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January 27

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The Best Footballs to Buy For Training Sessions and Competitive Matches [2021 Buying Guide]


Last Updated on June 18, 2021 by Samuel Waihenya

Disclaimer: Index Scholar is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk (source: Section 5). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The beautiful game has come a long way with regard to the accessibility and technological advancements that have improved football products.

For it was not too long ago when me and my friends at school used to play with makeshift footballs that were composed with any malleable materials that we could find lying around.

We’d form a ball shape from the materials we collected and then tie them all together with a few rubber bands!

Nostalgia at its absolute finest.

In today’s world, football fans have their pick of finely constructed and expertly stitched size 5 footballs for very affordable prices.

The abundance of choice can present a bit of a selection dilemma for customers, which is why I decided to publish an article dedicated to reviewing the best footballs to buy.

In summary, here are my top picks:

Image

Product

Features

 Rating


Our #1 Rated

Mitre Delta Plus Professional Football

  • Made from hyperfoam material

  • Weighs 360 grams

91%

Best Value

Adidas Unisex Adult Team Training Pro Football

  • Sleek pattern for enhancing visibility

  • Innovativeoctagon panel design

72%

Best Budget 

High Living Professional Match Soccer Ball
  • Soft foam lining

  • Suitable for all weather or surface types

71%

Optimum Classico Football

  • Created with shiny PVC

  • 32 panel design specification

61%

If you’re looking for details on the factors to consider when buying a football, you’re in the right place.

I’m now going to start by talking about how one goes about selecting a football to purchase.

So, let’s begin.

 

How do I pick a good football?

To answer the aforementioned question, the first thing you need to think about is the playing surface that you intend to use the football on.

In my article on the best astro turf boots to buy, I detailed the different type of playing surfaces that you will find at the sports venues of today.

To put it quite simply, a game of football today can be played on either of the following grass surfaces:

  • Natural turf pitches
  • Synthetic pitches
  • 2G, 3G or 4G pitches
  • Hybrid pitches

But the list doesn’t stop there, as football can also be played on indoor courts (futsal) or even on a busy street or quiet alleyway!

So, as a buyer you will need to figure out which surface you intend to play on the most as this will enable you to narrow down on your selection.

This is because a standard football purchased for training and playing competitive matches on grass will not be suitable for use on indoor courts; when playing on the streets or even on a sandy beach.

Now that you understand that, let’s discuss the size spectrum.

 

What size of football should I buy?

Footballs come in a standard circular shape across the board, but they are sold in a fairly broad range of different sizes.

These sizes range from 1 (mini) to 5 (professional).

best footballs to buy - size guide
Source – Mitre

More specifically, the Football Association have published guidelines on ball sizes for different age groups, which are as follows:

  • Under 7s, Under 8s, Under 9s and Under 10s – Size 3 ball
  • Under 11s, Under 12s, Under 13s and Under 14s – Size 4 ball
  • Under 15s, Under 16s, Under 17s and Under 18s – Size 5 ball

If you want to hone your technical skills or simply need a ball for a little toddler to play with, a smaller size 2 or size 1 ball would be recommended.

On the other hand, there are different specifications when it comes to playing on indoor futsal pitches.

Here the FA recommends that younger players under 12 years of age should use a size 3 ball, whilst players who are 13 years old and onwards should play with a size 4 ball.

The next factor you need to consider is durability, and this is where the material of the football you buy is really important.

 

What material should the football be made of?

We Print Balls – a custom sports ball and equipment manufacturer – states that the outer surface of a football is usually made of synthetic leather and not full grain leather.

They also emphasise that footballs comprise of four different components, which are:

  • The cover
  • The stitching
  • The lining
  • The bladder

Synthetic leathers are usually made from two materials called polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The former is said to be a more durable material and footballs made from polyurethane are often used by players and clubs at semi-professional and professional levels of the sport.

Footballs made with polyvinyl chloride are sold cheaply on the marketplace and are often used for things like promotional events or practice sessions.

Another consideration that a buyer would need to take into account before making their purchase is the type of internal bladder that was used in the construction of the ball.

The bladder is what holds the air inside the football as it acts as an inner tube, and is made from either latex or butyl.

Butyl bladders retain the air for much longer periods of time than their latex counterparts, as footballs made from the latter often require frequent inflation.

However, latex bladders are said to provide better surface tension which translates into better contact performance when a person strikes the ball with their foot.

Now that you’ve gained an awareness and appreciation for the intricacy of a football’s construction, it’s time to talk about budget.

 

How much do I need to spend to get a good football?

