Often the soccer ball you play with is supplied by the coach, the club, the school or if you’re just playing in the park, a friend. If you are someone who is thinking about buying your very own soccer ball then our reviews will help you understand what to look for, in order to buy the best one.
How To Choose The Best Soccer Ball
When you are considering buying a soccer ball it might seem there is nothing you need to look at other than ensuring it is round. If only it were that simple!
Choosing a soccer ball isn’t difficult, but there are several different features that you need to consider and compare when selecting a soccer ball. We’ve highlighted the most important of these below so when you buy your soccer ball you will do so armed with all the knowledge you need.
Soccer balls come in 5 official sizes, with each of them designed to fulfil a different need or suited to a particular age group. Here are the details:
- Size 1: These are known as ‘mini balls’ and apart from fun kickabouts, they are designed to help increase ball control and skills.
- Size 2: Used for soccer games involving very young children and for honing ball control by older players.
- Size 3: Used for soccer matches involving children aged under 8
- Size 4: Children between the ages of 8 & 12 use this size when playing soccer.
- Size 5: The most common size and used for all soccer involving players aged 12 and above.
Unless you are buying a soccer ball for young children or simply wanting a small ball to improve your skills the size of soccer ball you will normally want to buy is a size 5.
Panels and Construction
Panels are the exterior sections that make up the outer part of a soccer ball. The official number of these panels which is approved by FIFA is 32, however, some variations may be 18 or 26 panels. For consistency ensure that the soccer ball you buy has the same number of panels as any others you play with.
Normally the fewer panels a soccer ball has the faster and more aerodynamic it will be. Soccer balls with more panels are likely to be easier to control and play truer when passing and shooting
Normally you can expect each panel to be 6-sided polygons however some bigger brands use their own unique panel shapes.
The construction of the soccer ball, in terms of how the panels are joined together, can vary. The most common are machine stitched, hand stitched or thermal bonding. The preference normally is for soccer balls which have stitched panels as these tend to last longer and it’s less likely that any panel will come loose.
There are 3 main types of material that are used to create the exterior of a soccer ball, or as it is sometimes called, the casing. These are polyvinyl carbonate (PVC), polyurethane (PU) or a combination of these known as ‘synthetic leather’. Each has different qualities and characteristics which you must think about carefully about before buying your soccer ball.
PVC is extremely durable so if you want your soccer ball to last for hundreds of soccer matches then this is possibly what you want. They also tend to produce a harder exterior surface than the other materials. If your budget is a consideration then you’ll be pleased to know that PVC soccer balls tend to cost less.
PU is a higher-grade material which has a softer feel to it. As a result, players should find the touch and feel they have with this sort of surface are much greater.
The combination material or synthetic leather is the highest grade of material used. This material is what professional tournaments and leagues use for their soccer balls. These soccer balls offer the best control to a player and display much faster speed through the air when the ball is passed or shot at goal.
This is known as the ‘bladder’ and is the part of the soccer ball which is inflated when air is pumped into it. Manufacturers use two different materials for the bladder; latex or butyl.
Latex tends to make the ball feel softer, therefore, it offers better touch, feel and control. On the downside, latex bladders deflate quicker and can lose their shape.
Butyl is the cheaper option and does not offer the same level of control, however, butyl bladders keep their shape better and need to be re-inflated less often than latex.
Choose A Soccer Ball That You Will Likely Be Playing With In Matches
Before buying a soccer ball it will be worth checking to see what sort of ball your league uses on match days. There may even be a written specification in the league rulebook. Armed with this information buy a ball like it, possibly even the same one, so that when you are practicing with this ball, it is as close to what you will experience during a match.
Recommended Soccer Ball
There is some debate as to which soccer league in the world is the greatest. Some will say the Spanish La Liga, others the English Premier League, and no doubt the MLS gets a shout too. When it comes to which league is the most watched around the world then the English Premier League with around 5 billion viewers is not only the most watched soccer league, but globally it is the most popular sporting competition on TV.
With that sort of popularity, you won’t be surprised to learn that the English Premiership has its own branded soccer balls and the one we are going to review is the Nike Premier League Strike Soccer Ball.
As this is designed and manufactured by Nike it is not surprising that there are a couple of unusual features. The first is there are only 12 panels which is a lot less than many soccer balls have. The thinking behind this is that fewer panels tend to promote a more accurate flight of the ball through the air.
