Did you know that the roots of soccer trace back to China more than 2200 years ago?
Most people assume that it’s a European or South American native sport. As much as soccer is a mighty sport, the tools of the trade are of great importance and in this case, we need the best soccer ball. In a match, gear and goal posts can be improvised but never the soccer ball. It dictates the direction of the game; the better the ball, the better the game.
Scavenging through thousands of soccer balls out there in search of the best is draining which brings us to the purpose of this article. Besides narrowing down your search to the best soccer balls in the market today, this review sheds light on the different types of soccer balls available today, their purpose, sizes, features, and how to care for your soccer ball. Sometimes, getting a nudge in the right direction saves us time and makes finding a good soccer ball easy.
Best Soccer Ball in the Market Today [by Type]
In today’s world, there are a lot of types of soccer balls. Below we will review the most important types – Professional match soccer balls, Training soccer balls, Indoor soccer balls, and Beach soccer balls.
Top 9 Professional Match Soccer Balls
Below is the list of the best match soccer balls. These balls are used in official soccer matches therefore they are the most expensive soccer balls and are made with really high quality and precision in mind.
One of the most important features of this soccer ball is its Visual Response Color (VRC). Its bright colors and designs will enable you to keep track of the ball, and see it rotate, and bend against any background even when in the air.
Another positive feature of this ball is the valve position marker (VPM). This will tell you where to kick the ball although it is only beneficial during free kicks, corners, and penalties.
The casing of this ball uses 100% PU which greatly contributes to the durability of the ball as well as its feather-like feel to it.
It has a latex material that is water-proof and offers great control when shooting (player) and catching (goalkeeper).
- Thermally bonded connectivity
- High air retention
The fact that this ball was not only tested but used in 2016 Euro qualification matches makes it a trusted choice. Its graphics are minimal with the majority of the surface being white in color. A hint of red and silver streaks breaks the monotony of the white yet maintains a simplistic appeal that appeals to the simplistic users. The graphic designs go against the panels which gives it a unique appeal. Its casing uses 100% PU leather and the panels are thermal-bonded which makes the surface smooth. Its bladder uses butyl material which improves air retention. The surface of the ball provides lower water absorption which contributes to its durability and gives it a better feel.
- Seamless surface
- High air retention
- Reliable rebound and control
- Lower water uptake
- The unpredictable trajectory for strong kicks
- A bit pricey
This is a FIFA tested and approved ball so you can trust its quality and performance. For starters, it has 20 panels that facilitate control of the ball. Additionally, the casing uses polyurethane material which is one of the strongest soccer ball casings available. Unlike other professional soccer balls, this one uses Puma’s latest stress-free dimple technology. Just like any other high-quality ball, it will require frequent inflation compared to ordinary practice balls. This ball features the Puma Airlock Valve Technology (PAL) which facilitates proper airlock technology.
Size 5 is the official size for professional matches. Therefore, this ball is only available in this size. Do not use this soccer ball on concreted areas. Its unique rubber uses Puma Airlock Valve Technology (PAL) in order to facilitate proper airlock technology. This ball features Perimeter Balance Technology (PBT) which enables it to maintain impressive flight characteristics.
- Low price for a match ball
- High air retention
- Knuckle a bit too often
This match ball is an updated version of the popular Nike Ordem Professional soccer ball. Its goal is to withstand high-level play. A fuse-welded synthetic leather casing is optimal for touch and response. It also has a restricted six-wing carbon latex bladder for maximum air retention and explosiveness. The wrapped bladder also gives it a perfectly round shape, touch, and bounce. High contrast graphic design creates better visibility for this match soccer ball. Overall, this official match soccer ball boasts of 40% synthetic leather, 30% rubber, 20% polyester, and 10% cotton.
- Wrapped rubber for air retention
- High performance
- Will not last long if used on concrete surfaces
This high-quality professional soccer ball uses FYbrid fused technology which minimizes moisture absorption. It features a 20-panel design which gives the ball better control and better strikes. Casing material – micro-texture composite leather cover. The vivid graphics on the cover contribute to its visibility. It also features a premium hybrid PU material with an advanced micro-textured surface.
- Very grippy and has a heavy feel
- Shape retention
- Advance carcass construction
- Enhanced visibility
- Some see fast deflation
The first thing that you’ll notice with this soccer ball is its highly visible pink color which is visible even in the dark. It meets all the regulation standards for official soccer matches. It also doubles up as a practice ball. Its casing is made of PU material and the bladder made of butyl material.
