The Best Cricket Bat in Australia [2019]

There’s nothing like getting a new bat celebrate the start of your cricket season. With improvement in technologies and materials there are some really incredible options available to both juniors and seniors alike.

It can, however, be tricky to navigate the world of cricket bats, the the varying designs, materials, and price-points.

In this article we discuss some of the key things to look out for when choosing your cricket bat, followed by detailed reviews of our favourite bats on the market.


How To Choose YOUR BAT

The best cricket bat for you will depend on the type of player you are, the format of game you prefer, personal preferences and budget.

Keep the following factors in mind when you evaluate your alternatives for a new bat. 

Style of player

Most bats are generally designed to be very well balanced for all types of players, however especially once you get to a senior level you will want to consider choosing a bat that is more specifically designed to fit your playing style. 

Batsmen that play predominantly off front foot will usually want a sweet spot positioned mid-low on the blade, while back foot players will benefit from it being positioned mid-high.

Weight

It is important to understand the concept of pick-up when selecting a cricket bat. Pick-up refers to the ease of lifting a bat into its backlift position before a shot is played, and is considered to be much more important than the dead weight of the bat. In fact, many brands and stores no longer publish the specific weights of bats, instead grouping them into categories, so that decisions are not made based on a bat being a few KGs lighter or heavier than another.

While impossible to measure in general terms (as will be different for each player), it is important to keep in mind that the dead weight of a bat doesn’t always translate into how heavy the bat feels in the hands. Read more about pick-up here

Types of Willow

Almost all medium-high grade bats are constructed from English Willow. You then have a range of grades from 1 - 5 with 1 being test match grade and 5 being the lower quality. The higher quality grades should be unbleached and contain few knots or blemishes, especially on the face of the bat. The lower grades are often bleached and may contain irregularities and knots on the face.

Generally speaking, if you are buying from one of the big manufacturers, as you pay more or less for a bat you will get a higher or lower grade of English Willow.

Very cheap bats are usually made from Kashmir Willow, which has a higher moisture content and is therefore a heavier bat material. While popular in junior level bats, these are not recommended for competition cricket.

​Pre-conditioned bats

Most bats will require you carry out the process of “knocking-in” to ensure the willow is ready for the hard impacts it will face in a game. For this process you should really use a bat mallet however a cricket ball held in the hand will suffice.

Even if the bat is marked as “match-ready” it’s better to be safe than sorry and knock the bat in before match day.


cricket bat reviews

#1 Gray Nicolls Atomic 1200 review

A powerful bat from Grey Nicolls, the Atomic is designed with a modern profile, featuring huge edges and one of the biggest sweet spots of any bat legal under current regulations.

The 1200 sits in the middle of the Atomic range and is made from Grade 1 English Willow. Designed for all forms of cricket, a slightly concave flat face provides superior ping, while a semi-oval maximises comfort and control.

Endorsed by the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Shaun Marsh, Matt Renshaw and Cameron White, you’ll be in good company if you choose to make this your next bat.

Pros
  • Huge edges
  • Big sweet-spot
  • Good pick-up for its weight                   
cons
  • Toe requires a good knock in
  • Slightly narrower than other bats         

#2 Kookaburra Ghost Pro 1500 REVIEW

A high-end, mid-profile bat, the Ghost Pro is designed to excel in a wide range of shot types. It provides a lot of forgiveness thanks to its very full blade and thick edges while a round handle assists with its superb pick-up.

Constructed from Premium Grade 1 English Willow, the Ghost Pro pings very nicely starting high up the face, meaning you get maximum return on your shots. An excellent bat for all forms of the game, the Ghost is sure to set itself as a favourite amongst Kookaburra fans.

Pros
  • Very well balanced
  • Large edges
  • Grade 1 English Willow                           
cons
  • More expensive than other options      

#3 Kookaburra Kahuna Pro

​A premium short handled bat, the Kahuna range have been at the forefront of Kookaburra range for almost 20 years. With fat edges and a mid-blade sweet spot, the Kahuna will be right at home in all forms of the game.

The Players Pro is the top bat in the Kahuna range, being made from Grade 1 Unbleached English Willow.

Favoured by balanced batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Moeen Ali and Ian Bell, the Kahuna comes with a superb pick-up while still delivering very impressive ping off the blade.

