Individual skills help players stand out. But skill only lets you do so much. Without the proper gear, the game stands to lose a lot of its appeal. That’s why, at any level of competition, be it amateur, semi-pro, or professional, only the best soccer ball is taken into consideration.
Now, pro players can just take a few balls from the team locker room or order custom balls from their sponsors. Regular folk need to spend some time online before finding the right soccer ball. That means investing a lot of time and also learning about the different types, sizes, and field conditions that demand a certain type of ball.
Check out our top five list to find your answer faster. Dive deeper into our buyer’s guide if you’re interested in more information on soccer balls.
Wilson’s traditional soccer balls are highly popular due to their affordability and build quality.
The traditional black-on-white panel design has been around for decades. It’s still used today in many domestic leagues, practice drills, and on school courts around the world. Many consider this design to be less distracting than the newer, flashier graphics.
Another great characteristic of these Wilson soccer balls is the high-end stitching. It ensures longevity, which ads even more value for the money.
The balls are designed to work properly when inflated to between 8 and 10 PSI. 9 PSI is preferred in most cases as anything lower would reduce the amount of spin and velocity you can apply to the balls.
You can find these traditional soccer balls in sizes 3, 4, and 5, which means that they can be played with by any age group. The price is the same regardless of the size.
The bladders used by Wilson are some of the best engineered in this price range and quite a few price ranges above it. Both the shape and air retention are more than impressive.
Black-and-white soccer balls are not the best to use at night, even if the field has great lighting. The lack of color variety may be an issue for some players.
Under Armour is not the most popular brand in international soccer. But because they know how to make shoes, it only makes sense to diversify the portfolio and add some quality soccer balls to the mix too.
The DESAFIO 395 soccer balls come in a variety of colorful flashy graphics with very glossy finishes. They’re easy to spot during the day and during the night. Having a ball you can easily follow in poor visibility conditions is very important in soccer.
The cover is a standard synthetic leather cover, nothing too impressive, but not too shabby either. The ball is good enough to last a full high-school or college season. It may not do well enough in the pros, though.
Despite not looking remotely old school, each DESAFIO 395 ball has the classic hexagonal plates, stitched between them. This means that the aerodynamics are good and putting a spin on the ball isn’t hard if you’re playing on a large grass pitch.
Only two sizes are available, size 4 and 5. Kids under 8 years old may have a hard time controlling a DESAFIO 395 soccer ball. However, the cool graphics will surely encourage them to try.
The color variation is, in a way, the best feature. This is what makes the DESAFIO 395 balls viable for daytime and nighttime use.
These soccer balls are slightly pricier than others of equal performance. It’s also worth mentioning that the price may increase depending on the size and graphics on the cover.
While these soccer balls may seem somewhat cheesy in the graphics department, and some would go as far as saying they’re made for beach soccer, they are, in fact, durable soccer balls intended for grass fields.
The American Challenge Brasilia soccer balls are machine-stitched almost to perfection. It’s very surprising given their affordability and the fact that they come in all sizes, from 1 through to 5.
There are five color variations, including yellow which is great to use at night. There’s also a red variant that will serve you best during the winter. Red has been used for a long time on snow-covered soccer fields.
The outer cover is a bit soft but still not soft enough to practice penalty kicks without your cleats on. That’s the main reason why these balls only look the part of beach soccer balls but aren’t used for that activity.
You can expect between two and four weeks of air and shape retention. It’s very good for this price range, especially considering that those estimates are made with the assumption of considerable playtime.
The availability of colors for all seasons and times of day, as well as sizes to accommodate any age group makes this line of soccer balls very versatile and desirable.
The softer outer shell and the overall calibration of the American Challenge Brasilia soccer balls doesn’t make them ideal for training or gameday use among professional adult teams. The balls lack the necessary durability to handle that kind of rough-housing.
Available in all sizes and three colors, the Nike 2018-2019 EPL soccer ball is definitely worth considering. It has an innovative design that minimizes the drag and improves the ball’s trajectory in grass field conditions.
This soccer ball features a 12-panel design. Studies have shown that changes from the original 32-panel design have altered the performance of the soccer ball in game conditions. Even though most studies were performed in laboratory conditions, they all showed that a 12-panel design offers the least amount of compromise in regards to resistance.
