Best Soccer Ball | Buying Guide and Reviews

The One Thing You Need to Play Soccer… A Soccer Ball!

Soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world. The US calls it soccer. In other countries, it goes by the name of football, futbal or even Fussball. Many children start playing as soon as they can walk.

I grew up playing pickup as well as organized soccer, but in other places, they play in the streets or in local fields. With no goals, shoes for goals, or portable goals. The players might have fancy soccer cleats, shin guards, backpacks, jerseys, or they might even play barefoot!

But there’s one thing every game has in common, a soccer ball.

The Best Soccer Ball 

We reviewed a bunch of balls to give you our best choices in this article. To do this we used a combination of ways to review the balls, from physically playing with them, to customer reviews, as well as, talking with players and coaches. 

One thing that I should call out right away is that many of the poor reviews we’ve seen were because many people were upset that their ball came deflated. This is done for shipping reasons. This means the package is smaller and can lower the shipping costs, which are in the end, passed on to the consumer. I was a bit surprised at the number of people who gave a 1-star review solely because the ball wasn’t pumped up.

So, word of warning. Your ball might not come inflated, but it really isn’t a bid deal.

Need a pump? Check out Soccer Ball Pumps, Reviews & Usage Guide

How to Choose the Best Soccer Ball for You

Finding the best soccer ball can be challenging, there are literally thousands of options out there. So what’s the best soccer ball for you or your child? Well, that depends on a number of factors. 

–> Looking for a Futsal Ball? Check out our Futsal Ball Buying Guide. <–

What Are Soccer Balls Made of and Why Does it Matter?

When it comes to the basics soccer balls are all the same. They have an outer casing and a bladder. The casing is the outer portion that creates the shape of the ball and the bladder is the inner portion that holds the air. After that, they can be very different. 

The Touch is In the Casing

There are 3 main types of casings. 

  • PVC (poly vinyl carbonate) = PVC balls are the lower end, more affordable, but very durable type balls. But as the saying goes, “you get what you paid for.” They tend to be harder and often start to crack after continued use. This can cause injuries or scratches if you’re not careful. Have you ever tried to head a PVC ball. Ouch!
  • PU (polyurethane) = PU balls are the middle of the road type of ball. They are typically better quality and softer than PVC balls, but not as good as synthetic leather balls.
  • Synthetic leather = Synthetic leather balls are the highest quality, usually the most expensive, and are even used for professional games. But they are not recommended for a hard surface such as a street or driveway. The hard ground will scratch and tear at the ball. 
  • A 4th version could be a combination of the 3 types. = Balls that use a combination of the 3 types of casing, can also be high-quality balls and are sometimes used for higher-level competitions. 

There are also 2 types of bladders:

  • Latex bladders = They offer more control and are softer, but the trade-off is they are more porous, so they don’t hold air as well. 
  • Butyl bladders = They hold air better than latex, but on the flip side, they’re stiffer. 

Bladders are the compartment inside the soccer ball that holds the air. They are constructed with either latex or butyl. Latex bladders are softer and offer more control. Butyl bladders hold air better than latex bladders, but they are more firm.

How Soccer Balls Are Made

Check out this video to see how handmade soccer balls are made. 

What else is Important When Choosing the Perfect Soccer Ball?

Once you get past the construction. There are other factors to consider. 

  • Proper size ball for your age.
  • The best soccer ball for the type of game are you playing. 
  • What surface are you playing on? 
  • Are you playing indoor or outdoor? 
  • Barefoot or with shoes? 
  • Just to mention a few.

Does Size Really Matter?

Yes, it does. Smaller soccer balls are made for younger players. They are not only easier to control with small feet and legs, but they are a safer weight for the strength of the player. If the ball is too big or too heavy it can cause strains to the tendons and ligaments of young players. 

There are 5 different sizes of soccer balls. Size 1 is for 3 years and under, while size 2 is for ages 3-5. Size 3 is typically the first ball clubs use and is for ages 5-8 and is the first size that is used in official play. Youth soccer players from 8-12 use a size 4 and adults and pros use the largest size, the size 5.

To learn more about what size is best for you or your child check out our in-depth article:

What Size Soccer Ball is Best by Age?

It Is All In the Type of Game 

There are many variations of the game of soccer. Each situation or match might require a different type of ball. 

  • There’s Futsal. A futsal ball is a smaller heavier ball is used. This is meant to be a game of skills and little contact. 
  • Outdoor soccer on grass. This is where the leather or synthetic leather soccer balls will perform the best. 
  • Outdoor or indoor soccer on artificial turf. You can use synthetic leather balls here, but you’ll often see hybrid types or PU (polyurethane) balls used here.
  • Hard surfaces such as streets or gym floors. In some countries, they even play on cinders. I learned, the hard way, not to slide tackle on this type of surface! For the harder surface, we generally recommend PVC balls, except for gym floors. There you can use all kinds including the balls that look like tennis balls. 
  • Then there is also the question of the level of play. Pickup, training, or an official match. For official games and higher-level play. You should always use a ball officially sanctioned by FIFA the governing body for international football (soccer). 

Our Favorite Soccer Balls


Select Numero 10

Select numero 10 soccer ball in green and white

The Select Numero 10 complies with the regulations of FIFA International Match Standard (IMS), the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the NCAA. This has helped it become the de facto training ball for many teams. You can buy this ball individually or the classic version in packs of 6 and 10 and in sizes 3, 4, and 5.

For a little bit of history, Select a Denmark-based company, was the first to create a 32-panel soccer ball. They believe the 32 panels make it the roundest soccer ball.