Pros
  • Fat edges
  • Good Pickup
  • Grade 1 English Willow                                
cons

                                                                            

#4 ​New Balance DC680

BUY AT SPORTSMANS WAREHOUSE

​New Balance bats are becoming more and more popular, especially with players like Steve Smith, Joe Root and Jason Roy opting for them as their favoured blade.

Perfect for players with a large repertoire of shots, the DC680 is very well balanced and has a great pick-up. With a low profile and large edges, it is very forgiving and feels great in the hands.

Pros
  • Great pick-up
  • Thick edges
  • Large sweet spot                                        
cons
  • More expensive than other options     

#5 Gray Nicolls Velocity 900 review

BUY AT SPORTSMANS WAREHOUSE

​A very lightweight Grade 2 English Willow bat perfect for shotmakers. A high to mid sweet spot favours square of the wicket players and assists with balance and pickup.

The edges on the Velocity are smaller than others on this list, with most of the volume built into the spine with minimal scalloping. A semi-oval antishock handle provides great grip and control.

Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Great pickup
  • Good for square of the wicket shots
cons
  • Less power than other bats on this list

verdict

The best bat for you will ultimately depend on the type of player you are and your budget. While all bats on this list are great, for us, the Gray Nicholls Atomic 1200 represents the best option thanks to its ​impressive sweet spot, huge edges, and superb pickup.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Leave No Trace Principles

Hiking gear reviews

When we head outside, it's important to keep in mind that our actions have a significant impact on the environment and landscape we love. Despite our best intentions, we often affect the environment in a negative way, just by traveling through it or spending time in the backcountry.

Although it’s impossible to fully eliminate our impact on the landscape, there are some principles that we can follow to guide us toward best environmental practices. These seven principles, known as Leave No Trace, can seem complex and difficult at first, so we’ll break them down and discuss them here:


1. Plan ahead and be prepared

This one might seem like a no-brainer to seasoned outdoor enthusiasts, but it’s really a reminder to carefully consider your plans before you head out. This includes having a thorough understanding of where you’re going and any special considerations that you might need to take into account for that area, which might include fire risks, severe weather, and rough terrain.

Leaving detailed information of your trip with someone you trust is also important, in the event of an emergency. Ultimately, a rescue, even if necessary and warranted, can have a substantial impact on the landscape. Planning ahead and being prepared can help prevent you from having to unnecessarily impact the environment.


2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

​Some landscapes, such as alpine zones and deserts, are particularly sensitive to human impact and can take centuries to recover from a single human footprint. Regardless of how we travel - be it by foot, bike, horseback, or kayak - we must try to stick to durable surfaces, like worn paths, rock, or snow, whenever possible to reduce this impact.

When we camp, we should also choose durable surfaces, like already impacted sites, whenever possible to reduce our impact on pristine environments.


3. Dispose of waste properly

​Leave No Trace promotes a ‘pack it in, pack it out’ ethic, whereby we carry out all waste we produce. This includes everything from our leftover dinner (yes, even food!) to the plastic packaging on our energy bars. We can save ourselves the trouble in the backcountry when planning our trip by reducing excess packaging on our food before we head out the door.

When it comes to human waste, it needs to be disposed of properly. Although guidelines vary from location to location (and you should always follow local laws and regulations), the general rule of thumb is that solid human waste must be buried in a ‘cathole’ (i.e. hole in the ground) at least 15 cm (6 inches) deep that is also 60 m (200 ft) from any water source.


4. Leave what you find

Bush walking gear

​Although it might be tempting to collect rocks, flowers, antlers, or human artifacts while you camp, doing so can be detrimental for the environment. Especially when it comes to antlers - which provide essential calcium to woodland creatures - and flowers - which often are a food source for animals - leaving them behind is best for the ecosystem's overall health. Plus, if one person picks all the wildflowers, they won't be there for everyone else to enjoy.

Human artifacts (i.e. anything over 25 years old), too, should be left where they are. If you think something is of great importance, contact your local authorities and they can direct you from there.

The one exception to this rule is human garbage - if you see it, pick it up and pack it out!


5. Minimize campfire impacts

For many people, campfires are the thing they look forward to most on a camping trip. Unfortunately, campfires have a huge impact on the environment if not done properly and can cause devastating wildfires if not managed well.