- High visibility
- Low price match soccer ball
- Retains inflation
- Maintains shape
- Expensive match soccer ball
The first noticeable feature of this ball is the unique cross-linked panels. These are foam-expanded for durability and exceptional shape retention. For an explosive acceleration, the bladder of this soccer ball is uniquely designed with a six-wing carbon latex air chamber. The high-quality PU leather casing highly contributes to its durability.
- Pro FIFA qualification
- High quality
- High air retention
- Available in size 5 only
This is a size 5 ball that can withstand intense practice sessions and heated soccer matches. It has the highest FIFA rating which assures its users of its quality. To further ascertain its quality, this match ball has passed through a series of tests. These check to see whether its weight, shape, water uptake, and size retention are up to par. The casing uses PU and panels are hand stitched, which shows that the ball holds together match after match. The latex bladder facilitates its high rebound characteristics.
- High-quality materials used
- Low price
- High rebound
- High visibility
- Old school soccer ball
A factor that makes this official match soccer ball popular is its high-quality features paired up with its affordable price. Its thermal bonded construction is FIFA’s highest quality standard in construction for match balls. Its exterior uses PU material and is 100% water-proof. The graphics also facilitate high visual response. The butyl bladder facilitates high air retention while the VPM (Valve Position Marker) technology will show you the precise foot placement.
- High air retention
- FIFA qualified
- Thermal-bonded construction
- High visibility
- Available in size 5 only
Top 2 Best Indoor Soccer Balls
This particular indoor ball has all the qualities that make it ideal for an indoor soccer ball. The exterior uses a soft felt material. The panels of this size 5 indoor ball are hand stitched which makes it more durable than machine stitched panels. Its bounce is not too high which sits well with the requirements of an indoor soccer ball. It is not too bouncy or light but it flies rather well when kicked. This gives the player ample control during a session. It has a comfortable texture that’s pleasant to hold, for a goalkeeper and comfortable for footwork especially if the player is barefooted. Has a bright color that makes it visible during a game. Players can easily keep track of it, especially in an indoor setting.
- Maximum control
- Soft casing
- Great visibility
- High quality
- This ball might be too bouncy for indoor play
This soccer ball is specifically designed for indoor play. It features a foam-backed casing that makes it just right for indoor play. This fabric also facilitates skills development for young players. It is the perfect ball for training and recreational play. This is a safe indoor soccer ball for young kids as the outer fabric provides a soft padding upon impact. Instead of air, this ball is foam-filled which makes it a durable choice. This also means that the ball requires less maintenance since no air re-fill is required. The foam interior makes this ball safe, especially for its intended target users. The impact is cushioned hence young players can use it to practice for dribbles and head-batts. The fact that there are no chances of injury with this ball adds to its appeal.
- Safe for use
- No need for air refill
- Cannot withstand vigorous play
Best Beach Soccer Ball
This beach soccer ball has gained popularity due to the careful combination of its features. It is soft to touch so no worries about your bare feet getting scuffed and roughed up in the name of playing soccer. With this particular feature, you can go the extra mile to perfect your dribble and head-butt skills. Although soft and gentle to bare parts of the body, these beach soccer balls are also water-resistant. Soft water-resistant fabric is used to make the casing of the ball which solves two problems at a time. Keeping track of the ball while at the beach can be quite a task with the wrong colored ball. The select beach soccer ball has a combination of three colors; white, blue, and green which allows you to keep track of it from all angles.
The panels of this soccer ball are hand stitched which makes it a superior ball in terms of durability.
- Visible during play
- Soft exterior
- It may become flimsy after continuous use
The Ultimate Soccer Ball Buying Guide
Your search for a soccer ball is guided by; size, weight, build, construction, type, and the quality of materials used.
1. Intended Use Of the Ball
Before grabbing the first ball off the shelves, it is important to consider where you intend to use it. There is a specific soccer ball for each terrain and occasion. In this case, you will encounter; indoor, turf, beach, and professional soccer balls.
1. Professional Match Soccer Ball
A match ball is meant for a professional soccer match. Every detail right from its weight, size, and shape is geared towards maximizing the natural abilities as well as the skills of the players. Professional match balls are recognized and approved by all international organizations including FIFA and bear an approval logo on them.
