Looking for a decent soccer ball? The time was when you were looking for a soccer ball you just popped into your local toy store, paid a few dollars and headed off to the local park. Times have changed and, today, soccer is big business as is the market in soccer balls. With so many manufacturers making so many claims about their latest high-tech ball, just how do you find the best soccer ball available in your price range?
For all those budding Pelés, Maradona’s and Messi’s out there (how come nobody wants to be a defender or goalkeeper?) I have put together a guide to the Top Ten most popular and best selling soccer balls available. While having the best soccer ball at your feet will not necessarily make you a better player, every little helps and a quality ball will at least increase your enjoyment of the beautiful game and, quite possibly, your accuracy and ball control. Well, you gotta have faith, don’t you?
What to Look for in a Good Soccer Ball
A ball is just a ball, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple any more. Some important things to consider are what the ball is constructed of, what material is used for the lining or bladder and, to state the obvious, the size of ball you require, which will depend on the ages of the players and the ball’s intended use, be it for training or match games.
- Construction. Top quality soccer balls are made from one of three materials.
- Poly Vinyl Carbonate (PVC). This is the cheapest material and used mainly for training and cheaper soccer balls.
- Polyurethane (PU). Higher quality, more expensive and used for match balls.
- A mix of both PVC and PU.
PU soccer balls are softer than their PVC cousins and a PU covered PVC ball makes for a better touch and responsiveness. For this reason, many players opt for the PVC/PU mix.
- Bladder. The choice is between a Latex or Butyl Latex is the norm at the higher levels of soccer as they tend to make the ball feel softer but require more regular inflation than the Butyl version.
- Size. For players over twelve, Size 5 is the regulation size. For younger players, a Size Four is big enough and for very young players a soccer ball Size 3 is also available.
Top 10 Soccer Balls Ranking Table
|1. Mikasa FT5 Goal Master Soccer Ball||Mikasa||PVC/PU Mix (patented Mikasa Hyde)/ Butyl Bladder||$$$||4.7|
|2. Under Armour 395 Blur Soccer Ball||Under Armour||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$$||4.5|
|3. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball (4)||Wilson||Synthetic Leather/ Butyl Bladder||$||4.4|
|4. adidas Performance Conext15 Top Glider Soccer Ball||Adidas||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$$$||4.4|
|5. Size 5 Soccer Ball - Providing Competition Quality Feel Along||Midstron Sports||PU/ Latex Bladder||$$||4.4|
|6. Brine Voracity Soccer Ball||Brine||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$$$||4.3|
|7. Nike Aerow Team Soccer Ball||Nike||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$$||4.3|
|8. adidas Performance Finale Berlin Capitano Soccer Ball||Adidas||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$||4.1|
|9. Select Sport America Numero 10 Soccer Ball||Select Sport America||PU/ Latex Bladder||$$$$||4.0|
|10. Vizari USA Soccer Ball||Vizari||PU/ Butyl Bladder||$||3.7|
Top Five Best Soccer Ball Reviews
Purists may argue that the Mikasa FT5 is not strictly a soccer ball and they may have a point. Originally designed for Footvolley, first played on the beaches of Brazil, the FT5 is extremely popular among soccer players at all levels due to its overall feel, responsiveness and ability to hold its shape.
While not being an expert on the chemical composition of the patented Mikasa Hyde Cover, I do know that it gives the ball the feel of a real old-fashioned leather ball but without the heaviness and hardness of the earlier balls.
Not the most expensive of quality soccer balls on the market, the Mikasa FT5 is my personal favourite ball for both practice and real games. Primarily intended for outdoor use and waterproof, the FT5 is also quite suitable for indoors and after months of serious kicking has yet to show the wear and tear you get with cheap soccer balls.
Apart from the minor detail that the ball actually goes where I want it to go (well mostly anyway), the Butyl Bladder means that the ball does not need to be constantly re-inflated as is the case with the Latex variety and, after six months of almost daily use, I have not yet had to haul out the air pump.
All in all, in terms of weight, feel and durability the Mikasa FT5 rates as … wait for it! … the best all-round ball and is well worth the reasonable investment for the quality it delivers.
There’s not a lot to choose between the Mikasa FT5 and the Under Armour 395 Blur apart from the fact that the Blur feels slightly softer due to a soft foam layer under the ball’s surface. Made of high-quality Polyurethane, the 395 Blur is suitable for match games as well as being ideal for training purposes.
As with the Mikasa FT5, the 395 Blur also contains a Butyl Bladder meaning the ball remains inflated longer and is somewhat softer to the touch. The surface panels are also cloth reinforced which aids in reducing cuts and scuff marks thus prolonging the life of the ball.
Being somewhat of a traditionalist, the 395 Blur Midnight is more to my tastes as it is white in colour and the 32 panel stitched finish just add to the old-fashioned appeal. However, the 395 Blur soccer ball also comes in a range of bright colors which appeal to many younger players and probably to older players with diminishing eyesight.
In the hunt for the best soccer ball, I would not dissuade anyone from choosing the Under Armour 395 Blur and it is only personal taste that swings me in favor of the Mikasa FT5 … but only just!
Not in the same league as the Mikasa FT5 and 395 Blur but I really like the Wilson soccer ball. Relatively inexpensive, it does exactly what it says on the tin and takes me back to those afternoon kickabouts with old friends who have since hung up their boots.
The Traditional Soccer Ball is exactly that. Black and white with the old style panels, the Wilson is not up to match standard but is perfect for friendly games or a Sunday afternoon game in the park. The ball is constructed from synthetic leather, which is far preferable to plastic and has a Butyl Bladder.
You won’t see the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball gracing the pitch at the World Cup Finals but you will certainly see hundreds in the local parks and with good reason. As a relatively inexpensive, yet good quality, soccer ball the Wilson takes some beating … and kicking!
As you would expect from Adidas this is a quality soccer ball. Only on the market this year, the Conext15 is the successor to the Brazuca ball used at the 2014 World Cup and the most tested soccer ball in the history of Adidas.
Constructed of high-quality polyurethane and with a Butyl Bladder, the Conext15 feels deceptively light to the touch but still flies straight and true.
While the Conext15 is not the cheapest option for a good soccer ball, it rates highly in terms of keeping its shape and durability and is an excellent choice for both training and serious football.
The Poseidon Soccer Ball from Midstron Sports is another good quality product constructed from Polyurethane. Not only does it look good with its traditional 32 panel design but it also performs well as a training ball and is suitable for friendly games.
However, and this is just personal taste, the Latex Bladder tends to make the ball bounce a bit higher than the Butyl version and may take a bit of getting used to. I also find that the Latex Bladder deflates quicker than Butyl and the ball will need more regular maintenance.
That said, the Poseidon Soccer Ball is still a great product and well worth its reasonable price tag.