Cooking has less of an impact on the environment if you use a stove, but if local regulations allow campfires, take the proper precautions to minimise your impact. Collect only small pieces of dead and downed wood, keep the fire small, and be sure to put it out completely with water before you go to bed. Dismantle any fire rings you might create and bury the ashes in a cathole.


6. Respect wildlife

Although we all hope to encounter plenty of wildlife in the woods, we must do so in a way that is unobtrusive to them. Take the time to learn about local wildlife and their behavior. Do not approach or feed wildlife and be sure to store your food properly to prevent critters from getting in. Report any animal attacks or habituated wildlife to authorities.


​7. Be considerate of other visitors

​It might be tempting to play music out loud from your phone as you hike or to be extra loud around the campfire at night, but others around you might want a calm wilderness experience. Cleaning up after yourself and leaving a tidy campsite is also a must.

Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned mountaineer, we must all work to minimise our impact on the landscape. Taking the Leave No Trace principles into account on all your trips can make a huge difference.

About THE AUTHOR:

Gaby Pilson


A professional mountain guide and experienced outdoor educator, Gaby enjoys travelling and exploring the world’s most remote locales.


As a writer and editor, Gaby has written for a variety of climbing and travel blogs, news sites, and climbing magazines.


She is currently finishing a master’s degree in outdoor education but in her free time, Gaby loves a strong cup of coffee and searching for the next great adventure.

How to Pack a Hiking Pack

If there’s one thing that can quickly ruin a hiking trip, it’s a poorly packed pack. An improperly packed backpack can put awkward tension on your shoulders or unnecessary and painful strain on your lower back, none of which is conducive to a great adventure out in the hills.

On the other hand, a well-packed pack could reduce the amount of weight on your shoulders and make hiking a breeze. Packing a pack properly can be quite difficult, though, so here are some tips to get you started:

1. Get the right size pack

The pack you need for a 5-day trip will be quite different from what you need for an overnight, so it's important to get the pack that works for the specific needs of your trip.

Although this is all dependant on the amount of gear you bring, as a general rule of thumb, most people can get by with a 60-70L pack for 1-2 night trips, a 70-90L pack for 3-5 night trips, and a 95L+ pack for anything over 5 nights.


2. Weather-proof your gear

​While many modern backpacks have some semblance of weather-resistance built into their fabric, when the rain starts pouring down, you’ll wish you had more than just a thin piece of nylon between the water and your down sleeping bag.

A thick garbage bag/bin liner (we recommend compactor bags used for lawn refuse) or a purpose-built pack liner can help protect your gear in foul weather or during a big river crossing. If it’s something you absolutely can’t get wet, consider putting it in a second dry bag.


3. Think about accessibility

​If you take a look at your gear, you’ll realise that some of the things you have are only necessary when you’re in camp, like your sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp shoes, and long underwear, while other items, such as your snacks, rain jacket, water purification, map and compass will likely get used while you hike.

Generally, we recommend packing the soft, squishy, camp gear that you won't need into the bottom of the pack. The stuff you might need during the day should go at the very top of the pack or in the brain/lid of the pack if you have one.


4. Consider weight distribution

​The last thing you want when hiking is for your pack to be lopsided or top-heavy. The heaviest items in your pack are generally your food, cook kit, and stove, so you’ll want to be particular about where you pack them.

The best place to carry these heavier items is right in the middle of the pack, alongside the spine. This reduces the feeling of being ‘pulled backward’ by the pack and makes it overall less awkward to carry.


5. Food above fuel

Spilled fuel can be a complete disaster on a hiking trip, especially if it gets into your food. To prevent this from happening, make sure to pack your fuel below your food so that if it does spill, it's less likely to contaminate your food.

Or, better yet, place your fuel on the outside of the bin liner/pack liner that you’re using to waterproof your gear or even in an outside pocket of the pack.


6. Pack your water wisely

​Water is one of the things we can’t live without, and especially in hot and dry environments, you’ll want to make sure you’re well hydrated. Unfortunately, water is also one of the heaviest things we carry on hiking trips, so we have to pack it with care.

