There are several ways to define the best soccer ball for the money. A lot depends on how you play the game. If you’re a serious athlete, you’ll probably choose one that is FIFA-approved (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) with top performance and durability key features. However, if you’re just kicking it around at the park, you find a product that meets your needs at an affordable price.
Our guide will consider both ends of the spectrum.
We’ll look at the traits that influence gameplay and price. We’ll also explore the tradeoffs you make with different products. Of course, there is plenty of room for discussion about other things that make playing the game fun, such as the style of the ball.
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In a Hurry? Compare the Best Option Here:
|Wilson NCAA Forte Fybrid II Soccer Ball (EA)
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|Under Armour DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball, Size 5, White/Black
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|adidas Manchester United Capitano Soccer Ball Black/Grey Three/App Solar Red 3
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|DERBYSTAR 2019/2020 Bundesliga Mini Soccer Ball, White, Size 1
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|Senda Rio Premium Training Low-Bounce Futsal Ball, Fair Trade Certified
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1. Wilson NCAA Forte Fybrid II Soccer Cup Game Ball
The Wilson NCAA Forte Fybrid II Soccer Cup Game Ball is an excellent choice for someone looking for top performance and is willing to pay for it. It’s also a good example of the advanced R&D in this industry with the company’s proprietary Fybrid Fused Technology. It is a hybrid PU with 20 panels. It has decent water resistance. The bladder is elastomeric-carbon with a Japanese G10 foam lining.
The soccer ball is NCAA-compliant and both FIFA and NFHS-approved. It weighs in at 15.2 ounces. The grip is impressive with great balance. The acceleration is also top-notch. The product stands out with its unique construction. The difference is noticeable the first time you use it. Everything about it is lively and responsive.
- The casing provides outstanding control.
- The design is attractive and easy to track on the field.
- The construction has an optimal striking surface.
- It’s extremely responsive
- The soccer ball is expensive, the most spendy of all we reviewed.
- It deflates quicker than we expected.
2. Under Armour DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball
The Under Armour DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball surprises on many levels in a good kind of way. The product uses the manufacturer’s own Touchskin technology. The PU casing with the SBR foam layer is a winning combination for control and comfort. The results are impressive. It’s durable and can take a lot of punishment with losing air quickly. The color options are attractive, too.
The performance of the ball is worth noting, too. It is well-made, although the surface scratches easily. That said, it’s a good choice if you play on grass or turf. It would show its wear on concrete or indoor fields. However, the colors will lose their luster and fade over time in the sun. These points aren’t necessarily dealbreakers, given the quality of the construction.
- Ball control is excellent.
- The color choices provide optimal visibility.
- It keeps its shape without having to inflate it constantly.
- It is affordably priced.
- The soccer ball scratches easier than we’d like to see.
- The colors are not fade-resistant.
3. Adidas Capitano Soccer Ball
The Adidas Capitano Soccer Ball is a fine choice for overall use that won’t break the bank. It weighs in at 12 ounces, so it’s not regulation. It has a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) cover with machine stitching and a butyl bladder. The combination provides both durability and good air retention. It comes in 21 color schemes to please just about everyone. We consider it a good entry-level product.
The soccer ball has the look of a premium match product, which we liked. While it doesn’t handle that way exactly, it’s an affordable option for kicking around at the park. It does a reasonable job for what it is at a consumer-friendly price. On the downside, it can take a beating if left in the sun. While the bounce is good, some may find that it lacks something in comfort.
- The soccer ball is durable.
- It is easy to maintain.
- The ball provides decent accuracy and control.
- It has plenty of bounce.
- Some may find it too hard.
- The cover can crack if left in the sun too long.
4. DERBYSTAR 2019/2020 Bundesliga Replica Match Soccer Ball
The DERBYSTAR 2019/2020 Bundesliga Replica Match Soccer Ball is sure to turn some heads. It is a killer product with features as unique as its design. It ticks off a lot of the boxes we like in a quality soccer ball. The PU cover has 32 hand-stitched panels with a latex bladder. The overall result is a high-performance product that delivers the goods in style.
The soccer ball is International Match Standard-approved, which is fitting considering its design. It weighs in at 15.5 ounces. The surface is textured, which gives it plenty of grip and optimal control with accuracy. It’s worth noting that the cover is hard, which ramps down the comfort level a bit. We think it’s probably a better choice for seasoned players who are used to equipment of this caliber.
- It is a good-looking replica.
- The product comes with a one-year warranty on the stitching.
- The soccer ball does an excellent job of retaining its pressure and bounce.