Combining the design and the overall build quality that’s expected from Nike soccer balls, you get something truly impressive. On top of all that, the ball also features a slightly textured cover, a unique feature characteristic of Nike’s Aerowtrac technology.
Each ball has the Nike and Premier League logos stamped on it. There are also a few panel connections that are colored, which will improve visibility. Various colors are available.
The combination of the 12-panel design and Nike’s patented cover grooves technology improves the mid-flight stabilization of the ball.
Although the 2018-2019 EPL ball has some interesting features, it may not be good enough to withstand intense training sessions. This ball will perform better during games than during drills.
Here’s another competition-grade soccer ball available in two sizes. Although the graphics may not seem too traditional, there’s one very important feature that sets the Select Numero 10 apart from the others.
This soccer ball comes with a 2-year warranty. That’s simply not something you see every day and speaks volumes about the level of craftsmanship and confidence of the manufacturer.
What’s also impressive is that the synthetic leather cover is hand-sewn. Each ball comes deflated. You’ll notice that pumping air is a bit harder size for size compared to other balls. That’s because the air retention properties are very satisfying.
The Numero 10 soccer balls are available in sizes 4 and 5. The color variety and the prices will vary depending on the size.
Both the NCAA and the NFHS have endorsed the Numero 10 soccer balls. This adds a lot to the credibility of this detailed line of Select soccer balls.
As durable as these balls are, the feel is not similar enough to that of MLS, World Cup, or UCL match balls. The balls have less spin in the air and on the ground.
Soccer balls come in so many sizes and so many different material combinations. This makes categorizing soccer balls somewhat frustrating. You can obviously go by size and age groups. You can also go by materials.
But for the most part, soccer balls are categorized by their intended use. As such, you have the following types:
Indoor soccer balls are smaller than official regulation balls. They’re designed to be played less inflated. The outer cover is rather strong because futsal players tend to step and stand on the ball a lot. However, this doesn’t mean that an indoor soccer ball will fare well on a cement or gravel pitch.
This type of soccer ball will generally have a soft-to-touch outer cover. That’s because beach soccer involves playing barefoot. A beach ball is also not rugged enough to withstand playing on concrete or any other type of rough terrain.
Soccer balls used in official matches are of the highest quality. They require less force when hit and less spin in order to hit the target. They’re quite light and easy to control and also provide better traction. The term “match soccer balls” is usually reserved for balls used on traditional firm or soft ground soccer fields. Their rebound may be a bit too much for some artificial fields.
A training soccer ball is just about as durable as a soccer ball gets. It is designed for many hours of intense use and is thus a little heavier than a match ball. The cover feels harder to the touch. Combined with the thicker and heavier bladder, this creates a less controllable ball for finesse strikes.
An everyday-use soccer ball can be used on any type of field. It can also be made from rubber or synthetic leather, with the former being the premier low-budget material choice for concrete playgrounds. These balls offer decent control, but you can’t bend them like Beckham no matter how hard you try. They’re not always perfectly calibrated in regards to weight or aerodynamics.
Soccer balls have two main components: the bladder and the outer cover. Bladders are generally made either of rubber or rubber-like materials that can maintain high pressure and withstand consistent striking.
The outer cover, the part that you constantly hit, is generally made of synthetic leather. Synthetic leather has proven to be easier to work with and obviously easier to mass produce. At the same time, synthetic leather drastically alters the weight of a soccer ball, making it lighter and easier to control, as opposed to thick leather balls of old.
Although less popular, rubber can also be used for the cover. This is less common these days, but some companies still make rubber soccer balls for use on concrete pitches or playgrounds. Rubber soccer balls sting particularly hard when you catch a strike. They also have an impressive rebound even though they are usually a lot heavier than size 5 professional soccer balls.
The sizing of soccer balls was designed to accommodate different age groups as well as men’s vs. women’s soccer competitions. For a long time, women have been using soccer balls about half a size smaller than men in international and domestic competitions.
There’s also a difference in ball size when it comes to indoor vs. outdoor use. As already mentioned, indoor balls or futsal soccer balls are smaller in general, not just because they’re less inflated. They weigh the same as a grass-match soccer ball, but a futsal ball will still feel heavier and offer more resistance when hit.
Now, soccer balls have universal sizes regardless of manufacturer:
Size 1 soccer balls are almost like training balls in the sense that they can’t be used in matches. But they are very small, sometimes as small as 18” in circumference. Their main purpose is to help players develop footwork.
