On the hunt for good soccer equipment? You should probably start with a ball. Without one, your game won’t get very far.
A good soccer ball doesn’t just make playing more fun, it makes your game possible. The best soccer balls are crafted from quality materials to make them light but sturdy, offering shape retention and good playability. The best soccer balls offer accuracy, proper weight, and good performance. Without a good soccer ball, even the best players end up off their game. With a bad ball, even Messi gets messy.
In this guide, we’ve broken down what makes a good soccer ball, what they’re built from and which surfaces different balls are suitable for, ending up with a list of ten of the best soccer balls on the market. Let’s kick off!
- Features to Consider for the Best Soccer Balls
- Top 10 Best Soccer Balls 2021
- 1. Best Overall Soccer Ball: Nike Strike
- 2. Best Budget Soccer Ball: Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
- 3. Best Premium Soccer Ball: Select Numero 10
- 4. Most Durable Match Ball: Mitre Delta
- 5. Adidas Capitano
- 6. Best Nighttime Soccer Ball: GlowCity Light Up LED Soccer Ball
- 7. American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball
- 8. Best Hard-Surface Soccer Ball: Senda Rio Premium
- 9. Mitre Impel
- 10. Best Soccer Ball for Young Kids: PP Picador
- Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Soccer Ball
- Final Thoughts
Features to Consider for the Best Soccer Balls
When deciding on the best soccer ball for you, here are the main things you need to consider:
Do you play on hard ground or soft ground? Balls are often specifically built for specific surfaces. Broadly speaking, these three surfaces are grass, artificial grass and hard ground. You can also buy versatile multi-surface soccer balls if you want the flexibility to play on all three types of surface.
Many modern soccer balls are colorful, garish and flashy, and many like these modern styles of balls. But the aesthetic of some other balls harks back to a simpler time, when water-saturated soccer balls battered the heads of the brutish players who dared to head them. These retro-style black and white balls have a different aesthetic. Which style of play do you want to emulate? What do you like the look of?
Different balls are built with different materials, and different materials lead to different performances. Some ball bladders are latex, others are butyl. Some ball outers are simple, while others are crafted with technology to allow for close-control, power, or shock-absorption. Throughout this article (and in our full buying guide section), we’ll break down exactly what these different materials offer.
Some soccer balls have a lengthy shelf-life, while others are designed for the best performance for just a couple of matches. Most are better suited by a ball that will last the long term. Look for real leather, high-quality ball bladders, and strong stitching.
Below, we’ve listed ten of the best soccer balls, assessing and analyzing each ball in four categories: playing surface, style, materials, and durability. We’ve also included a handy list of brief pros and cons for each soccer ball.
No matter the type of ball you want, no matter the surface you’re playing on, no matter how particular you are, we’ve got the perfect ball for you.
Top 10 Best Soccer Balls 2021
Built for use on both real and artificial grass, the ball surface is crafted with intelligent texturing designed to work on even wet ground. No matter how wet your grass gets, this ball can absolutely handle the surface, with excellent grip in all conditions. If you often play on wet grass, whether real or artificial, this is a great choice.
You won’t find a ball that looks better than this. It looks pretty much identical to the official Premier League ball, but without the hefty price tag. If it looks good enough for Premier League players, it looks good enough for you. The black, white, and pink design is simple but beautiful.
The high-contrast graphics make the ball easy to track in even the rainiest of conditions.
If you’re looking for variety, this isn’t for you. It only comes in one color scheme, leaving little wriggle-room for those seeking something a little different.
This is built with a soft but sturdy feel, prioritizing performance. The soft foam panels are machine-stitched together, so the ball is rugged but still soft. The bladder is made from butyl, which prevents the ball from warping or becoming misshapen.
The ball is built with aerodynamic grooves which ensure a reliable flight path. If you want more accuracy, control and reliability from your ball, this is built to give you exactly that.
This ball flies well and responds brilliantly to a player’s touch.
The durability isn’t the best on the market, but considering the surprisingly-good price point for a ball of such quality, this really isn’t a problem. Even if you have to replace this ball after 3 or 4 months (which might be the case), it’s absolutely worth the money.
This is versatile. Though it’s not built specifically for use on hard ground, it’s absolutely suitable for it. If you play soccer on lots of different types of ground, this is an excellent choice. Because it’s not built specifically for any particular ground style means it plays well on them all.