If you use a water hydration system, you may want to put your bladder into the dedicated pouch in your pack, but be aware that it can be difficult to refill with a full pack on. People who use water bottles generally pack them into the water bottle pockets on the side of their pack.


7. Everything on the inside of the pack

​While it might seem cool to have your spork, camp shoes, tent, and mug strapped to the outside of your pack or dangling from a carabiner, doing so throws off the weight balance of your pack and makes it highly likely that you will lose or damage your gear while hiking. Too many people have ripped their expensive tent on a tree branch while hiking - don’t let that be you.

Try to pack absolutely everything into your pack, leaving the outside straps and pockets only for water bottles and big, bulky foam sleeping pads. If half of your gear is strapped onto the outside of your pack, consider getting a bigger pack.

About THE AUTHOR:

Gaby Pilson


A professional mountain guide and experienced outdoor educator, Gaby enjoys travelling and exploring the world’s most remote locales.


As a writer and editor, Gaby has written for a variety of climbing and travel blogs, news sites, and climbing magazines.


She is currently finishing a master’s degree in outdoor education but in her free time, Gaby loves a strong cup of coffee and searching for the next great adventure.

The Best Soccer Ball in Australia [2019]

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Australia, with over 1.1 million adults and children registering to play each year.

Whether you’re looking for new balls for your club, or finding a gift for that soccer crazed nephew, it can be tricky to wrap your head around the various balls on offer and how they differ.

In this article we take a look at the various soccer balls available in Australia and what you should take into consideration when making your choice.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #1 RATED

NIKE STRIKE PREMIER LEAGUE BALL

  • Great consistency
  • Nike Aerowtrac grooves
  • Textured outer
  • Rubber bladder
  • Reinforced inner tube


ADIDAS GLIDER

  • Soft touch textured outer
  • Consistent and durable
  • Butyl bladder provides good air retention


NIKE PITCH

  • Consistent flight and bounce
  • Plastic casing for touch control
  • Rubber bladder good for
  • High-visibility
  • Affordable


MITRE IMPEL

  • Great training ball
  • Retains size and shape well
  • Reinforced rubber bladder


NIKE REACT

  • Durable
  • Consistent bounce and flight
  • Butyl bladder good for air retention
  • High contrast pattern
  • Affordable

How To Choose the best ​​SOCCER BALL

The best soccer ball for you needs really depends on what you want to use it for. Here are the three questions to ask yourself before buying:

  1. What is the ball to be used for - competition/matches or training/casual?
  2. What is the age of the person who will mostly be using the ball?
  3. What is your budget?

With these things in mind, read on as we outline the key factors to consider when choosing your soccer ball. 

​Type of ball

At a high level, the two common types of ball are training balls and match balls.

Training balls are built to last, with a solid machine-stitched construction. They also feature more durable materials, both in the bladder and the outer. Training balls are by far the most common balls out there, with many causal and junior leagues using these for both training and on game day.

Match balls are often hand-stitched and feature more high-end materials, designed to improve ball feel and control. They will also generally have more consistent flight and bounce.

If it’s not obvious in the product description, you will be able to tell what type of ball it is by the price, with training balls in Australia generally costing around $30 - $40 and match balls around $100 - $200.

​Materials and construction

These days, the outer on most balls (both training and match balls) is constructed with a combination of Synthetic Leather, (usually Polyurethane (PU)) and Poly Vinyl Carbonate (PVC) or Polyester, with the higher end balls containing a higher ratio of PU, due to it providing a softer and more responsive ball feel.

The bladder is generally Latex/Rubber or Butyl. Training balls will usually have a Butyl bladder due to its great air retention, while higher-end balls have a Rubber or Latex bladder as it provides better bounce and consistency.

​​Sizes

Here are the different sized balls you are likely to encounter, along with the recommended age group for each.

  • Size 3: Ages 8 and under
  • Size 4: Ages 8 - 12
  • Size 5: Ages 12 and up (official ball size)

soccer BALL reviews

#1 Nike Strike Premier League ball review

best value

BUY AT amazon

Modelled on the 2018/19 English Premier league ball, the Strike offers superior consistency and performance for both training and competition.

Utilising Nike’s Aerowtrac grooves (as
featured on the official Premier League Game Ball) and a textured outer, players are able to manipulate this ball for pinpoint accuracy in both shooting and passing. Further, high-contrast graphics allow for easy visual tracking.