The answer to this question is – it depends.

For the football fanatics who like to emulate the professional match experience to every fine detail by doing things like putting on shin pads, wearing base layers and sporting full length socks, a premium football would be a perfect choice.

These often cost from as little as £60 to as much as £140, which you will realise later on in this article.

Conversely, the cheaper match balls and training balls which suit the more casual player are often in the £25 to £50 price range, whilst the bargain basement options feature from about as low as £2.

It’s safe to say however, that the lower priced options are usually of a much lower build quality than the premiums.

With all that being said, you’re ready to finalise your search for the best footballs to buy.

I’ve made this process much easier for you by compiling detailed reviews on some of the most popular choices available in today’s market.

Let’s now dig into the good stuff!

 

1. Nike Premier League Flight Football

Nike Premier League Flight Football
  • 3D printed ink helps sharpen the ball flying
  • ACC technology that adds a texture to grip to ensure a consistent contact in wet or dry conditions
  • 4 Panels fused create a larger sweet spot on the ball to give powerful blows

Nike are well known for making fantastic products at the higher end of the budget range.

Th official match ball for the 2020 /21 English Premier League season is no different.

Nike are said to have invested thousands of man hours into designing this football and this fact shows in the way its presented.

The 3D printed ink on the ball helps fine tune the flight of the ball when it is struck, and what’s more impressive is that its fuse-welded 4-panel construction creates a large sweet spot on the ball which is tailored for powerful strikes.

 

Benefits
  • Excellent craftsmanship as the moulded grooves within the design serve to reduce unexpected movement when the ball is struck
  • Thoroughly honed and tested as Nike’s research and product development team put in over 8 years of work and 1800 hours of testing to design it
Drawbacks
  • Fairly expensive

 

2. Adidas Unisex Adult Team Training Pro Football

Adidas Unisex Team Training Pro Football
  • Durable TPU material
  • Butyl bladder for long lasting air retention
  • Modern pattern for good visibility

Adidas are not too far behind Nike when it comes to developing fantastic footballs.

If you’re like me you will distinctly remember the Jabulani model that was the official ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

That ball delivered swerve and dip like no other ball that I’ve seen before, best exemplified by some of the amazing goals at that tournament.

Here’s an insightful video on that ball:

This Adidas team training ball however, is good for casual kickabouts and intense training sessions alike.

It is made from a very durable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material, and it features a butyl bladder that is said to provide longer lasting air retention.

More so, the white/solar yellow/black colour combination is a great modern ball pattern that provides a good level of visibility on the field.

 

Benefits
  • The ball is very lightweight which makes for some scintillating goals when struck correctly
  • Sturdy enough to be used on multiple surfaces (e.g. grass, concrete, etc.) without excessive wear on the outer skin
Drawbacks
  • Air retention not as good as advertised, requiring the occasional repump

 

3. Mitre Delta Plus Professional Football

Sale
Mitre Delta Plus Professional Football
  • Delivering control, accuracy and power, this is Mitre’s mid-level professional ball and it’s approved by FIFA, so you can be sure of its quality
  • When you kick the ball, you want it to fly straight and true, that’s why Mitre crafted the laminated power bladder catching the top corner of the net has never been easier
  • Play your best, whatever the weather Mitre’s revolutionary Hyperseam technology means almost zero water uptake, helping your ball last longer

Mitre is a brand that brings back the memories.

There was always a bit of banter amongst my peer group that the global manufacturer used to make the hardest footballs known to man.

However, multiple reviewers safely attest to the fact that this football is very different.

It is machine stitched together with a foam backed polyurethane (PU) material, which is said to offer a well-balanced soft touch when coming into contact with a person’s foot.

The distinct 14-panel configuration of the ball and its hyper foam material is designed to deliver more of a player’s kick power into the ball whilst retaining optimum circular shape and size control.

This ball is also versatile in the sense that it can be used quite comfortably on natural grass as well as astro turf surfaces.

And as a further testament to this product’s quality, FIFA has stamped it with its very own FIFA Pro Quality accreditation mark.

Top notch indeed!