This is where this ball excels. Let’s hop back in time. Back to a time when soccer wasn’t dominated by finances. Back to a time when soccer players played for the team of the town they were born in. Back to a time when all soccer balls looked the same.
When you buy this ball, you’re transported back to that time. It’s a no-frills ball, but if you like retro designs, you’ll love it. A low price puts it on par with other budget balls like the Mitre Impel.
The ball is machine-sewn for excellent ball control and great aerodynamics. The synthetic leather cover provides fantastic durability, especially for a ball of such a great price point, and the butyl bladder provides excellent shape retention.
The materials combine for a ball which provides a sturdiness to match its aesthetic, but which also offers excellent control with a brilliant flight path. It doesn’t perform quite as well as the Select Numero 10 or the Nike Strike, but if you want a retro-style ball with modern performance, this is the best it gets.
The durability isn’t the best, which is the only real negative here. It probably won’t last you more than a season of heavy play.
You probably could use this on all surfaces. But unless you use it on grass, you’re wasting it. This is built to perform to a professional standard on a professional pitch, and that’s what it’s best at. You should only really use this on grass (whether real or artificial).
We’re not impressed with the design as it looks cheap and poorly-made, but below the surface, it’s anything but. If you’re particularly concerned with how your ball looks, you might not want to buy this. But if you’re concerned with how it performs (and who wouldn’t be), this is brilliant.
Here’s where this ball excels. It’s crafted with a latex bladder, making the ball responsive, lively, and easier to control. This won’t swerve unpredictably. Instead, it’ll do exactly what your foot tells it to do. Latex bladders deflate quickly, but that’s exactly what the professionals play with, so don’t be alarmed if you need to inflate this a lot.
The outer is crafted with thick, hand-stitched panels which offer great bounce, great control, and an excellent soft feel in play. The panels are structured for better aerodynamics. In short, if you want a ball that performs well, you won’t find much better than this.
The durability is excellent, so this ball should last you a while, although inflation will be frequent.
Crafted for both artificial and real grass, this soccer ball is too good to be wasted on kicking around hard surfaces. It’s built specifically for grass and glides beautifully around the pitch. If you often play on wet pitches, this is a great choice – it’s built with water-repelling technology, so you won’t wind up with a heavy, soggy, unplayable soccer ball.
It doesn’t look amazing, but Mitre balls rarely do. Instead, Mitre focuses on crafting quality playable balls at a good price. If you want something a little more aesthetically pleasing, you might not like this. It comes in only a small selection of (similar-looking) color schemes.
The materials used to make this are excellent. The laminated bladder (which sadly isn’t latex) is very responsive and creates a reliable flight. Meanwhile, the foam material on the outer of the ball makes the ball easy to control, as it doesn’t bounce off your feet without sacrificing power or accuracy. The textured surface of the ball improves ball control. In short, it does everything you want a match ball to do.
Absolutely excellent. The ball retains shape brilliantly, the outer retains its color and design, and the whole ball keeps playing well for many games. If you want a durable soccer ball, this is an excellent option.
Crafted for use on grass, this ball is excellent on the pitch. The machine-stitched construction is great, and the sleek build of the ball plays beautifully on grass. If you’re looking for a ball that glides over the playing field, this is brilliant.
Looking for a soccer ball that has lots of great modern, trendy designs to choose from? This is the best ball for you. Adidas is known for creating mega-aesthetic sports equipment, and they’ve done it once again here. Designs include a Champions League Final theme, a Manchester United design, a France-inspired tricolor design, and many others.
The butyl bladder provides excellent shape retention and air retention, while the machine-stitched construction keeps the ball tight for good performance and aerodynamics. The interior is partially built with nylon, which helps the ball to keep its shape.
The TPU finish on the surface of the ball makes the ball soft and easy to control. If you want a ball which offers good, close control, this is a great choice.
The durability here isn’t the best. But, again, because of the price point, this isn’t too much of a problem.
This is for use on any type of ground. But a note here: it’s not a professional-standard ball, and serious players probably won’t like playing with it. But kids (and easily-pleased adults) who are less selective and who just want to kick a ball around will love it.