The high quality rubber bladder features a reinforced rubber inner tube to reduce air leakage and provide improved shape retention.

Pros
  • Great consistency
  • Nike Aerowtrac grooves
  • Textured outer
  • Rubber bladder
  • Reinforced inner tube                            
cons
  • Rubber bladder can be inferior than butyl for air retention

#2 Adidas Glider REVIEW

One of the most popular balls on the market, the Adidas Glider combines a high-end machine stitched construction and a textured 100% TPU surface to provide unmatched durability and consistency.

A butyl bladder provides great air retention, making this a good option for either a game ball or the training kit.

Pros
  • Soft touch textured outer
  • Consistent and durable
  • Butyl bladder provides good air retention
cons
  • Butyl bladders usually mean inferior bounce and ball feel

#3 Nike Pitch REVIEW

A great mid-range ball from Nike, the Pitch is suitable for training or competition.

The Pitch features a 12-panel design for reliable flight, and a rubber bladder for superior bounce and responsiveness. Its machine-stitched casing provides great durability and consistent performance.

High-contrast graphics enhance high-visibility during play, allowing players to track ball spin and flight.

Pros
  • Consistent flight and bounce
  • Plastic casing for touch control
  • Rubber bladder good for
  • High-visibility
  • Affordable                                                
cons
  • Rubber bladder can be inferior than butyl for air retention

#4 Mitre Impel review

BUY AT amazon

​The go-to training ball for many teams, the Mitre Impel is built with a durable 30 panel construction designed to provide consistency over many training sessions.

A 3.5mm EVA soft-touch foam backing combines with Mitre’s “Vimini” textured outer to provide great grip, ball control, and feel. This is the perfect ball for players looking to consistently hone their skills and develop new ones.

These balls are also not overly heavy, making them perfectly suitable for younger players.

Pros
  • Great training ball
  • Retains size and shape well
  • Reinforced rubber bladder                        
cons
  • Training balls have lower overall quality and performance vs match balls

#5 Nike React review

BUY AT INSPORT

​A great option for the budding soccer player or as a team training ball, the Nike React is designed to be reliable, durable and long lasting. With a 26 panel design it provides consistent performance in a training or game environment with traditional bounce and flight.

A traditional style butyl bladder provides great air and shape retention while a high contrast pattern assists with spin visibility.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Consistent bounce and flight
  • Butyl bladder good for air retention
  • High contrast pattern
  • Affordable
cons
  • Missing features like reinforced rubber inner tube and textured coating

verdict

The best ball for you will ultimately depend on your needs and budget. While all balls on this list are great, for us, the Nike Strike represents a great option thanks to its great touch and control, durability, and suitability to be used in both training and competition.

The Best Golf Shoes in Australia [2019]

Man playing golf

So you’re finally upgrading your old worn out pair of golf shoes. Or worse yet you’ve been playing in gym shoes your whole life and have never experienced the amazing benefits golf shoes can bring to your game.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Read on as we take a deep dive into the world of golf shoes.

After the summary table below we outline some of the key features to look for in a golf shoe, followed by our detailed reviews.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
Mens Ecco Golf Shoe
OUR #1 RATED

ECCO MENS BIOM HYBRID 3

  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Tri-Fi-Grip technology
  • GORE-TEX waterproofing
  • Premium yak leather upper
  • Breathable


UNDER ARMOUR TEMPO HYBRID 2

  • Very comfortable
  • Molded EVA footbed and midsole
  • Breathable, full-grain leather &
  • Clarino microfiber upper
  • On and Off course versatility


FOOTJOY TOUR S REVIEW

  • Very stable and supportive
  • High-end performance
  • 100% waterproof
  • Lightweight and comfortable


UNDER ARMOUR MATCH PLAY

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Waterproof (with 2 year warranty)
  • Cork covered moulded EVA footbed


NIKE LUNAR COMMAND 2

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Flywire technology locks foot in place
  • Waterproof (1 year warranty)
  • Rubber sole with removable spikes

How To Choose the best ​golf ​SHOES

The key attributes you want to look for in a golf shoes are as follows:

  • Comfort
  • Grip and stability
  • Waterproofing and durability

Golf shoes are generally divided into spiked and spikeless.