 

Benefits
  • Very robust product that handles heavy usage on astro turf surfaces over long periods of time, with no visible wear and tear or delamination of the outer polyurethane (PU) material
  • Great air retention
  • Arrives partly inflated (85 – 90% full)
  • Water resistant through the use of hyper seam technology which promises almost zero water uptake
Drawbacks
  • Doesn’t come with an adapter to help with pumping it up to maximum capacity

 

4. Optimum Classico Football

Optimum Classico Football
  • Complete Control: The Optimum Classico Football is crafted for football enthusiasts and players that allows them to have full control of their football game. The ball is perfect for training and for recreational football games.
  • High Specification: Optimum are known to for creating top quality products that guarantee customer satisfaction. With Classico Football, Optimum have manufactured it to have high specifications of its size and shape, and thus helps provide players with an ideal practice and training routine. It also has 32 panels and weighs 290-310 grams.
  • Lasts Long: If you need a football that can withstand the strongest strikes and kicks, then you’re on the right product. The ball is shipped deflated so we recommend that you get the Optimum pump to inflate your ball.

This football is a very popular choice in the budget range.

It features an impressive design having been crafted from shiny polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material, and it has a 2-ply lining.

The ball comes available in three distinct colourways:

  1. Black / Fluro
  2. Black / Red
  3. Black / Blue

It also boasts high specification with regard to the way in which it was manufactured, as it comprises of 32 panels and weighs in at approximately 300 grams.

Lastly, the ball promises users’ complete control with a durable design that can withstand strong kicks and hard impacts.

 

Benefits
  • Affordable price making it an ideal option for those on a tight budget
  • A great option for the younger kids to play with
Drawbacks
  • The quality of the stitching is said to be below par
  • Does not inflate easily and is prone to losing air even with standard usage

 

5. High Living Match Training Soccer Ball

High Living Match Training Soccer Ball
  • High quality training football: the high living football is crafted for football enthusiasts and players that allows them to have full control of their football game. The ball comes deflated
  • Suitable for all weather or surface Type: high quality soccer ball is suitable for all type of Weather and For all type of surfaces i-e a grass or AstroTurf surface. Soft foam lining ensures first touch and cushioned impact to aid development
  • Lightweight and durable design: lightweight design helps to improve player confidence when stepping Up to the next size ball - helping develop the players of tomorrow. Suitable for young players making the step up to the senior game

Here is another small brand that has created a quality product.

This football is suitable for all weather conditions or surface types.

It features a soft foam lining that makes the ball easier to control on a player’s first touch.

When it comes to the outer material, this ball is made from a shiny polyurethane (PU) leather and its textured surface manipulates air-flow in order to streamline the ball’s flight and increase a player’s shot accuracy.

It also uses high contrast colour graphics to aid visual tracking when in use on a playing surface.

 

Benefits
  • The material is as durable as advertised, with multiple reviewers attesting to long-lasting usage even when hit against hard surfaces like concrete
  • Weighted to a professional standard, meaning it’s not too heavy and not excessively lightweight
Drawbacks
  • Difficult to inflate to maximum capacity which leads to the ball not being as firm and bouncy as it should be

And that brings me to the end of the review section.

I will now answer some common questions that surround the topic of footballs before giving my final recommendation.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How long does a good football last?

The lifespan of a football will definitely vary on a case by case basis.

But from my own playing experience over the years, I can say that a quality football will arguably last a minimum of 3 months of regular use on a natural grass surface, with minimal re-inflation required.

 

Do I need to clean my football after every use?

You should definitely wipe your football after use.

You will want to use a dry cloth to wipe any moisture off of the ball, as water and leather are not a good match.

Failure to keep a football dry can lead to the leather losing its lustre and flexibility, which eventually leads to a hardening and eventual breaking of the fabric.

This point is backed up here, as synthetics like polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) aren’t as durable as real leather meaning they can crack and peel relatively quickly.

 

How much air should I pump into my football?

According to FIFA’s rule specifications, a regular size 5 ball must be between 68cm to 70cm in circumference and should be inflated to a pressure of between 0.6 and 1.1 bars (8.5 and 15.6 psi) at sea level.

If you add any more air pressure than the aforementioned requirement, you risk damaging the integrity of the ball and increasing the chances of a tear in the stitching by making it lop-sided.

On the flip side, too little pressure means the ball will not have enough bounce to it when it’s kicked.

 

Final Recommendation

I can seriously vouch for the quality and overall performance of the Mitre Delta Plus Professional Football.

It’s a winner firstly because it sits at the right price point – not too expensive unlike the Nike Premier League Flight.

But even more importantly, it arguably offers the best combination of robustness and air retention, with the added uniqueness of water resistance to solidify it as “the icing on the cake” which ultimately makes it my standout pick.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a message down below.

Until next time!

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About the Author 

Samuel Waihenya is 24 years of age and has been watching, discussing as well as playing football for a period of more than 10 years. With a solid educational background in business management, the Index Scholar website is his first foray into the digital web space and it has been created with the intention of providing the absolute best football content for its readership.