Kids often get frustrated that they can’t play after dark. Without night vision goggles, it’s hard to see a ball after dusk. Until now! This one lights up for 30 seconds every time it’s kicked, so after-dark games no longer need to be misery-inducing.
As you might have noticed, this ball’s style is a little different to the style of other balls, simply because it glows in the dark. This soccer ball won’t win any prizes for top-quality aesthetics, but it sets out to do a certain job, and it does that job very well.
It’s size 5, so while it’s heavier than average, it’s still proper game-sized.
Considering that this is a pretty gimmicky soccer ball, it’s built from reasonably good materials. It, of course, doesn’t have the build of soccer balls built by top-quality brands such as Nike, Mitre and Adidas, but it’s otherwise pretty good.
Crafted from nylon, it’s pretty rugged and durable, and it feels and performs better than you would expect. Yes, it’s not top quality, but it’s certainly not cheap and tacky. It’s a little harder than younger kids might be used to, but it’s still great for a kickaround.
The durability is pretty good. The ball itself should last you a while, and the two sets of included batteries will keep the ball glowing for plenty of time to come.
This can be used on pretty much any ground, so it’s excellent if you like to play on lots of different surfaces. It’s designed for grass, so that’s where it performs best, but it can be used anywhere.
This ball looks great, with a bold, colorful, striking design. It’s available in five different colors, so there’s something for everyone. Trendy, attractive balls don’t usually come at this price point, so if you’re looking for something flashy and modern that doesn’t cost too much, this is it.
The TPU outer makes for a ball that performs well and behaves robustly. It’s not going to fly or offer close control in the same way that more expensive balls do, but it still performs very well. The material is abrasion-resistant, so your ball should stay looking good for a while, even if you do use it on hard surfaces.
The durability is great, especially given the price point. If you want a ball which doesn’t cost too much and offers excellent durability, this is a good choice.
Whether it’s concrete, an indoor court, or anywhere else with a sturdy playing surface, this is perfect. It’s intentionally crafted to have a low bounce, with a durable cover and minimal air loss.
Technically, this is a futsal ball. Futsal is basically just hard-surface soccer. It’s not quite that simple, but let’s not get into the technicalities. If you play soccer on a hard surface or play indoor futsal, this is the ball for you.
Looks are okay. It’s nothing special, but it certainly doesn’t look bad.
But here’s the important part: this comes in a maximum size 4. Weird huh? Not really: futsal is pretty much always played with a smaller ball, as the pitch is smaller and the game is more about close-control than matches played on a standard soccer pitch. Don’t go looking for a size 5 alternative. If you’re playing on a hard surface, buy this at a size 4!
The reinforced bladder is built for air retention, which is much-needed when you’re playing on a hard court. The machine-stitched surface makes for a robust ball, which can take a good old whacking when you’re kicking it around the court.
The ball is built with a soft foam interior, so it responds well to delicate touches, which is perfect for those fancy flicks and tricks that we all like trying to pull off when we’re playing on a smaller court. Want to show off your skills? This ball will let you (assuming you have any).
It’s a little harder than you may be accustomed to, but you’ll soon get used to that.
Absolutely fantastic, especially given the price point. This will last you a long while, offering excellent value for money.
9. Mitre Impel
This performs best on grass (both real and artificial), but it has the versatility for use on hard surfaces too. It has a great cushion, which not only is good for first touches, but helps the ball to play well on all surfaces.
It looks okay. No-one is going to be impressed by how this ball looks, but it’s not terrible. It’s available in several different colors, so there’ll (hopefully) be a design you’ll like.
The outer is built mainly for durability, but it also offers a great first touch. That said, it doesn’t have the silky, smooth playability as lots of the other balls we’ve featured on this list.
The machine-stitched TPU surface provides pretty good movement in the air, but you don’t have total control over this. If you want a ball that is very responsive to nuance and touch, try the Mitre Delta instead.
This is best used as a training ball rather than a match ball, as it’s built for endless play rather than quality play.
Fantastic durability, especially given the price point. That said, it leaks air more than you’ll probably like, so you’ll have to inflate it pretty regularly.
It’s for kids, so this doesn’t really matter too much. Hard ground, soft ground, grass, basketball court, indoors, whatever. The most important thing is that it looks good and kids will love it. Kids will play on any surface; this ball will too.