Spiked/Cleated Golf Shoes

These are the traditional style golf shoe, however they have certainly evolved as lot as technology has changed over time. While traditionally 100% leather, cleated golf shoes will now often be completely synthetic to make them more lightweight and assist with waterproofing and breathability.

Spikes themselves can also assist with waterproofing, keeping the upper material of the shoe away from the ground, especially in wet conditions.

However, the key benefit usually attributed to spiked shoes is the superior traction and stability during a players swing. This, however, is rapidly changing with the technology now being used in spikeless shoes.

Note that spikes can be plastic or metal and permanent or removable.

​​Spikeless shoes

Favoured by many for their comfort and versatility, shoes with moulded rubber soles are fast growing in popularity amongst both pros and amateurs.

While generally thought to not provide the waterproofing and support of their cleated counterparts, with advancements in shoe technology there are now many high quality spikeless options that do the job both in terms of waterproofing and performance.

Of course, being able to wear your golf shoes in the clubhouse, to the pub, and driving a car, are are benefits too!


GOLF shoe reviews

#1 ECCO Mens BIOM Hybrid 3 review

Mens Ecco Golf Shoe

BUY AT SPORTS DIRECT

Ecco Golf shoes are renowned in most golf circles for being the most comfortable shoes available. The Danish shoe manufacturer have for 50 years been striving to make the most comfortable walking shoe, and this translates directly into their golf range.

Utilising Ecco’s Tri-Fi-Grip technology, the outsole of these shoes have three different zones - one for stability, one for durability and one for rotation. The purpose of this design is to provide the wearer with maximum stability and responsiveness from the back-swing right through to follow-through.

Inclusion of Ecco’s BIOM technology encourages a more natural walking motion, providing superior comfort and reducing fatigue. Premium yak leather uppers combined with Gore-Tex ensure breathability, waterproofing and durability in a range of conditions.

Pros
  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Tri-Fi-Grip technology
  • GORE-TEX waterproofing
  • Premium yak leather upper
  • Breathable                                               
cons
  • Expensive                                                   

#2 UNDER ARMOUR Tempo Hybrid 2 REVIEW

​Comfortable, versatile, and great looking, it’s easy to see why the Tempo Hybrid 2 is one of the most popular golf shoes on the market.

Don’t let the casual looks fool you, this shoe employs a lot of the technology used in Under Armour’s competition shoes such as the cork covered molded EVA footbed, designed to provide cushioning across the foot and maximise responsiveness.

With a durable rubber sole, understated good looks, and subtle colouring, this shoe is one that you can wear on and off the course, without sacrificing in performance.

Pros
  • Very comfortable
  • Molded EVA footbed and midsole
  • Breathable, full-grain leather & Clarino microfiber upper
  • On and Off course versatility
cons
  • No waterproof guarantee like other options

#3 FootJoy Tour S REVIEW

A favourite amongst golfers across the globe, the Tour S is a shoe for those who want serious performance without sacrificing on comfort.

Utilising FootJoy’s trademark PowerStrap, Powerplate, and LaunchPod technologies, the Tour-S is super stable and supportive while still allowing for the flexibility and responsiveness required for explosive power.

Comfort is exceptional thanks to these shoes being incredibly lightweight and the integration of a dual-density footbed. Constructed with FootJoy’s Premium Performance Leather, they are also 100% waterproof.

While not cheap, the Footjoy Tour S represent an investment in your golf comfort and performance for years to come.

Pros
  • Very stable and supportive
  • High-end performance
  • 100% waterproof
  • Lightweight and comfortable                 
cons
  • Expensive                                                   

#4 UNDER ARMOUR Match Play Golf Shoes review

BUY AT UNDER ARMOUR

​Packed full of the high-end performance technology Under Armour are famous for, these shoes will help you achieve your handicap and tournament goals without sacrificing on comfort.

With a classy design inspired by the classic leather golf shoe, the UA Match Play shoe is in fact constructed from Clarino microfiber, to reduce weight and maximise durability. A carbon fiber external heel counter combines with an integrated lacing system provides superior support and stability throughout the swing.