Another unique feature is Nike’s ‘Aerowtrak’ grooves on the surface which also incorporates texturing. These combine to give players better touch on the ball and should make it easier to bring it under control.
The bladder in this soccer ball is made from butyl to ensure the ball retains air, keeps its shape for longer and doesn’t need pumping up regularly.
To play soccer wearing kit or soccer cleats endorsed by soccer superstar Lionel Messi is a thrill, but how would you feel kicking a soccer ball bearing the great man’s name? Well, here’s your chance to do so, with the Adidas Messi Soccer Ball.
The ball has a very bold and eye-catching design with solar red colors and Lionel Messi’s own motive prominent for all to see. There are other colors and trims available which include black, orange, blue, green, white and even metallic silver amongst those that you can choose from.
Adidas state that the surface incorporates color blocking and graphic fade print which should keep it looking as good as new for as long as possible.
For the ball’s exterior Adidas have used a synthetic material which improves the durability of the ball. The panels are the traditional polygon shape and are all machine stitched to strengthen the shape of the ball further.
Inside we have a butyl bladder which has high air retention, therefore, the need to regularly pump up this ball to keep it inflated is very much reduced.
There are few club tournaments in the world that can be any more popular or desirable to win than the UEFA Champions League. It is the biggest club tournament in Europe and is watched by millions around the world. UEFA have endorsed several soccer balls for the Champions League and the one we are going to review here is the Adidas Champion’s League Finale Capitano Soccer Ball.
The design features a white background with grey stars which have hand-written words of wisdom. These include ‘Be the difference to win’, and ‘Nobody remembers second place’ so this soccer ball is definitely all about winning.
So, is it a winner when it comes to its features?
Firstly, it has a thermoplastic polyurethane exterior which will help your touch without compromising on the ball’s durability. The panels are either hexagon or triangular and these are machine stitched internally to prolong the lifetime of the ball.
The bladder inside the ball is made from butyl so it should require less reinflation than many of the other types of bladder.
We are used to seeing soccer equipment from big brands such as Adidas or Nike but this review looks at a soccer ball from a name that might not be familiar to you. It is Mikasa, who are a Japanese sports firm which only make sports balls. Some of the sports they produce these for are volleyball, water polo, basketball, and soccer. The product we are going to look at is the Mikasa Serious Soccer Ball.
Looking at this soccer ball you’ll see it has very uncluttered design with a white background and black triangular shapes. It reminds us very much of the ball design from the 1970s and 1980s. For those who like colors others than black, you can also choose from green, blue, and red.
The interior of this soccer ball uses a butyl bladder so it should retain its shape for longer and require less reinflation due to the excellent air retention that butyl offers.
The exterior of this ball is made from synthetic leather which offers the best surface for enhanced ball control and touch. Synthetic leather will also make shots and passes through the air travel much quicker. Another noticeable point about the surface is it’s slightly cushioned which is another aid to good control.
The Mikasa Serious Soccer ball is available in sizes 3, 4 and 5.
If you want to play soccer using a ball that carries the endorsement of the MLS then the Adidas MLS Top Glider Soccer Ball will interest you. According to Adidas, the ball is inspired by the three pillars of the MLS, which are club, country and community. These are all worthy ideals for the ball to promote but can it also promote good soccer play?
The exterior of the ball is made from a water-resistant polyurethane (TPU) which is designed to promote good ball control and touch when it connects with your foot. The exterior material is designed for long life and this is enhanced by its resistance to abrasion. The panels are machine stitched using nylon to add further durability.
Internally the bladder is made from butyl which helps the ball keep its shape for longer and reduces the need for regular re-inflation due to its excellent air retention.
The ball is available in size 3, size 4 and size 5 so soccer players of all ages can benefit from practicing and playing with this soccer ball.
When discussing the best soccer ball someone jokingly suggested we pick the one that people score most goals with…if only it was that easy. As much as they will differ in quality and some features, no soccer ball can guarantee you will score more goals.
That being said, they can make controlling it easier, give a better touch and offer truer and more accurate flight through the air. When we considered these the clear winner in the best soccer ball category is the Nike Premier Strike Soccer ball.
With its use of fewer panels, ‘Aerotrak’ grooves, and surface texturing this soccer ball does all it can to assist players be more accurate with their shots and passing.
This is the ball used in the most popular league in the world, the English Premiership, and if that isn’t a hint that this is a quality soccer ball worth playing with, we don’t know what is.