This is what’s great about this ball. It has an excellent aesthetic for kids. If you’re buying a soccer ball for kids, this is it. There are four different designs, from frogs to unicorns to flying elephants (we’re confused too). If you want a kid-friendly ball that looks fun, you won’t find a better soccer ball than this.
If you’re looking for the world’s most finely-crafted ball, this isn’t it. But it’s still made of pretty reliable material. With a rubber bladder for good air-retention and shape-retention, and size options of 1 and 3, this is great for little ones. Because it’s for little ones, this isn’t available in size 5.
Considering that this is made for kids, the durability is excellent. It won’t last forever, but it will last for plenty of games to come.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Soccer Ball
So that’s it – the ten best soccer balls currently being kicked around planet earth.
They’re all perfect for last-minute volleys, top-corner free kicks, and riding over on career-threatening knee-high challenges.
But there are lots of things to think about before you invest in one of the soccer balls we’ve listed. It’s essential to pick a ball which is perfect for you, for what you want, and for where you play. Coming up, we’ve outlined everything you should consider before you make a purchase. Here comes the whistle for the second half.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of playing surface: soft and hard. Hard surfaces include indoor basketball style courts along with outdoor concrete courts, while soft surfaces include real grass and artificial grass. All hard-surface balls are suitable for all-hard surfaces.
All grass-style balls are suitable for both real grass and artificial grass, but some balls (though these are pretty rare and often unnecessary) are built specifically for use on artificial grass.
If you play on all three types of surface, you should go for a versatile ball such as the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball.
If you want a ball specifically for one type of surface (rather than all surfaces), go for a ball that is built for that particular surface. Some great examples are the Senda, which is good for concrete, and the Select Number 10, meant for grass.
Soccer Ball Brands
Lots of famous brands like Adidas, Nike, and Mitre make fantastic soccer balls. These brands typically all come with a certain reputation of quality, but plenty of smaller manufacturers make good soccer balls too, so don’t be deterred by a lesser-known brand. The highest-quality ball on our list, for example, is the Select Numero 10, and you may not have even heard of Select. Buying from a smaller brand can actually be an asset, as they sell inexpensive balls with premium materials and manufacturing techniques.
Soccer Ball Size Guide
Soccer balls aren’t all built the same size as one another. And which size you’re buying depends on who you’re buying it for. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Size 5: The real deal. The main event. The ball of all balls. Size 5 balls are professional-size, and all your favorite soccer players regularly boot a size 5 ball around the pitch. Ronaldo? Check. Messi? Check. Neymar? Check. Vinnie Jones? Check. If you’re buying for someone above 12 years old, buy a size 5 ball (unless, as mentioned, it’s for futsal).
- Size 4: Size 4 balls are a couple inches smaller and about 50 grams lighter than a professional-size ball. Size 4 soccer balls are best suited to kids aged 8-11.
- Size 3: Size 3 balls are slightly smaller than size 4 balls. They weigh about 100 grams less than size five balls. They’re best for kids ages 5-8 years old.
- Size 2: In truth, few brands regularly craft size 2 balls. But if you’re buying for someone aged 3-5, you could maybe go for a size 2, though a size 3 might work too.
- Size 1: The smallest number and the smallest non-novelty ball. For really young kids aged 3 and under, a size 1 ball is the right size. But if you’re buying for someone that young, the quality of the ball doesn’t really matter.
For an incredibly detailed breakdown of ball sizes, this is a fantastic guide.
Soccer Ball Materials
Different soccer balls are made from different materials, and different materials perform in different ways. In our guide, we’ve included a range of different soccer balls which are crafted from a wide range of different materials. Broadly, soccer balls are made of two main components: the inner bladder and the outer casing.
Good soccer ball bladders are usually made of one of two materials. The cheaper ones are made of butyl, which retain shape well and don’t need to be reinflated too often. More expensive, professional-standard ones are made of latex. Balls with latex bladders are easier to control, bouncier, more responsive, and have a better flight path, although they need regular reinflation. For ultimate control, they’re the best option. Butyl bladders are slightly more likely to be off-balance, but are typically okay as well.
Some soccer ball bladders are made solely of synthetic rubber, but synthetic rubber bladders are of very poor quality.
