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Playing with a good soccer ball is fun, isn’t it?
But what about buying one?
“How difficult could it be” is what we all think!
At least till we see the hundreds of options available in the market.
They come in all kinds of designs, brands, prices, and more.
And it’s safe to say that finding a good ball can seem a lot like finding a needle in a haystack!
But you have nothing to fear!
We’ve done most of the work for you and shortlisted five of the top balls for playing soccer you can find today.
We understand the importance of the ball.
Essentially, a less than optimal ball would take all the fun away from soccer.
And soccer has always been one of the most fun and famous sports globally!
We used each of these five products extensively to give you an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of each of them.
Without further ado, let’s get straight to the fun stuff!
1. Under Armour DESAFIO
The numero uno spot on our list of recommendations goes to the DESAFIO 395 from the reputed brand of Under Armour.
Under Armour is one of those brands that every soccer player and enthusiast knows, if not already tried!
So what made us select this one as our top pick?
The DESAFIO 395 has an excellent and authentic rebound.
In fact, no other piece in its price range can compete with it in that department.
It allows young players to get an insight into ball movement in different situations, which is crucial for improving overall soccer skills.
We know that you are less likely to think of balls for soccer when you hear the brand name of Under Armour.
It is undeniably more famous for its apparel, but the DESAFIO 395 is a top-notch item and deserved the first spot on this list.
Straight off the bat, we loved the high-rebound rubber bladder.
We recommend it to all the developing players who want to take their soccer skills to the next level.
One of the key highlights of the DESAFIO 395 is its affordable price range.
You will most likely not find a better ball that costs less than 40 bucks.
If value for money is what you’re looking for, this ball won’t disappoint one bit!
When it comes to versatility, this incredible product scores yet another goal!
It is available in sizes 3 to 5. And you can choose from six color options.
Did we mention that the ball came fully inflated and beautifully packaged?
Although it is not a premium product, it should last at least a couple of seasons of standard play.
We were a bit disappointed to see that the ball barely lasted for more than one season.
2. Adidas Glider
Are you a Major League Soccer fan?
If yes, then this next recommendation will make your eyes twinkle with joy!
The Adidas Performance MLS Glider is perfect for every die-hard MLS fan out there.
But that doesn’t mean it’s only for MLS fans – it makes an excellent choice for nearly all soccer players.
Apart from the MLS series design, there are a couple of standout features of the Glider.
It has a durable thermoplastic polyurethane exterior and a butyl bladder.
You can use this ball on wet grass and in the rain without any hassle.
And it comes fully inflated, ready to be kicked around!
We selected the MLS Glider after seeing its average rating of 4.1 out of 5, which is based on over 1,800 customer reviews on Amazon.
There have to be some reasons for thousands of people liking this one, right?
And when we finally got it at our doorstep, we knew exactly why it is so popular among soccer players.
First of all, it has a very soft feel, which is quite similar to premium (expensive) balls.
With the MLS Glider, you get to practice using an almost match-like ball.
So you won’t be required to change your game much in a professional match.
Its machine-stitched panels, nylon lining, and TPU outer casing makes it one of the most durable balls in its price range.
Moreover, it is an exceptional bargain at a mere price of 20 dollars, mainly because of its long-lasting butyl bladder.
Although it is not much of a big deal, you won’t have to waste any time and effort inflating it.
You can choose from more than a score of color options and all five sizes.
There isn’t much to not love about the MLS Glider.
The sizes do not coincide with the regulation sizes, especially size 5, which feels more like a 4.5.
3. GoSports Premier
Although GoSports does not command goodwill as strong as Adidas or Under Armour does, the Premier product is an excellent budget training ball.
It comes for 40 dollars and includes a premium inflation pump.
You can choose from three size options between 3 and 5.
You won’t get a better bargain when it comes to buying balls for soccer.
The Premier ball is available in a pack of six balls, including a premium pump and ball bag.
These balls feature an attractive design with the color combination of white, red, and blue.
When it comes to training, much is demanded out of a ball.
And we can vouch for the GoSports Premier product to be your safest bet in that regard.