A cork covered molded EVA footbed provides maximum responsiveness while rotational resistance spikes provide reliable grip and traction regardless of ground conditions.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Waterproof (with 2 year warranty)
  • Cork covered moulded EVA footbed            
cons
  • Expensive
  • More structured and rigid shoe than hybrid options

#5 Nike Lunar Command 2 review

BUY AT amazon

​Exceptionally lightweight and comfortable out of the box, the Nike Lunar Commands are quickly becoming the go-to shoe for golfers around the world.

Utilising Nike’s Flywire Technology, these shoes provide a super locked-down fit and feel, while a midfoot TPU shank maximises stability.

The upper is constructed from waterproof leather and synthetic and the sole is rubber with 7 removable CHAMP PiviX golf spikes to provide a you with options depending on conditions. Lunarlon cushioning makes these shoes very comfortable even after a long day on the course.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Flywire technology locks foot in place
  • Waterproof (1 year warranty)
  • Rubber sole with removable spikes
cons
  • Shorter waterproof guarantee than other brands

verdict

The best golf shoe for you ultimately comes down to personal preference. Most golfers these days will be best in a pair of spikeless shoes, which is why we have put the ECCO Mens BIOM Hybrid 3 in our top spot. They offer superior comfort, gore-tex waterproofing, and Ecco’s Tri-Fi-Grip technology to maximise stability throughout each swing.

Sam Russell

Editors Note:

Once you've found the perfect golf shoes, be sure to check out our write up on the Best Golf GPS devices to step up your game to the next level.

The Best Basketball in Australia for 2019

Spalding basketball on a court

Anyone who has played basketball knows what it’s like to like to play with a good quality ball. A good ball will consistently provide the perfect level of grip, control, spin and bounce, to allow for precision dribbling, passing and shooting.

Even better is to have your own ball that you get comfortable with and that can provide you with the consistency you need to evolve as a player.

Read on as we look at the best basketballs available in Australia. Following the summary table below we will outline the key features you should look for in a ball, and then get into our detailed reviews.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
Wilson Australian Basketball
OUR #1 RATED

WILSON NBL SOLUTION OFFICIAL (INDOOR)

  • Official NBL game ball
  • Premium construction
  • Indoor specific
  • Amazing grip and control
  • Great bounce consistency


MOLTEN PREMIUM COMPOSITE LEATHER (INDOOR)

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor
  • FIBA approved
  • Exceptional grip
  • Rotation visibility


WILSON EVOLUTION (INDOOR)

  • Great grip
  • Moisture wicking
  • Premium leather composite
  • No break-in period


WILSON NBL REPLICA GAME BALL (INDOOR/ OUTDOOR)

  • Competition size and weight
  • Moisture absorbing cover
  • Suitable for indoor/outdoor use
  • Laid-in channels for grip and control


Outdoor Basketball

SPALDING TF-FLEX AUSTRALIA (OUTDOOR)

  • Outdoor specific
  • Very durable
  • Affordable

How to find the perfect basketball

Choosing a basketball can be a daunting task. There’s a number of brands on the market, each producing a wide range of balls. Below we break things down to the most important factors you you can find the best ball for your needs.

Playing Surface

First things first, the surface you will play on will be a primary factor in determining the best ball for you. Basketballs are broken into the following categories:

1. Indoor

Made from leather or premium composite (fake) leather. Genuine leather balls are very expensive and take some time to break in, while composite leather balls are more affordable and are good-to-go right out of the box. These balls are designed for maximum comfort and control and are softer than other varieties, making them unsuitable for use on concrete surfaces.

2. Indoor/Outdoor

Made from composite leather, these balls are the most popular given their versatility and affordability. While they will still scuff up over time if used outside frequently, they are your best bet if you want a good quality ball for use on both indoor and outdoor courts.

3. Outdoor

These balls have a rubber outer designed to withstand the wear and tear of playing on concrete. When compared with the leather composite balls, there is significant sacrifice here in terms of ball feel and control, however they are going to hold up much better over time. They are also the cheapest type of balls.

​Ball Size

The most popular ball size is Size 7, with a circumference of 29.5" (75cm). This is also the official ball size used for NBA, NBL, and FIBA.

However, these balls are designed for male adults, so if the ball is going to be used primarily by females or children, you may want to consider a smaller size.