The outer casing can be made of many different materials. But you should go for one with a PU or a TPU coating, as they’re more durable and higher-quality. It’s also a good idea to buy a ball built with some foam, as this increases responsiveness and touch.
Do I Need to Buy a Ball Based on My Soccer Cleats?
No. That’s not something you need to consider.
If you’re playing on hard ground, you should buy hard ground cleats and a hard ground ball. If you’re playing on real grass or artificial grass, you should wear suitable cleats, and use a suitable ball. Buy both items based on the surface of play.
If you’re looking for good soccer cleats, check out our guide to the best soccer cleats.
Good soccer balls are surprisingly affordable. While some specialist sports equipment can be very expensive, soccer balls have a surprisingly low price point. Even the most recognized brands (such as Adidas and Nike) create very affordable soccer balls.
If you’re seeking something particularly budget-friendly, you should think about buying a Mitre soccer ball. They create excellent soccer balls for very small budgets. Our pick for a brilliant budget-friendly Mitre soccer ball is the Mitre Impel.
For every single budget, there’s a fantastic soccer ball on the market. It’s the most popular sport on the planet, after all: something for everybody.
What’s the Correct Ball Pressure?
The correct ball pressure depends on the size of your ball and the age of the people playing with the ball. If for example, the ball is for a young child, it shouldn’t be too hard to make their play fun, simple and injury-free.
But because most people who play are probably buying a size 5 ball, follow the advice listed here. To guarantee the chances of a good game, you want to be inflating your ball to a good pressure. FIFA laws state that all match balls should be inflated to between 8.5psi and 15.6psi (psi means’ pounds per square inch,’ which is just an easy way to quantify pressure). So make sure you’re always inflating your ball to typical standards.
It’s important to inflate your ball at least once a month to ensure it’s at the correct pressure. If you have a ball with a latex bladder, you should inflate it around once a week.
To inflate your ball accurately, you should buy a soccer ball pump with a pressure gauge. This is a good one.
How Should I Take Care of My Soccer Ball?
First of all, purchase a soccer ball with good durability. But no matter how durable your soccer ball is, there are some things you can do to ensure its longevity, and ensure you keep banging in hat tricks for many matches to come. Here’s what you can do to make sure your soccer ball will last as long as possible:
- Make sure it’s properly inflated each time you use it
- Keep it clean! Wipe it with a damp cloth after use
- Don’t store it damp. Instead, dry it after you’ve used it
- If you’re not going to use it for a while, deflate it a little before you store it
- Don’t sit or stand on the ball, as this can warp it
- Use it only on the surface it’s intended for
With these tricks, your soccer ball should last you for several years.
How Can I Avoid Injury When Playing Soccer?
Soccer always comes with a chance of injury. But if you want to avoid a pulled muscle, a strain, or a sprain, here are some tips to stay healthy:
- Wear good soccer cleats appropriate for the surface you’re playing on. Without quality, surface-specific soccer cleats, you can very easily fall, slip, and get injured.
- Wear soccer shin guards. As you might have guessed, soccer shin guards prevent injury and do a good job to ensure you don’t end up with a broken leg. If you’re looking for good shin guards, these – both for adults and kids – are great.
- Warm up! Warm up with good, appropriate, effective stretches. Without stretching, you’ll often get injured. With it, you rarely will. For an endless knowledge of appropriate stretches and warm-ups for all soccer players, check out this site.
With all these tips, you (or the kids you’re buying a ball for!) have a better chance of staying safe. No one wants to get injured, follow this advice to stay healthy.
The most popular game on the planet, soccer is great fun. But it’s no fun without a ball or with a bad ball. In this list, we’ve included ten of the best soccer balls on the planet. Each one will guarantee you a good game and a chance to show off your (self-professed) top-quality skills.
No matter the surface you play on, no matter the type of ball you prefer, no matter the aesthetic you like, there’s something on this list that’ll be great for you.
We can’t guarantee that buying a ball from this list will transform you into the world’s next Pele, but we can guarantee that a ball from this list will make your games better, smoother and more fun. For one of the best soccer balls on the market, make sure you buy something from this list – your games will be better, and your shots and passes will be more accurate.
With the right ball, the ‘beautiful game’ becomes even more beautiful.