Size 3 soccer balls are also called junior soccer balls. They’re recommended for U8 (under 8 years) players for both training and matches. Size 3 balls are between 23 and 24 inches.
Size 4 or youth soccer balls are generally used between the ages of 8 and 12. They’re one or two inches smaller in circumference than professional soccer balls.
These are professional balls used by adult soccer players and players over the age of 12. They’re between 27 and 28 inches in circumference.
Adidas is one of the most recognizable names in the world of soccer equipment. Although it has decades of experience, it wasn’t until the 2006/07 season of the UEFA Champions League that the Adidas Finale series soccer balls were used in all stages of the competition, including the lower ones, and sometimes in the later qualifying matches too.
Wilson is another brand synonymous with excellence when it comes to sports gear. And, although most people recognize Wilson from sports like basketball, tennis, golf, and others, Wilson soccer balls have a great reputation. They’re often simple in design but engineered for perfection.
But they’re not the only game in town, seeing as almost all major sports manufacturers make soccer balls: Nike, Reebok, Puma, Umbro, Select, Spalding, and so on.
Prices of soccer balls are all over the place. And with so many manufacturers making soccer balls in all sizes, it can be really hard to tell which model offers better value for the money.
Training balls and indoor balls tend to be cheaper than match balls. But high-quality training balls that are made to last for years can catch up in pricing to premium match balls.
It’s important to note that branding is also a big factor in regards to the pricing of soccer balls. Match balls made for specific competitions will have a higher retail value than regular match balls of equal performance.
Almost everyone plays with a size 5 soccer ball. It’s the same size used in professional competitions by adults. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to practice your skills and strikes with the same type of ball you’ll be using for the rest of your life.
However, if you’re talking about futsal, then your ball should be smaller, up to one size smaller. Kids can also use smaller balls such as size 3 or size 4 soccer balls. That being said, a size 5 soccer ball is still more appealing, especially if you consider how fast kids outgrow stuff.
Soccer balls are generally made of either synthetic leather or rubber. But it’s important to realize that the design of the soccer ball involves multiple components and combinations of materials.
Synthetic leather is only used for the cover. Rubber can be used as a cover but also for the bladder inside the outer cover.
Various types of cloth can also be used in making a soccer ball. Cotton laces were also once part of the design as they were used to hold down the panels of genuine letter. These days, stronger materials are used for stitching.
U8 players can use two types of soccer balls: size 3 and size 4. U8 soccer teams rarely have many kids that aren’t almost 8. While size 4 balls are recommended for youngsters, well-developed kids can easily play with size 4 balls, even if they still don’t qualify for U8 teams.
Professional soccer balls, size 5 balls, tend to weigh between 14 and 16 oz. — at least that’s what FIFA demands at official competitions. Most other soccer organizations tend to follow the same guidelines even though they are not obligated to do so.
However, unless you’re strictly talking about professional, match-quality, size 5 soccer balls, the weight can differ a lot. Training balls for one are heavier because they’re more durable and use thicker materials while keeping the same size.
Futsal balls are roughly the same weight as size 5 soccer balls, but because they’re a bit deflated, they have a heavier feel.
Glider soccer balls are usually designed for general use. They’re not necessarily as precise in construction as match balls, and they also lack the superior durability of training balls.
A glider soccer ball is a ball that anyone could afford to buy and use on the beach or at the park, or even to practice dribble moves and juggling at home.
There’s certain stiffness to the PU cover, but the overall ball feel is not as rigid as that of a training ball. It’s also worth mentioning that some soccer fans and critics may refer to glider soccer balls as low-end products with cool aesthetics but limited performance.
Choosing a soccer ball sure doesn’t come easy. You can be the biggest fan or a first-timer, and you’ll probably have the same amount of luck with selecting the best ball for your level of expertise, footwear, and field.
If you’ve made it throughout the buyer’s guide, you can probably tell by now which ball is our favorite and why we think it’s the best soccer ball on this list. Wilson’s traditional soccer ball is just too much of a throwback to simpler times compared to almost anything else on the market. It’s also well-built, it has good spin, and a price point that’s hard to beat regardless of size.
However, if you’re looking for game-ready balls, you might as well invest in a Nike 2018-2019 EPL Strike soccer ball. If it’s good enough for players making tens of millions of dollars per year, it’s good enough for anyone else playing on a professional soccer stadium.