Its machine-stitched panels ensure long-lasting and sustainable performance.
We especially liked the ball’s synthetic leather cover, which can effectively resist abrasions from rough use.
Moreover, it does not deteriorate the optimum feel during footwork.
But nothing comes close to the sheer value for money it provides if you opt to buy the six-pack.
We recommend it to team managers and coaches because they need to keep a stock of them.
If that wasn’t enough to make you want to buy this product, you also get a premium inflation pump with it (along with a ball bag if you buy the pack).
You can use the pump at regular intervals to ensure that the ball has optimal air pressure.
Although it isn’t too significant, we liked the thoughtful storage of the needle in the pump’s handle, as it makes it much more convenient.
You cannot get an indestructible ball, especially at a low price.
As good as the Premier ball for soccer is, it is not durable enough to last long sessions of long-range kicking drills.
4. Adidas Capitano
The penultimate recommendation on this list comes from a brand that needs no introduction – Adidas.
The Capitano is available in sizes 3 to 5 and more than a score of different color and design options.
It comes at a very reasonable price and makes for an excellent piece.
The Capitano from Adidas is a hard-wearing ball that offers excellent bounce.
Machine-stitched construction, coupled with a butyl bladder makes it a durable option.
If you are a die-hard soccer fan, you will be pleased to know that it is a replica of a match ball from European Qualifiers.
Irrespective of the color and design option you choose, you can rest assured that the Capitano will catch everyone’s attention as it makes its way through the ground.
That’s what we expect from a match ball replica – a stylish and eye-catching look with unparalleled visibility!
We especially liked the butyl bladder in this ball, it gives you the best of both worlds to a certain extent – the look and feel of a match ball and the longevity of a training ball.
Overall, this product has stood the test of time and stayed in good shape after several practice sessions.
It does lose some air after a while, but that’s the case with almost every ball for soccer.
We used this ball on both natural and artificial grass surfaces, and it worked fine.
However, it is not meant for hard surfaces.
Unlike most of the other balls in its price range, it comes deflated.
Although it is not a deal-breaker, we expect to get an inflated, ready-to-play ball at a price exceeding 50 bucks.
5. Adidas World Cup Top Glider
The final piece we have picked for you is another exceptional Adidas product.
The World Cup Top Glider has an impressive average rating of 4.2 out of 5 based on over 180 customer reviews on Amazon.
It is available in two colors – White/Red and White/Black/Silver Metallic.
Adidas offers the Argentina soccer ball from the FIFA World Cup 2018 held in Russia.
It is available in size 5 for adults.
You will not find a match ball replica at such an attractive price – the World Cup Top Glider could be yours for as low as 25 bucks.
The final recommendation is another match ball replica from Adidas.
The World Cup Top Glider functions as an excellent training ball and can be used to improve your soccer skills.
For $25, it is one of the most reasonable branded options you can find in the market.
We especially liked how durable this product is.
The exterior is 100% thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
And it has a butyl bladder, which facilitates prolonged air retention.
The panels on this ball are machine-stitched for added durability and softness.
Whether it is long-range kicks, penalty kicks, or short passes – you can use this ball to practice and hone your soccer skills.
The stylish design and color combination of white with red is a bonus, as it ensures visibility on all kinds of surfaces.
It is equipped to stand the test of time, as long as you treat it with respect and not abuse it.
The ball doesn’t come inflated, meaning that you would have to buy a pump (in case you don’t own one).
We expect Adidas balls to come inflated!
Several factors determine how good a ball for soccer is!
And you must pay close attention to these factors before selecting one to buy.
Sure, reading the reviews of other buyers is a good starting point. But do not forget that utility is subjective!
You need to focus on the pros and cons based on your requirements and budget constraints.
However, we recommend assessing the quality by looking at the following five generic factors:
Today, nearly all soccer ball casings are made using PVC or polyurethane, which are significantly lighter than traditionally used leather.
Most players today will find a leather ball to be too heavy and will likely not be able to play at all.
PVC balls are the most reasonable of the lot and also the most durable.
