Looking to buy a new soccer ball? While there are a few key points you’ll want to keep an eye out for, as always you have to take a step back and pinpoint your intended use for your soccer ball. Consider asking yourself these questions…
- Where are you playing? Outdoors? Indoors?
- If you’re playing outdoors, are you playing in the streets? A beach? Field?
- Indoors? Futsal Soccer?
- Are you just practicing drills? Honing your skills?
Take a mental note (or a physical one) of what you answered with. With that information in hand, we’ll dive into the best soccer balls for you or your team’s needs.
Table of Contents
What to Look for When Buying a Soccer Ball
To start off, let’s review the parts of a soccer ball. In a soccer ball there are 5 components that make up a soccer ball.
- Covers – Surface layer of the soccer ball, the cover material is what the panels are made of
- Panels – Usually hexagonal shapes that are stitched together to create a spherical shape (a round soccer ball). A 32 panel soccer ball is the most common, familiar type of soccer ball you would see around, but there are other versions with less or more panels. An example would be a 20 hexagonal panels or 12 pentagonal panels stitched together to create a ball.
- Stitching – While we mention “stitching,” it’s really about how the ball is staying in one piece. Today soccer balls can be stitched together (machine or hand sewn), glued or thermally molded into one piece.
- Lining – Layers of polyester and/or cotton laminated together to give the soccer ball it’s strength structure and bounce. Many soccer balls add a foam layer for cushioning.
- Bladder – Usually made from latex or butyl to hold air.
When looking over the soccer balls, you’ll notice the mention of these components and the materials they’re made of. It’s important to have, at the very least, a basic understanding of these parts when choosing a soccer ball. Now that we’ve brushed up on the basics, let’s take a closer look into two important factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a ball.
Most soccer balls share the same materials list. Why? Because it works. It’s been tested for its surfaces and they have been determined to be the best for their intended use. To keep this short and to the point, we’ve made a quick and easy-to-read list to help you determine the materials they should have for their intended use.
|Cover/Panels||Synthetic Leather. Either PU (polyurethane) or PVC (poly vinyl chloride).||Standard Soccer Use|
|Cover/Panels||TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)||Beach Soccer Use|
|Cover/Panels||Rubber||Street Soccer Use|
|Cover/Panels||Synthetic Leather with Felt Cover (dual tone). Some panels will have felt on them for better control on indoor surfaces.||Futsal or Indoor Soccer Use|
|Stitching||Twisted Polyester Cord. Hand Sewn for highest quality, machine sewn for decent or passable quality.||Standard Soccer Use|
|Lining||Polyester and/or Cotton Bonded (laminated)||Standard Soccer Use|
|Lining||TPE Foam (Thermoplastic elastomer foam)||Beach Soccer Use|
|Bladder||Natural Latex Rubber bladders for the softest feel and response. Butyl bladders for the best feel to air retention ratio.||All Soccer Use|
Sizes of soccer balls range from 1 to 5. While most sizes are categorized by age groups, some small size soccer balls can be used for honing and improving game-playing skills.
Age, Group, and Use
|Size 1||18 – 20 inches||3 years and under, also known as a “mini ball.” Commonly used amongst adults and kids to hone and improve precision skills.|
|Size 2||20 – 22 inches||3 – 5 years old, not much different in size from size 1, just a slightly larger circumference.|
|Size 3||23 – 24 inches||5 – 8 years old, smallest size used in actual matches.|
|Size 4||25 – 26 inches||8 – 11 years old, slightly smaller than regulation soccer ball but perfect for this age group since most haven’t developed the physical strength needed to handle size 5 balls.|
|Size 5||27 – 28 inches||12+ years old, the standard ball used in professional and international matches.|
The Best Soccer Balls
1. Adidas Glider 2 Soccer Ball
Adidas Glider 2 Soccer Ball is a great in-between ball for both training and match play. Because it’s made with durable, but soft to the touch TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). It’s a hard-wearing ball that keeps its bounce over long periods of time. Although it’s machine stitched (the best being hand-stitched), it has a butyl bladder for long lasting air retention.