Due to their intense use, professional match balls have at least 5 layers and use high-quality materials. Its shape, bounce, balance, trajectory, velocity, and water absorption are strictly controlled to enhance performance. With such qualities and strict measures, professional match balls are the most expensive soccer balls.
2. Recreational/Training or Practice Balls
Training balls are ideal for training and recreational use. These are the least expensive and more durable compared to professional match balls as they are meant to be continuously used for an extended period of time. This type of ball is usually constructed with 4 or fewer layers. The casing is made of PVC which makes its quality lower compared to a professional match soccer ball. Usually, the panels of a practice ball are molded together and not stitched together. These types of balls can withstand rough surfaces such as; asphalt and concrete.
3. Promotional Soccer Balls
In your search, you are also likely to encounter promotional balls. These are purposely designed to promote certain products, companies, or events. They are usually small in size; size 1 or 2 and not meant to be used for professional matches or even for training.
4. Indoor Soccer Balls
This type of ball is easy to distinguish because its outer material is similar to the material used on tennis balls. They normally are a size 5 and similar to the outdoor soccer ball. Indoor soccer balls are purposely designed with less rebound in order to accommodate turf and harder surfaces that cover the walls of an indoor soccer field and playing ground.
5. Futsal Soccer Ball
By no means is this type of ball similar to a typical soccer ball. For starters, instead of air, its bladder is filled with foam. In this case, the ball has less bounce and is heavier in order to facilitate its purpose; meant to be used on a hard surface indoors. This size 4 ball may also have suede castings which help to stabilize the ball on a slippery floor.
6. Beach Soccer Ball
These are usually a size 5 and lighter than a typical soccer ball. It is softer to touch and hence comfortable for use on bare feet. Beach soccer balls are brightly colored in order to make them easy to spot on sandy beaches. They are also water-resistant as they are likely to get kicked into the beach.
2. Materials Used
A normal soccer ball consists of two parts; the bladder and the casing. The bladder is the inner compartment that holds the air while the casing covers the outer part of the ball as well as its panels.
These are the popular octagon quilts that are seen on the exterior of a soccer ball. There are 32 panels on Official FIFA soccer balls while others have 18-26 panels.
The most commonly used materials for casing are PolyUrethane(PU) and PolyVinyl Carbonate (PVC), synthetic leather, or a combination of PU and PVC. You can distinguish the type of casing used by touch. Balls that use PVC usually have a hard exterior but are cheap and durable. PU cased balls are softer to the touch, high in quality, and more responsive than PVC balls. Synthetic leather balls offer increased control hence ideal for professional matches or high-level playing. You will also notice a glossy finish on all soccer balls. This comes in handy in minimizing scuffing and water damage to the balls.
This part is responsible for holding in the air. These can either be made of butyl or latex material. However, professionals prefer latex as it is softer. On the other hand, butyl bladders do not need frequent reflation as they have higher air retention.
You probably have noticed that soccer balls come in a variety of sizes and there is a good reason for it. There are 5 different sizes and the ideal choice depends on the age of the player. This is also set by the league hence advisable to check with the coach before purchase.
1. Size 1
Players call this size ball as a skill or mini ball and have a circumference of 18-20 inches. People use this size for recreation as well as to improve footwork.
2. Size 2
These are an ideal size for children under 4 years for matches as well as ball control drills.
3. Size 3
Although small in size, these are official soccer balls for matches for children under the age of 8. It has a circumference of 23-24 inches, weighs between 11 to 12 ounces, and is also known as a junior ball.
Need a ball for your child that is between 6-8? Check out this buying guide for size 3 soccer balls.
4. Size 4
Players use size 4 soccer balls for official matches for children between the ages of 8-12 years. It is also referred to as a youth ball. These balls have a circumference of 25-26 inches and weigh 12-13 ounces.
5. Size 5
This is an adult soccer ball with a circumference of 27-28 inches, weighs 14-15 ounces, and is ideal for players starting at the age of 13 and above. This type of ball is the largest official ball.
Have a wide foot and can’t find fitting soccer cleats? Wide soccer cleats guide is just for you!
The amount that you are willing to pay for the soccer ball might influence your search. These range in price depending on their type, make, quality, and other features. If you are looking for a ball to kick around for fun or for a child as a toy, it is best that you opt for an inexpensive ball as they are likely to ruin the ball or easily get bored with it shortly after. This also applies to children who are in a league as they will soon outgrow the ball hence the need for a bigger and more expensive soccer ball.