- It has the backing of the DFL.
- Some may find the PU construction too hard for extended play.
5. Senda Rio Premium Futsal Ball
The Senda Rio Premium Futsal Ball is the only product on our roundup of this type. It worth a look for those who want equipment for indoor soccer where a low-bounce ball is desirable. While it’s not a match-play product, it lacks nothing in fun and good looks for training. The company has other ones suitable for US Youth Futsal league play for those wanting an official version.
The soccer ball has a PU cover that is machine-stitched. The bladder is a combination of synthetic materials and latex, which brings the best of both worlds to the mix. The result is a durable product that can take the rigors of play on hard surfaces. The manufacturer is both Fair Trade-certified and a Certified B Corporation so that you can feel good about your purchase.
- The soccer ball is well-designed for durability and optimal air retention.
- The company has an excellent CSR record.
- Control using the futsal ball is top-notch.
- The manufacturer has official backing, which speaks to the quality of the product.
- There are occasional quality-control issues with the bladder.
Buying Guide for the Best Soccer Ball for the Money
The first question you have to answer when looking for the best soccer ball for the money is what is your typical gameplay? That will determine the type to get, along with the features that are most important for that style of play. It will also influence the cost of the equipment. Soccer balls alone accounted for $127.9 million in wholesale sales in 2018 in the United States.
Contrast that figure with the $32.5 million for protective gear for the same year.
The price points of soccer balls are across the board and reflect the materials and consequently, the performance and maintenance of the equipment, particularly, air retention and stitching.
Points you should consider include:
- Playing venue
- Type of ball
- Bladder and lining
- Size and weight
- Other considerations
We’ll explore each of these features in detail with advice about making the right choice for your style of gameplay.
Advances in technology have brought soccer balls suited for different venues and playing surfaces. Participation outdoors in the United States is nearly double that of indoor with 11.41 million and 5.23 million, respectively based on 2018 figures.
Then, think about where you play soccer. The ball you need for kicking it around on the street or beach is different than the one you should use on a professional field, whether it’s grass or artificial turf. The materials, for example, will impact performance and the amount of bounce you’ll get. Suffice to say that soccer balls are specialized equipment.
It’s vital to match the soccer ball to the venue. Otherwise, it may not perform or last as long as you’d like. Take it into account with cover material and construction that will handle the surface on which you will play.
Type of Ball
You’ll find a variety of soccer balls. We can categorize them broadly into professional and casual use. The former includes ones for training or match play. The latter is for just about anything else, such as indoor futsal play to street soccer. You’ll usually see this information in the product description, especially for certifications like NCAA- or FIFA-approved.
Some common descriptors you’ll see include:
- Premium match
Of these types, the training soccer balls are an excellent option for overall casual use where approved equipment isn’t required. They are usually affordably priced and offer decent durability.
The cover or casing of the soccer ball is a significant factor in both your comfort level and the durability of the equipment. These traits are integral to the balance you need to find to get the right product for you. The comfort equation is the degree of hardness or softness, which can impact your feet and ankles. Durability speaks more to long-term performance and longevity of the product.
On the low-end of the spectrum are soccer balls made with polyvinyl carbonate (PVC). They are more affordable, making them an option for casual use. However, they are also harder, which sacrifices some of your control. On the positive side, they will last. They make a good choice for use on the streets and playgrounds. Ironically, they will handle these rough surfaces better than higher-grade materials.
Polyurethane (PU) is the next step up on the material scale. It’s still is durable, but it is also easier on your feet. You’ll find these products a bit more expensive too. On the high-end are soccer balls made of synthetic leather and leather. They are much softer than the previous two. You’ll also have better control of them on the field. The tradeoff is durability.
You will see proprietary materials as well. Manufacturers like Select and Adidas are active in the development of specialized casings that can finetune performance. They are excellent offerings for serious athletes. Product descriptions will typically tout these features.
Bladder and Lining
The bladder is the part of the soccer ball that you inflate and holds the air. You’ll usually see two types, either butyl or latex. The former is essentially synthetic rubber, whereas the latter is the real deal. The options go back to the similar tradeoffs of air retention and comfort level.
Butyl is the better choice if you don’t want to stop in the middle of gameplay to pump up your soccer ball. However, it is a tougher material and will make it harder. Likewise, latex is noticeably softer often at the expense of air retention. It’s worth noting that professional players use equipment with these types of bladders versus the former.
Between the casing and bladder are multiple layers of lining. The more the product has, the better. It will help maintain its performance while also preserving its form. Polyester is a common material used for this component, although you’ll see foam, nylon, or a combination of layers.