- A hard wearing ball that keeps bouncing back
- Rubber bladder for best air retention
- Machine stitched for high durability
2. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
The Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball is a decent quality traditional soccer ball you can get to play with family and friends. Perfect for that nostalgic old-school soccer feel, it’s built with super familiar black and white synthetic leather panels. Butyl bladder for great air retention, making it perfect for playing all day long. Although it is machine sewn, it’s still a great classic choice for soccer players.
It’s mostly a nostalgia factor now as the Wilson website does not sell these traditional soccer balls anymore, you can find them with various online sellers (i.e. Amazon, Walmart, etc).
- For soccer purists, The Traditional is the first choice for the backyard, street or pitch. This machine-sewn ball has the classic black and white panel design and performance for any and every match.
- Synthetic leather cover for increased durability
- Butyl rubber bladder for excellent air and shape retention
3. SELECT Numero 10 Soccer Ball
The SELECT brand is one of the world’s largest soccer ball producing companies. Founded by Eigil Nielsen, widely known as the Father of the Modern Soccer ball, SELECT Soccer balls are constantly keeping up with their research to deliver the best they can.
The SELECT Numero 10 Soccer Ball is a legendary match and training ball used globally for decades. The Numero 10 series are available in all colors at size 5, with limited colors in size 4. The cover is not only PU material, but laminated with neoprene foam to increase softness. To boot, SELECT Numero 10 Soccer Balls are NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) and IMS (International Matchball Standard) approved.
- HIGHEST QUALITY: A legendary match and training ball used around the world for decades for training and matches
- PREMIUM MATERIALS: PU material laminated with neoprene foam to increase softness with SELECT's premium zero-wing latex bladder for optimal bounce
- HAND-STITCHED CRAFTMANSHIP: 32 panel hand-stitched construction combined with golf structured PU-surface ensures optimal aerodynamics
4. Champion Sports Extreme Series Composite Soccer Ball
Champion Sports Extreme Series Composite Soccer Ball is an all-weather ball capable of withstanding heat, cold, wind and rain better than its many of its competitors in a similar price range. Made with durable and soft TPU, complete with a butyl bladder.
- ALL PURPOSE, ALL WEATHER, ALL FUN: This soccer ball is perfect for beginner to pro-level athletes. Built for high-retention activity, these balls will not lose composition and will provide optimal surface coverage and handling, rain or shine.
- SOFT TOUCH COMPOSITE: Unlike many soccer balls that have no give, the Champion Sports dribble balls are comprised of TPU (a hybrid of soft and hard silicone) that offers smoother handling, juggling, kicking, passing, and less chance of injury.
- QUALITY YOU CAN SEE AND FEEL: When you use our premium, youth-regulated soccer ball, you will notice quality that supersedes any equipment like it. Our rec balls are made with a butyl bladder that promises exceptional air retention and precision.
5. Senda Rio Premium Training Low-Bounce Futsal Ball
Senda Rio Premium Training Low-Bounce Futsal Ball is a great choice for playing Futsal. It’s made to have a low bounce, keeping the games close to the ground on indoor courts and hard surfaces. The company Send Athletics, or Senda, is a recent company founded in 2010 that has been steadily making their way up the ranks amongst soccer fans.
- LOW BOUNCE BALL made with a durable cover specifically designed for optimal extended futsal play on hard courts and wooden floors featuring a special foam backing for a softer touch
- REINFORCED BLADDER made from rubber & synthetic materials for better air retention, less ambient air loss, and less frequent inflations
- U. S YOUTH FUTSAL OFFICIAL BALL - Senda is proud to be the Official Ball Partner of U. S. Youth Futsal and is committed to the growth and development of youth futsal in the United States
6. American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball
American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball is great for outdoor play. It was designed for grass fields and performs its best outdoors. It works great on turf, but wear and tear will definitely be visible as the Turf Fill will mark the ball. There has even been mention that the ball works pretty well both in street play and indoor court, although damage inevitable.
- OUTER CASING MATERIAL: 3.25mm TPU material -BACKING MATERIAL: 2 layers of poly/cotton lining
- STITCHING: Machine stitched - BLADDER: Hybrid SR bladder
- This ball was designed for grass fields
7. GoSports Classic Soccer Ball
GoSports Classic Soccer Ball is another perfect soccer ball for that traditional old school feel. With the classic black and white design, the GoSports Classic Soccer Ball is the perfect partner to start with. Usually comes in a pack of 6, with an air pump and ball bag to help you immediately get started. Decent quality with synthetic leather cover and a butyl bladder for long lasting use.