These balls feature a harder exterior and are often used as indoor balls.
Polyurethane (PU) balls are more expensive and usually higher quality relative to PVC balls.
They are more responsive and soft to the touch.
You will often find a glossy coating on PU balls to reduce scuffing and water absorption.
You get them in five different sizes.
But how do you select the right size?
- Size 1 is a miniature ball mainly used for recreational purposes and not for serious practice. Young kids can use these balls to hone their footwork and overall soccer skills.
- Size 2 is a half-sized ball that is best suited for children up to the age of four.
- Size 3 is perfect for youth soccer. These balls feel the same to a kid as a full-sized ball feels to an adult.
- Size 4 is a tad bit smaller than regulation size.
- Size 5 is the regulation or full-sized ball that is used by all male and female players over the age of 14. These balls are used professionally.
The panels are the octagon-shaped quilts visible on the exterior.
FIFA-approved balls for soccer contain 32 panels, but other balls may contain 18 or 26 panels.
How do these panels affect the ball?
In terms of how the ball flies!
There are three commonly used methods of creating the panels – hand-stitching, machine-stitching, and thermal bonding.
There isn’t one correct way of doing it.
The general rule of thumb states that the lower the number of panels, the stronger and more water-resistant it will be.
The bladder is not visible to the players, but it is perhaps the most integral part.
It is the interior that holds the air.
Two materials are commonly used for the bladder – butyl, and latex.
Professional soccer balls often consist of a latex bladder as it is softer.
Butyl bladders provide relatively higher air retention, making it ideal for practice and regular use.
After all, who wants to reflate every day?
The standard inflation lies in the range of 9 to 10.5 pounds of air.
Linings separate the bladder from the outer casing.
Top-notch balls often have at least four layers of lining to ensure optimal bounce, protection, and structure.
Linings are usually made using a mixture of polyester and cotton.
Types of Balls for Soccer
You must choose the right type.
You would have to choose from one of these four types:
As the name suggests, training balls are meant to be tough to get you through rigorous soccer practice sessions.
They can be used on nearly all surface types and should ideally last for a long time.
Match balls are of superior quality than training balls and likewise, cost more.
They are used for soccer matches and are required to comply with all the size requirements other regulations applicable professionally.
Turf balls don’t do well on real grass surfaces.
They were designed for AstroTruf and other artificial surfaces that feel like grass.
Turf balls are some of the most affordable and hard-wearing items you can find.
Premium Match Balls
Premium match balls are the most expensive ones you can find.
FIFA approves them for international matches.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to soccer balls, some FAQs keep cropping up in the minds of the majority of us.
Let’s answer them once and for all!
A. What size do you need?
The size is directly proportional to the age of the player.
For ages eight and under, a size three will work best.
For players aged 9 to 12 years, a size four is ideal.
And for players aged 13 years and up, a size five would be perfect!
B. How long does a soccer ball last?
If you maintain and use it properly, a quality ball should ideally last for at least a couple of years.
If you abuse it and do not maintain it, even the greatest ball may not last more than a season.
C. How can you deflate a soccer ball?
You can deflate them without a pump.
Carefully insert a moist inflation needle into the valve and gently apply pressure to flatten the ball slowly.
Players prefer deflating a ball for storage.
D. How is a soccer ball affected by temperature?
Temperature affects them in terms of its bounce and how far it will go when it is kicked.
The gas molecules inside will expand with a rise in temperature leading to an increase in their energy.
So, a hot ball will bounce higher and travel farther than a cold ball.
E. What is the optimal air pressure for a soccer ball?
The optimal air pressure for the majority of balls lies in the range of 6 to 8 pounds per square inch.
However, FIFA recommends higher air pressure for professional balls for soccer.
Buying a soccer ball is no joke!
When we were kids, we would have never thought that there is so much that goes into choosing a proper product.
At the end of the day, it’s not possible to shortlist one item that would be perfect for every player out there.
The ball that works best for you depends on your budget, skill level, practice surface, and many more subjective factors.
Having said that, we are confident that this guide will help you select one of the top soccer balls to purchase.