If you are willing to purchase an expensive ball, it is advisable that you do a little research prior to purchase. Just because a soccer ball is expensive doesn’t mean that it is the best on the market.
1. Test the Balls
Sometimes, giving the ball a few dribbles and kicks will help you determine whether it is the best choice for you. If the ball is meant for a child, ask them to kick it around and see how it feels. If the ball is too heavy or big, the child will struggle with it which is an indication that you should keep looking.
2. The Visual Test
A quick inspection of the construction of the ball might help you make a quick decision. The first thing that you should look at is the panel of the ball. A soccer ball that has panels sewn together is a better choice than the ones that are glued together. The panels of a premium ball are stitched by hand while those of a lower quality are machine stitched.
3. Count the Panels
Did you know that the number of panels on a ball affects its performance? Most people don’t. Fewer panels mean more speed while more panels mean easier control of the ball.
4. Test its Weight
Some soccer balls are usually rock hard and unnecessarily heavy. In this case, it is best that you choose one that is less likely to injure the players when kicked, head-butted, or caught.
Avoid unusually softer balls as they are likely to bounce more than needed and go off-target.
5. Verify Authenticity
Unfortunately, not all products out there are genuine. It is therefore advisable that you look for the stamp of approval before purchase. A genuine soccer ball will bear a stamp from either of these organizations.
- Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
- National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA)
- National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)
6. Refer to the Guidelines Stated by your League
Organized leagues usually outline the kind of specifications that balls should meet. The soccer ball that you purchase should be of a certain size, weight, construction, and material. As a matter of fact, such detailed specifics will make your search easy.
Thanks to technology, finding a soccer ball is easy. Simply go online, research the best balls out there, narrow down your search to the top 10, 5, or 3 then read the reviews of people who have actually used them before. Thereafter, you can weigh the pros and cons to determine which ball is the best pick for you. The top 3 places to research are:
- The manufacturer’s website for specific details of the ball
- Customer review sections for ratings and personal experiences
- Soccer forums where other soccer players will share their experiences or make recommendations
Tips on How to Care for Your Soccer Ball
Giving care to your soccer ball begins with proper use, correct inflation, and cleaning. Everything else falls secondary to this.
1. Proper Use
Your soccer ball may feel tough and strong enough to endure anything that’s thrown its way but it isn’t. It is able to endure only kicks and other field tactics. Using it in rocky and wild terrain will subject it to sharp and harsh objects that will shorten its life and affect its performance.
You should also avoid sitting on your ball. Your soccer ball is designed to take pressure on one side at a time from kicks. Sitting on it puts pressure on both ends which may affect the bladder, deform it or cause it to burst. Repeatedly kicking your ball against the wall or other hard surfaces is also not advisable.
2. Proper Inflation
Inflate soccer balls to the pressure of 6-8 PPI (pounds per square inch). A pressure gauge will tell you when the air is enough. Under or over-inflating a soccer ball will shorten its life in one way or another. When under-inflated, the ball will not be resistant to the impact of kicks. On the other hand, overinflation will stretch out the bladder and put pressure on the panel stitches.
Additionally, it is best that you apply a few drops of silicone lubricant to the valve of your ball before inserting the inflation needle. This will prolong the life of the valve.
After a match, slightly deflate your ball as it will relieve the bladder and casing off the pressure. This will extend its lifespan.
3. Clean your Ball
After use, it is advisable that you wipe mud, grass, and other stains off the ball. Do this with a wet piece of cloth. Never use detergents and other stain removing agents as they will damage the outer casing of the ball. If the mud is stuck, wait for it to dry then scrape it off with a soft bristle brush.
The soccer balls reviewed in this article are the few that trample all others that are available on the market today.
The bend-it champions league soccer ball is definitely the best soccer ball due to its high air retention, rebound ability, and durability.
The Adidas miCoach smart soccer ball takes the lead in the training balls category due to the unique and advanced technology involved. However, its price is higher than the rest of the balls which makes the Adidas MLS top glider ball a suitable alternative.
The Mikasa SX50 is the best indoor soccer ball due to its durability and soft felt cover which goes a long way in controlling rebounding characteristics.
Finally, the Select Beach Soccer ball ranks high among other soccer balls with its unique softness, high water/scratch resistance, and overall durability.