The design involves the number and construction of the panels making up the cover of the soccer ball. It has a direct impact on lifespan and performance. The ideal number of panels is 32 because it adds reinforcement in the entire construction. You will also see products with 26 or even as low as 18. However, it’s not the piece to the puzzle.
The next consideration is the stitching. Those that are hand-stitched are the best with machine-constructed ones a close second. Less expensive products are either thermal-molded or glued with the latter the cheapest of the three types. Some manufacturers will use more than one process for added durability.
Size and Weight
A regulation-sized soccer ball is number 5. It weighs between 14 to 16 ounces (410–450 grams) with a circumference of 27 to 28 inches (68–70 centimeters), and an inflated pressure of 8.7 to 16.0 psi. It is suitable for older adolescent, college, and professional players.
There are also soccer balls sizes that range from 1 to 4. Most are for children, although you can use them for training purposes. Too. Each one has its recommended dimensions.
It may seem trivial to speak of such small variances. However, your muscles and nerve cells or neurons retain a memory of repetitive activities, like kicking and controlling a soccer ball. If you’re used to a certain size and weight, you’ll find it easier to stick with something familiar. Therefore, it’s worth taking note of the specs of your equipment.
Besides these figures, another useful measure is certifications. FIFA, for example, puts products through a rigorous set of seven tests to meet is high standards for its Quality Mark, including bounce and weight.
Generally, manufacturers ship soccer balls that are not inflated. It’s not a gauge of quality but more of the design. A butyl bladder will retain air better for the long haul. On a side note, it can mean cheaper delivery costs with a smaller package.
Some companies will offer a warranty on their products. You’ll most likely see it with higher-end products than soccer balls marketed for casual use. We recommend inflating it when you receive it to take advantage of your return window. We’d also suggest reading the terms carefully. There is some maintenance involved with this piece of equipment, primarily geared toward protecting the cover.
Tasks typically include things such as keeping the soccer ball clean and properly inflated. You should also use it on the recommended surfaces. Over time, it can weaken the stitching. The other concerns are weather extremes. UV radiation is a top culprit, along with colder temperatures that can deflate a ball quicker.
Top 3 Brands
Adidas is synonymous with soccer as the official supplier of FIFA equipment. The global company invested over $200 million in R&D in 2019 with net sales over $25 trillion. It’s an outstanding achievement, given its humble beginnings in Germany in 1924. Today, the manufacturer is well-represented in a wide array of sports.
Select Sport A.S.
Select Sport A.S. is a Denmark-based company, specializing in soccer and handball. Like Adidas, it is an official supplier for a number of organizations, including the Danish Football Association, some NCAA Division conferences. Its founder, Eigil Nielsen, was a goalkeeper for the country’s professional league.
Nike is more than a sports equipment manufacturer. It is a brand of itself. It got its start as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. The company produces a wide range of equipment and apparel with a value of $15 trillion. It is an innovator with an excellent track record in CSR across the globe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What size soccer ball do the pros use?
A: Size 5 is the standard for professional sports. Specs vary with the league. Many organizations have ranges for each of the dimensions, so you might see some differences. They often have contracted brands. For example, Adidas supplies the UEFA, FIFA, and the Olympic Games.
Q: How do you know if a soccer ball is good?
A: Durability and player control are the primary factors to consider when shopping for the best soccer ball for the money. The two are not necessarily the same thing. Leather is an excellent choice for a cover, but it will take a beating, depending on the surface on which you play. PVC will last, but you will have less grip on the ball. Quality craftsmanship is the hallmark of a product that delivers on all scores.
Q: How long should a soccer ball last?
A: The answer to this question rests with the type of material on the casing and the surface on which you use it. Most product descriptions will provide this information. A PVC has the edge on rough surfaces, whereas synthetic or real leather lasts longer on grass or turf. The other factor is the stitching. Many manufacturers will offer a warranty, which can give you a baseline for its longevity.
Q: What is the most expensive soccer ball?
A: To put this question in perspective, let’s discuss what you can expect to pay. A street soccer ball will run you well under $50. If you’re looking for the gold standard with a FIFA-approved ball, you’re getting closer to $100 or more. If you add an autograph to it, you’ll probably end up paying well north of $300 or $400, depending on the signature.
Finding the best soccer ball for money involves knowing something about the design and construction of these products. As our guide revealed, different features are better for certain uses. For serious gameplay, we liked the Wilson NCAA Forte Fybrid II Soccer Cup Game Ball. Its association with FIFA speaks volumes about its quality and performance, making it our top pick.