It comes in a variety of colors including a bright yellow which enhances its visibility if your practice runs until dusk. They also have a special edition, The Cure, Select. For every purchase of this pink edition, Select will donate $2 to the cure of Breast Cancer.

The Select Numero 10 combines a solid rebound and durable construction to make it an excellent choice for individuals or teams.

Pros:

  • Complies with many soccer ball regulations.
  • Carries a 2-year warranty
  • Premium materials matched with durability at an affordable price

Cons:

  • As with many premium balls it needs frequent air refills
  • The PU material can be unforgiving
  • Designs are not as flashy as other newer balls
  • I find them to be a bit hard


Champion Sports Extreme Series Composite Soccer Ball

champion sports extreme series soccer ball

Champion is a household name for many sports, but maybe not be the first brand you think of when looking for a soccer ball. However, they make a quality ball at a decent price that is quite popular. 

One of the main problems with budget soccer balls is the manufacturer ends up focusing on the durability of the casing and the strength of the bladder instead of how the ball performs. This is not the case with the Extreme Series

The Champion Extreme Series is constructed of TPU (a hybrid of soft and hard silicone). It is a good combination of hard and soft. Making it durable, but not hard as a rock. This makes it a ball that is fun to kick because it has a high rebound, and it also feels nice on the foot. 

With bright flashy colors, it is a popular choice with kids. It comes in 9 different colors. This could be a great choice for practice or playing at home. This ball is available in sizes 3, 4, and 5.

The manufacturer states the ball is good for any weather conditions. If you take a look at the picture on the ball it appears it is suitable for sunny weather, rain, snow, and well what is the 4th weather condition? Some reviews believe it is an alien attack, or jellyfish indicating underwater play.

I guess one can never be too prepared!

I’m going to go with an alien attack.

Pros:

  • Comes in for stylish designs and colors
  • Suitable for an alien attack
  • Good quality at an affordable price

Cons:

  • Some players feel it is too light for serious play
  • Playing on artificial turf may also cause scuffing
  • Tends to lose air quickly


Adidas Champions League Official Match Ball

champions league official match ball 22-23

This is one of the best match balls out there. I mean it was used for the UEFA Champions League. How can you get more official than that? It is also FIFA Quality Pro certified. 

Every year they come out with a new official match ball and they continue to impress. This one is made with a 100% polyurethane cover and the panels are not stitched, they are thermally bonded. This makes them more predictable when they fly through the air. Something goalies are sure to love. 

This ball makes you feel like a superstar when you play with it. It is also an excellent choice for official game balls for club teams. With the FIFA stamp of approval, you can be sure that it is the proper size and weight. No “deflate-gate” here! 

One odd thing about the latest version is the pattern and colors tend to look a bit trippy when the ball spins. It also seems to get dirty very easily. The picture below is after one game.

dirty champions league soccer ball after one game

Want the older version? Get it on Amazon

Pros:

  • Seamless construction ensures a truer flight of the ball
  • Premium materials and quality

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • It may need some breaking in.
  • The ball sometimes feels sticky on the foot when first start using it.
  • Gets dirty quickly


Nike Pitch Team Training Football

Nike Pitch Team Training Football - soccer ball in white

The Nike Pitch Team Training ball, is well just that, a popular training soccer ball. 

It has a durable 100% Synthetic TPU casing that makes it quite durable. It comes in a variety of colors including classic black and white, and the more flashy, electric green, and yellow/violet.

The affordable price makes it a good investment for soccer enthusiasts that can be used for practice at home or an addition to your training ball lineup. Great for players of all ages and skill levels. It comes in sizes 3, 4, and 5.

Pros:

  • Two year stitch and shape guarantee.
  • The reinforced rubber bladder gives it enhanced shape retention.
  • Bright color designs offer easy tracking during play

Cons:

  • Some players seem to think it is lighter than other balls
  • It feels a bit slippery


Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball

Wilson traditional soccer ball

The Willson Traditional soccer ball harkens back to its cousin Wilson Tom Hank’s faithful companion from the movie Castaway.

wilson from castaway

It is a popular choice for soccer purists with its old-school design and feel. 

The ball has a machine-sewn synthetic leather covering for better durability and a rubber bladder that does an excellent job of retaining air and shape. It comes in multiple sizes; 2, 4, and 5, all with the traditional pentagon black and white paneling. 

While it is not an official game ball, it is one of the best and most affordable balls for training at home or on the pitch. 

Pros:

  • Affordable, quality ball.
  • Its traditional style keeps soccer purists happy.
  • I’ve heard the classic non-flashy style keeps the thieves away too.

Cons:

  • The ball can feel a bit hard due to the focus on durability.
  • Too hard for playing barefoot.
  • Synthetic leather may show wear after extended use.

Conclusion

Top Pick

My top pick has to be the Adidas Champions League Official Match Ball.

It is by far my favorite ball of the group. Just the way it comes off the foot when you kick the ball is a thing of beauty. These are also very similar to the World Cup Balls that Adidas makes. 2018 was the last one, but we should get a new one for the 2022 World Cup. 

They are both made for the game at its highest level. How could you not love this ball? But, of course, quality and the prestige of it being an official match ball come at a price. Making this the most expensive ball of the bunch. 


Favorite Soccer Ball For Coaching

For coaching the Select Numero 10 is a great choice. You can buy them in bulk and they have a long reputation of standing up to regular day-to-day use for training. 

Select numero 10 soccer ball in green and white

Budget Soccer Ball Pick

For a budget ball, I chose the Wilson Classic Soccer ball because of its simplicity, and it’s an excellent choice for your kid’s first ball. 

wilson soccer ball best budget soccer ball

Speaking of kids, if you’re not sure what size ball the youth players in your family should use, check out our guide for the best soccer ball by age.

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