- SIX PACK: A much better bargain per ball and the most popular choice for parents, coaches, camps, schools, and anyone tired of chasing after one ball
- CHOOSE YOUR SIZE: All ages covered – choose between Size 3, 4 or 5 (see sizing guide in images)
- DURABLE COMPOSITE CONSTRUCTION: The sturdy synthetic leather construction provides increased durability and a soft touch feel
8. Adidas Tango Glider Soccer Ball
Appealing to that classic black and white design again we have the Adidas Tango Glider Soccer Ball which is most commonly used for training. Made for outdoor (grass fields), we have the usual TPU cover with a butyl bladder at a great price point.
- Regulation-size soccer ball
- Machine-stitched construction for high durability
- Butyl bladder for best air retention
9. Wilson NCAA Copia Soccer Ball
The Wilson NCAA Copia Soccer ball is a replica design and a recreational alternative to the NCAA Forte Fybrid II Official Championship Match ball. Great durability with a composite TPU leather cover material. While we have the usual butyl rubber bladder, Wilson market’s their bladder as “performance butyl bladder” which focuses on a balanced shape within the soccer ball for consistent rebound and lasting air retention.
- Composite leather cover for lasting durability
- Carcass windings for optimal shape retention
- Performance butyl bladder designed for balanced shape with consistent rebound and lasting air retention
10. MIKASA FT5A Goal Master
The MIKASA FT5A Goal Master is a waterproof soccer ball made with the beach in mind. Specifically Footvolley. The MIKASA FT5A Goal master is not only the official Footvolley game ball, but also FIFA Quality stamped. This means that this ball is suitable as a match ball in International friendlies and Confederation matches.
FIFA Quality means that this ball has gone through the same thorough quality testing as an International Match Standard soccer ball. Founded in Hiroshima, Japan over 89 years ago, Mikasa set up headquarters on California grounds in 1973 to better satisfy the demand of North American athletes.
- Waterproof; seamless construction
- Durable Mikasa Hyde cover
- Nylon wound for improved rebound and shape retention
How to Choose the Right Soccer Ball
Choose the Right Type for its Intended Use
How do you know if a soccer ball is the right type for your playstyle? While we have a short list of materials to look over at the start, most soccer balls are made with the outdoor fields in mind unless otherwise stated.
Factor/ Place in Where You Will be Playing
Like mentioned above, it’s important to factor in where you will be playing. Factor in the environment the ball will be hitting. Will you be playing on grass? The list above has several great choices for both outdoor and grass field play. Playing on turf? You’ll need a special type of soccer ball that can withstand the extra wear and tear that comes from artificial grass!
The great thing about soccer is that the technology has been rapidly evolving to keep up with the players. There’s a soccer ball for every type of soccer you can play! Keep the environment in mind and your soccer ball will last much longer in the circumstances it was made for.
Decide on How Much You Want to Spend
How much you decide to spend on your ball will help narrow down your choices. As mentioned above, there is a soccer ball for every type of soccer you can play. Deciding on a budget for your ball can drastically help in choosing the ball that you can get right now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between indoor and outdoor soccer balls?
Indoor soccer balls have less rebound to accommodate harder smooth surfaces. Standard outdoor soccer balls are made with open grass in fields in mind and are made for rebound.
How much does a soccer ball weigh?
Depends on what size you get, but a size 5 ball can weigh anywhere from 410 – 450 grams.
Why do soccer balls lose air?
Soccer balls lose air because of the difference in air pressure. It’s a natural process that happens to anything inflated with air, so no worries!
How is a soccer ball affected by temperature?
Sometimes pressure and temperature changes will widen any tiny seams open and cause air to escape faster.
Looking into your perfect soccer ball, whether you’re just getting started or looking to have friendly matches against other teams, can be a little intimidating at first. At the end of this, you should have the basics of what you need to know to choose your perfect soccer ball. Keep a game plan in mind…
- Know what the basic materials and components are.
- Search for a ball with your intended purpose (beach, street, turf, indoor, etc.)
- Keep a budget in mind.
- Keep an eye on reviews.
You should be able to get a ball that best fits your needs in no time. Good luck on your game.