How do you choose a Soccer Ball? Learn what you need to know



To assist you in making the right decision we will answer a few common questions.

What is a soccer ball made out of?

Soccer balls were initially made from real leather, but this material made them heavy, so now the outer is mainly made from synthetic leather material such as PU, TPU and PVC as these materials don’t absorb much water

  • PU (Polyurethane) is the best and most expensive material used as it makes the ball softer and gives players a better touch and feel with the direction when kicked.
  • TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is not as expensive as PU and recommended for premium training balls.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a plastic material and the cheapest. Footballs made from PVC are good for the youngest players as these balls are lightweight and durable. Unfortunately they are more difficult to control as they often weigh less than PU made soccer balls.
Under the surface you have the bladder, which is the part that holds the air and in footballs they come in 2 different materials:
  • Butyl
  • Latex

A Butyl bladder holds the air really well and makes the ball durable. It is good when playing on hard surfaces, such as asphalt, tiles or gravel etc.

Latex is a soft material and good for footballs used on grass. It doesn’t hold the air as well as butyl and therefore latex balls must be pumped up more often.

Better and more expensive balls (especially match balls) use Latex bladders as the bounce and feel is so much better, but Butyl bladder balls are great for football clubs and coaches as they don’t have to be pumped up so often.

What size soccer ball should I buy?

Soccer balls come in different sizes mainly to suit the player's age:    Size 5 (22 cm in diameter) - from U14 and up

  • Size 4 (20 cm in diameter) - from U10 to U13 inclusive
  • Size 3 (18 cm in diameter) – U9
  • Sizes 1 and 2 are mini balls for improving one's technique or just to have fun

It is not recommended for a child to use an oversized soccer ball as this is both hard and bad for the body as it requires too many forces. It is also much easier for a child to learn to kick right to the ball if it is the right size. Therefore, it is important to buy a ball of a suitable size for your child's age.

If you just want to go out and have a ball of a general size, we recommend a size 4. It is average and most, both children and adults, can enjoy it. If, on the other hand, it is an upcoming footballer who wants to practice his technique, you should use the age guidelines above.

How much does a good soccer ball cost?

The price of a football can vary quite significantly as with so many other things price and quality are linked.

It is not necessary to buy the most expensive football in order to play for fun, but as a general rule of thumb a more expensive ball will be easier to handle, keep in shape and not absorb much water when it rains. Therefore, an expensive ball may be worth the extra money of you use it a lot.

If, on the other hand, you just want a ball to use for fun in your backyard and/or in the park etc. then it might be a good idea to buy a less expensive football.

In the following section, we will guide you through various recommendations when acquiring a ball.

How do I know if a soccer ball is good?

This can at times be difficult to tell, but there are several different approvals of balls that guarantee that the ball has been thoroughly tested. We review them here:

  • FIFA Quality Pro
  • FIFA Quality
  • International Match-ball Standard (IMS)
To receive the FIFA Quality Pro or FIFA Quality stamp of approval a football has to go through 6 or 7 tests (see below). If the ball passes the first six tests, it is FIFA Inspected and if it passes the seventh test it is FIFA Approved.
  • The circumference
  • The shape
  • The bounce
  • The water absorption
  • The weight
  • The loss of pressure & size retention

The IMS stamp is not issued by FIFA and the tests and quality of these balls are very similar to the FIFA Quality approved footballs. The main difference is that IMS balls cannot be used in official FIFA tournaments.

What do you need your soccer ball for?

There are many different kinds of soccer balls, so we have broken them down to the most common categories. We are also giving you our recommendations as to which football is the best in each category which you can use as a guide when it’s time to buy a new football.

  • Premium Match-Ball
  • Match/Training Ball
  • Footballs for artificial turf
  • Indoor/Futsal Ball
  • Beach Ball
  • Mini Football

Premium Match Balls are, as the name suggest, the best footballs on the market. They are also the most expensive, because the best materials are used. Premium Match Balls are approved by FIFA, so they can be used in tournaments such as the World Cup, the Champions League and national leagues around the world.

Other Match and Training Balls are a step down form the premium match ball. They can still be FIFA and IMS Approved, which means they are tested for their durability etc., but as they are more affordable it is the type of ball most players need.

Some soccer balls are made stronger, so they can handle the artificial turf surface, which can be a little hard on footballs. These more durable balls are also recommended if you play on pavers and/or asphalt etc.

Indoor/Futsal balls are made, so they have a slightly lower bounce. They are also made a bit stronger than regular footballs.

As you guessed it Beach balls are made specially to be used on the beach. The outer material is softer, so they are more comfortable to kick with your feet. They are usually also completely waterproof and made more durable, so that they can handle the game in sand.

Mini footballs come in size 1 and 2 and are normally used for children, who want to improve their technique or anyone, who just wants to have fun with a soccer ball.

How do I take care of a soccer ball?

This is pretty straight forward as the more you look after your football, the longer it will last. Here are our recommended dos and don’ts:

  • Do not sit or stand on your ball
  • Try to avoid kicking it up against a wall as it can ruin the shape
  • After use wipe off the worst dirt with a warm cloth. Make sure you use water only as detergents can ruin the stitches.
  • Don’t leave your ball in a hot car as extreme heat is not good for the ball
  • After use leave your ball in a dry place. This way the ball does not absorb moisture and maintains the shape longer
  • Any ball will eventually lose its air over time, so it is important to check your football regularly to ensure it has the right amount of air inside. Here you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but as a general rule of thumb the air pressure should be between 0.6 and 0.8 Bar.
  • You should use Valve oil when you pump up your ball for the first time. Just squeeze in a few drops before you start pumping as it will make the valve more flexible and seal it more tightly. You can use also use silicone oil, silicone spray or glycerin oil.
  • It is also recommended to wet the pump needle before using it. Valve oil is fine to use.
  • Lastly most manufacturers recommend that you release some air from the ball after use to reduce the pressure on the stitches. But always remember to pump up your football before using it again.


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