. I tested the original and stackable styles and loved both. Even the thinner band on the SafeRingz stackable style felt sturdier than the thick bands from some other brands listed here.
I took the two SafeRingz styles through the same activities as the others -- CrossFit, weightlifting, mountain biking, yard work, daily chores and cleaning -- and not only did they hold up exceptionally well, but I felt extra safe knowing SafeRingz are designed to snap under immense pressure.
In other words, they're durable enough to stretch under low-risk pressure, but they won't endure pressure intense enough to injure your finger. This eliminates the risk of "degloving," a scenario I'll spare you the description of.
SafeRingz doesn't have as many options as Groove Life or Qalo, but the styles it does have are timeless and elegant. If you're looking for something attractive and highly durable, the SafeRingz original silicone ring is the way to go. For those with larger hands, try SafeRingz's titan style silicone ring.
The following three brands also have some great silicone rings in a variety of colors and styles. There isn't anything I didn't particularly like about these brands -- the rings held up just fine during my testing and they all fit comfortably -- they just didn't stand out to me in the way that Qalo, SafeRingz and Groove Life did.
Because this buying guide is based on my experience with the rings, it's largely subjective, so I want everyone to know about these other brands as well. One of them might be the best fit for you.
Enso Rings offers a multitude of silicone ring styles, including a birthstone collection and an elements collection that mimics the colors of precious metals. The Accent collection is a great option for anyone wanting something more groovy.
I tested several Enso silicone rings, including styles from the elements, bevel and ultralight collections. I didn't have any problems with any of the Enso products and I wouldn't hesitate to encourage anyone to buy from Enso if they were interested.
Enso Rings are more expensive than the other brands on this list. The company, however, backs all of its rings with a lifetime guarantee that covers stretching, fading and breaking, which you may feel is worth the higher price.
The Maui Rings I tried were comfortable for the most part, except for the edge of the band isn't rounded. This makes the rings feel a bit poky compared to the others. However, I think the exceptional pliability of these rings makes up for that. Plus, Maui Rings come in vibrant colors, which makes the stackable collections fun to wear.
ROQ has a large selection of silicone rings for men and women with styles ranging from simple to exceptionally ornamental. I had no problems with the ROQ rings I tried (the breathable comfort fit) and loved that they have little slits cut into the silicone to promote air flow. I hardly noticed I was wearing these when lifting weights, which is a big deal to me.
Why buy silicone rings?
Silicone rings are designed as an alternative to traditional metal wedding rings. Generally, people wear them in scenarios during which a metal band can pose an injury risk.
For instance, it's dangerous to wear a metal ring while weightlifting, because the weight may catch the band wrong and cause "ring avulsion." This is a rare but serious injury that can affect the functioning of your hand for months and even require surgery.
Silicone does not pose the same risk because it's not as strong as metal, thus will stretch or break before causing harm to your finger. These bendy wedding bands are common among athletes, active duty military, firefighters, police, paramedics, construction workers and machinery operators.