SIZE 5

Age 9 and under

SIZE 6

Females age 9+, Males age 9-12

SIZE 7

Males age 13+


basketball reviews

#1 Wilson NBL Solution Official Game Basketball (Indoor, size 7)

Wilson Australian Basketball

BUY AT aMAZON

​The ball is the real deal - constructed from premium composite leather, the Wilson NBL Solution is the ball used in the country’s top basketball league.

Approved by FIBA, this ball wicks and absorbs moisture to ensure there is no compromise on grip and control. The bounce is consistent and it retains its shape well over time.

The key downside of the Wilson NBL Solution is that it’s premium materials make it slightly less durable and therefore unsuitable for outdoor use.

When compared to our second pick, the Wilson Evolution, the Solution offers a slight softer feel in the hand, and maintains its grip better over time.

Wilson Solution also available in Size 6.

Pros
  • Official NBL game ball
  • Premium construction
  • Indoor specific
  • Amazing grip and control
  • Great bounce consistency                    
cons
  • Indoor only
  • More expensive than other options

#2 Molten Premium Composite Leather (INDOOR, SIZE 7)

​As the official FIBA balls, Molten balls are recognised as the being the international basketball of choice.

The Molton Premium Composite is a high-end 12 panel ball, representing the best in the brands line of exceptional quality basketballs.

Part of the X-Series, this ball provides enhanced functionality and control. With a uniform pebble across all surfaces of the ball, the surface has impressive and consistent grip for superior control and precision shooting and passing.

The Molton Premium also feature the GIUGIARO design, which enhances visibility and allows players to easily track the rotation of the ball.

Also available in Size 5 and Size 6.

Pros
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor
  • FIBA approved
  • Exceptional grip
  • Rotation visibility                                     
cons
  • Expensive
  • Unlikely to hold up outdoors as well as outdoor specific options

#3 Wilson Evolution BAsketBall (INDOOR, SIZE 7)

One of the most popular balls amongst serious players, it’s hard to go wrong with the Evolution.

The grip on this ball is very impressive, thanks to thousands of micro-pebble touch-points combined with deep laid-in channels, meaning you can apply precision backspin as and when you need it. Moisture wicking is also top-notch as a result of the premium leather composite used in construction.

Ball control and consistency on the Evolution are exceptional, meaning you can rely on this ball to perform to the same high level, day after day.

There’s a reason this is the number one ball in high schools across the USA and is recommended as the number one pick by experts across the globe.

Pros
  • Great grip
  • Moisture wicking
  • Premium leather composite
  • No break-in period                                   
cons
  • Indoor only                                               

#4 ​Wilson NBL Replica Game Basketball (Indoor/outdoor, size 7)

BUY AT amazon

Have dreams of making it to the big league? Then this is the ball for you.

From the most trusted basketball brand on the planet comes this replica of the official Australia and New Zealand NBL ball.

Designed for indoor and outdoor use, this size 7 ball is designed with a moisture absorbing cover and laid-in channels for superior ball control and handling.

The NBL Replica is made from composite leather - an artificial material that feels very similar to leather but is a lot cheaper to produce. This material is the most common material used in basketballs and also provides more versatility in terms of indoor and outdoor use.

Also available in Size 6.

Pros
  • Competition size and weight
  • Moisture absorbing cover
  • Suitable for indoor/outdoor use
  • Laid-in channels for grip and control
cons
  • Unlikely to hold up against consistent outdoor use

#5 Spalding Basketball Australia TF-Flex (OUTDOOR, SIZE 7)

Outdoor Basketball

CHECK PRICE

​The only ball on this list designed specifically for outdoor use, the Spalding TF-Flex will withstand the wear and tear that comes with playing on asphalt.

Spalding make some of the best outdoor balls on the market, and this one has been newly designed as an exclusive Australian edition.

It’s super durable rubber outer makes it perfect for street ball, outdoor courts, back yards and driveways.

Also available in Size 5 and Size 6.

Pros
  • Outdoor specific
  • Very durable
  • Affordable                                                  
cons
  • Rubber outer as opposed to leather composite

verdict

​The best basketball for you will be determined by your playing conditions, size, and personal preferences

While all of the balls on this list are great, if we had to pick just one we'd go with the awesome Wilson NBL Solution.



RELATED: The Best BasketBall Shoes

Basketball shoes in front of a court